With the advent of the EV age comes the potential for totally new, and disruptive, business models in all areas of the EV field.
One of these is charging; for where there is no longer the need for the heavily regulated oil transport and dispensing system under the tight control of the oil companies, all sorts of opportunities arise as refuelling of EVs can be done pretty much anywhere there is an electric supply.
It has therefore been an unacknowledged truth for some time that the future of the service station (at least in large cities) is dim. However, this new field of possible EV refuelling business opportunities is currently little explored.
One new model for EV refuelling is the move to provide it as a customer service. In America, ‘big box’ stores with large carparks (such as Target and Walmart) have begun providing charging with mode 3 (AC) and some mode 4 (DC) charging points in their car parks to entice visitors to stop and stay that little bit longer in their stores.
(As an example of the benefits to businesses of longer ‘dwell’ times by shoppers – research from Path Intelligence showed that for a 1% increase in shopper dwell time at a shopping centre, there was a 1.3% increase in their spend).
However apart from a few token EVSEs in shopping centre car parks – the model has yet to take off in Australia … till now.
Just launched in January of this year is a network of chargers at 86 JAX tyre retailers in partnership with EVolution EVSE supplies.
(JAX operate throughout the eastern Australian states with new stores to open soon in SA and WA. EVolution is a specialist EVSE charging solutions business based in Melbourne).
The public JAX Charging network will be made up of a combination of mode 3 22KW AC EVSEs and mode 4 Tritium DC Fast Chargers.
Drivers will be able to charge their cars either as JAX customers or as passers-by. In addition, any electric vehicle in their workshop will be able to be topped up via portable chargers whilst being serviced.
To quote their press release: “This will be the first station for a tyre or mechanical store in Australia as the industry adapts to the technology changes that are disrupting the automotive market, including new types of fuel and energy storage solutions, as the automotive race to zero-emission targets ramp up.”
The network is planned to be a free offering to JAX customers and to passers-by as a form of free advertising through positioning the EVSE directly in front of the JAX stores.
It certainly will be a convenient one – the system does not need swipe card or mobile phone app access systems, so will be very easy to use.
Only time will tell how EV charging will evolve, but given almost all EV charging is done at home – and likely to happen more often at work and when shopping too – there is little room left for the suburban service station.