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Why Forecourt Owners Should Install EV Charging at Petrol Stations Now

Why should forecourt owners consider installing EV charging at petrol stations, now, even if the UK has not fully transitioned to electric road transportation?

mer ev forecourt

With 89% of drivers using public charging networks across the UK, public charging infrastructure is integral to facilitating and maintaining the EV transition. Forecourts – whether small petrol stations in city centres or large motorway service stations – are a prime location to install EV charging.

EV drivers agree: Zapmap’s latest EV charging survey of just under 4,300 EV drivers revealed motorway service stations have replaced supermarket car parks as the most popular public charging location for EVs (55%). We explore in more detail why the EV transition presents a perfect, revenue-generating opportunity for forecourt owners in this blog.

Britain’s millionth battery electric car hit the road last month, and 20,935 BEVs were registered. Market insight highlights EV uptake will continue to grow in the coming years. By 2024, forecasts show 25% of all new passenger car registrations will be electric.

There is pressure on manufacturers to propel this movement towards EVs. The zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate now stipulates the majority of new cars sold in Britain must be electric by 2030: 80% of sales must be fully electric, or another alternative. By 2035, 100% of sales must be electric. Progress towards this goal is already being encouraged, with the requirement that 22% of new cars sold must be zero emission in 2024.

The charging infrastructure to power these vehicles and support the achievement of these ambitious targets is essential. Simultaneously, the UK must install 300,000 public EV charge points by 2030.


Forecourt owners should plan ahead and install EV charging infrastructure early

But if we have not yet made the full transition to electric road transport, and petrol/diesel vehicles continue to populate UK roads, why should forecourt owners be worried about growing the charging network now?

In this blog, we consider some compelling reasons for why forecourt owners should prepare sooner rather than later for the forthcoming mass uptake in EVs by installing the charging infrastructure now, considering:

  • The length of time it takes to plan, install and commission EV charge points,
  • The benefits of establishing customer loyalty as the transition unfolds,
  • How bringing EV charge points to a forecourt now can help owners retain their current customer base.

Installing EV chargers can take 12-18 months

Considering the contractual process, the time it takes to plan and design the installation, the possibility that you may need to apply for new grid connections depending on the power requirements for your charge points, and the installation timeline, EV charging projects can take a significant amount of time to see through. If EV charging is on your radar to bring to your forecourt in the next few years, it is wise to start the process as soon as possible, given the chargers are likely to not go live for a length of time.

Establish buyer habits in your favour amongst EV drivers

The EV charging market is growing more and more competitive. Forecourts are installing charging infrastructure, as well as landowners of retail parks, garden centres, supermarkets, urban and rural carparks, and leisure facilities.

As the public network grows, drivers will have more choice over where to charge. However, whilst the EV transition is in relative infancy and the public network is still expanding, it is easier to establish driver loyalty to your EV chargers.

If they have a positive and reliable experience of charging at your site, drivers will have no reason to try charging infrastructure at other forecourts, and therefore will be more likely to return to you in the future. But if sites nearby your forecourt already have EV chargers before you have installed yours, you are risking losing a huge market of new customers to your competitors if they establish a routine of charging at other sites.

Retain your current customer base

Remember that offering EV charging is not currently a replacement for a forecourt’s traditional offering of petrol/diesel refuel. Whilst the charge points are being installed, and indeed even once they are operational, petrol/diesel drivers will still be able to fill up their vehicles.

If you offer EV charging in addition to petrol/diesel refuel, the drivers who have not yet made the switch to an EV will see your site as one in which they can keep returning to even when they do move away from their ICE vehicles. When seeing EV drivers charging, ICE drivers will recognise your forecourt as one that has embraced the switch to EV and are thus more likely to continue to visit your site when they make the switch themselves. So, as well as bringing new customers to you site and establishing buyer habits, you can also hold onto your current customer base when they buy their own EV by installing charge points early.

Benefit from a hybrid customer base whilst the transition unfolds

Finally, providing an EV charging offering at your forecourt in addition to petrol/diesel refuel will enable you to welcome both ICE and EV drivers to your site, therefore increasing incidental spend in onsite amenities.