Super Bowl LVI featured a number of memorable electric vehicle (EV) ads featuring everything from a Sopranos reunion to electric puppies and even Dr. Evil achieving corporate domination. Seemingly every major auto manufacturer is featuring their new EV models.
EVs are continuing to gain market share and are expected to surpass 30% of new U.S. vehicle sales by 2030, along with another 4% of new U.S. vehicle sales consisting of gas / electric hybrids. The industry has seen rapid growth: from 2% of U.S. auto sales in 2020 to 4% last year.
For many potential buyers though, there remain concerns about finding available charging locations. The average EV has a range that’s under 300 miles. This provides plenty of power for most commutes but can be a concern for long-distance trips and single-car households. Currently, there are only 41,000 public charging stations across the U.S., many of which are concentrated closely together - including over half in California.
To address this concern, the U.S. Congress included $7.5 billion for EV charging stations as part of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed in November. From this amount, $5 billion has been designated for states to build an EV charging network across the country and, in particular, across the 161,000-mile National Highway System. This program would reach the majority of the country, as 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of the network. A second grant-based program targeting rural and underserved communities will also begin this year.
Combined, these programs plan to build half a million EV charging stations across the nation. However, the majority of these will likely be the “Level 2” slower chargers, which are currently much cheaper to install at roughly $2,000 per charger. The federal government is also in the process of prioritizing purchasing U.S. manufactured EVs for their fleet, which should continue to advance EV adoption.
Over the next several decades, EVs will continue to grow as a percentage of the total vehicle population as more charging stations come online and technology reduces consumer purchase costs while improving vehicle range and reliability. EVs contain around 20 moving parts, far less than the over 200 parts in traditional combustion engine vehicles, which could significantly reduce repair and maintenance costs over the vehicle’s life. Charging times will also continue to decline, making vehicles more attractive.
The adoption of EVs will have a significant impact on the Convenience Store (C-Store) industry. C-stores are long-term assets with decades of useful life. Each charge on-site provides an opportunity for an inside-store sale. C-store owners should continue to monitor their operating market and consider allocating space for EV charging locations. New store builds should also consider incorporating EV chargers during the initial construction or as an option for a second phase build over the next decade.
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