Electric Vehicle Charging Companies and Opportunities

According to the US Department of Energy, fewer than 20,000 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or all-electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in 2011; by 2015, this number had risen to over 110,000. 72,000 of which were all-electric.

Fast chargers currently comprise less than 15% of total public stations in the US. Their convenience (30-45 minutes for an 80% charge) is essential in dense urban areas, or when on long-distance journeys where drivers do not have access to a dedicated charging port or time to wait for slower alternatives.

Automakers’ investment in EV charging stations will likely come in the long term in the US. In the short term, businesses with the following characteristics should invest in EV chargers: ample parking spots; urban or inter-urban locations; stable or growing in-store demand from wealthy consumers

With the exception of Tesla, no major automaker has backed significant electrification initiatives in the US; neither has the US government. Private companies are left to pick up the slack, which means that the most prime charging locations remain available. Retailers that invest now will benefit from an early-mover advantage and secure investments with a positive long-term return.

Three electric vehicle charging companies dominate the US market

electric vehicle charging stations

ChargePoint

ChargePoint has over 600 fast charging stations; many at dealerships or in public locations (e.g. BMW of Beverly Hills, downtown Redwood, CA).

EVgo

Owns the largest network of fast chargers in the US; many are located at upscale grocery stores and malls (e.g. Whole Foods, Two Rodeo).

Blink Network

Fewer charging stations than EVgo or ChargePoint (+/- 1,600 in total) but notable for its partnership with Ikea stores.

Grocery stores can sustain in-store sales by catering to EV buyers

Hy-Vee established a partnership with Tesla in 2016 to install Superchargers at eight Mid-western stores. Most of the Supercharger-equipped Hy-Vee stores are located on heavily travelled inter-urban routes, facilitating worry-free travel between cities. The average in-store time at Hy-Vee stores is similar to the amount of time needed for an 80% charge with Tesla vehicles (30-45 minutes).

Urban stores that target high-income customers (e.g. Whole Foods) often have gourmet prepared food/salad bar options that appeal to the high-income demographic most likely to own an EV. These customers will contribute to a high utilisation rate of dedicated EV spaces in small parking lots If the grocer pays for charging (e.g. with a qualifying minimum purchase), fast charging stations can offer a viable alternative to grocery delivery services by attracting urbanites without a dedicated home or work charging space.