Electric Vehicle Chargers: The New Retail Power Play?

Jan 3, 2024 | Technology

An electric car plugged into a charger at an electric vehicle charging station.

The landscape of retail is about to shift again, and this time, it’s powered by electricity. Electric vehicle (EV) chargers are poised to become the new Wi-Fi, drawing customers in and creating an entirely new revenue stream for commercial real estate owners.

Charging Up Retail Magic:

  • Chris Thorson, head honcho at EV charging station provider Flo, sees a parallel between Starbucks’ Wi-Fi revolution and the potential of EV chargers. Just like free internet lured customers in, 30-minute charging waits could become prime shopping time.
  • Flo is betting big on the U.S. market, opening a massive manufacturing plant in Michigan to churn out 50,000 chargers a year. They’re targeting retail locations, restaurants, and anywhere with bathrooms (because, let’s face it, charging waits have bathroom needs).

Beyond the Hype: Challenges and Solutions:

  • It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Installing chargers is complex, involving utility companies, permits, and a nine-month wait in some cases. This has sparked a fierce competition for U.S. government funding to incentivize installations.
  • Flo is tackling this head-on by building a reputation for reliability. Their chargers boast a 99% uptime rate, minimizing customer frustration and maximizing charging sessions (1.5 million per month!).

The Future of Charging:

  • Flo is pushing the boundaries with their Flo Ultra chargers, juicing up vehicles to 80% in just 10-15 minutes. These liquid-cooled beasts (don’t worry, there’s a cable management system!) will be key to reducing “range anxiety” and making EVs even more appealing.
  • Flo is also partnering with GM to install chargers at dealerships, making charging convenient for the 90% of Americans who live within 10 miles of one. This strategic move benefits both Flo and GM, creating a win-win for drivers, dealers, and the environment.

Commercial Real Estate Implications:

  • For commercial real estate owners, this is a golden opportunity. Adding EV chargers isn’t just about sustainability; it’s about attracting customers, generating revenue, and potentially increasing property value. Think “charging oasis” instead of just a parking lot.
  • Early adopters who embrace this EV revolution will be at the forefront, drawing in tech-savvy, environmentally conscious consumers. It’s time to plug into the future of retail, because the watts are on!

By understanding the challenges and opportunities, property owners can position themselves to reap the benefits of this exciting new era in retail. So, get ready to charge up your business, because the future is electric!

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