The drive towards electric cars means change for fuel stations in Europe
The fuel and convenience market is constantly fluctuating with new innovations being introduced every day. With autonomous vehicles on the horizon, the landscape is set to change again soon. Europe’s recent investment in electric cars means a pull away from more traditional fuel sector choices. This mutation in the market means that businesses need to be equipped to adapt easily to what the future of gas stations may be.
The Netherlands is pioneering this change with the goal of a petrol and diesel ban by the year 2025. This law has currently only been passed in the lower house of parliament and has to be put in front of the senate, but its early success is a sign of changing times.
The motion was proposed by the Labour Party and as it stands suggests that existing fossil fuel vehicles would remain in use until they’re retirement but that the country would ‘strive’ toward completely electric roads. Concurrently, the Netherlands has decarbonisation targets to meet by 2020. While electric cars sales in The Netherlands remain under 10%, government officials are optimistic that the bill will go ahead. Their ultimate target is to have only emission-free cars in The Netherlands by 2030.
This ambitious development is the beginning of a trend. Fuel stations are being revamped all over Europe to deal with the growing demand for electric car charging stations. The face of fuel stations is changing and complacent businesses will be left behind.
At Circle K in Dal in Norway, customers will be able to charge their cars in 10 minutes in the coming months; about 0ne third of the time is usually taken. While they wait, consumers can order a custom-made burrito instore and pick up luxury convenience items in the c-store.
This is a trial facility, run by Canadian company Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. to gauge how the fuel sector should respond to the boom in electric car sales. Circle K is transforming how the fuel and convenience sector interacts with customers.
Their Norwegian branch is considering home charging station installations; why should the customer visit us when we can visit them? According to Couche-Tard’s head of European operations, 60% of electric car charging happens at home, 20%-30% in public spaces, and only 10% at gas stations. Retailers are missing out.
This change in the market is to be expected with more government incentives to buy electric as well as the growing popularity in green living. Standards of customer experiences change dramatically as the needs of commuters change. People are travelling for longer and more frequently.
Nowadays Petrol stations need to make a substantial investment in food, ensure good customer experience, electric car charging facilities and gas loyalty programs to retain customers and enhance their experience while in-store. According to the road to rewards survey “after location (44%), a loyalty program is the main reason customers choose a specific c-store (43%)”.
Businesses in the fuel and convenience sector need to revaluate their existing capabilities in the face of these changing times.
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