Future-proof your fuel retail business
The transportation industry is undeniably shifting towards electrification. Aggressive targets to phase out internal combustion engines backed by legislative regulations have disrupted the fuel market, forcing market players to rethink their business models. EV charging presents a new business opportunity. A decisive move into the EV value chain would utilize existing assets and develop new sources of income. Fuel retailers have assets such as strong brands, an extensive retail network, established loyalty programs, and valuable real estate that put them in a privileged position to enter the EV charging market successfully.
Several major oil and gas companies have already made strides into constructing, installing, and maintaining EV charging infrastructure through direct investment or M&A. In 2017, Shell acquired New Motion, an EV charging network operator, giving them access to their 30,000 charging stations across Europe. Less than two years later, Shell acquired Greenlots, a US-based leader in EV charging and energy management software solutions. British Petroleum (BP) joined the EV race when it bought Freewire Technologies and the UK’s largest EV charging network provider, Chargemaster, which gave BP access to 6,500 charge points. BP acquired AMPLY Power, a US EV fleet charging provider, to quickly scale an EV charging network in one of the fastest-growing fleet charging segments in the world.
As the number of EVs increases, so does the need for fast and reliable EV infrastructure to meet the charging demands of drivers. To build a long-term competitive advantage in the EV charging market, fuel retailers must understand the available market opportunities, build their value proposition and develop new services and revenue streams.
Market opportunities for fuel retailers
1. Invest in public charging EV infrastructure (On the go, DC fast charging)
Across the EU and United States, billions of dollars in government funding are aimed at boosting electric transport. As governments seek to bolster EV adoption, fuel retailers can leverage their assets to roll out EV infrastructure and accelerate the transition to electric mobility.
Due to high initial investments, fast-charging DC stations are still relatively uncommon. This presents a unique opportunity for fuel retailers to fill this void by adding fast DC charge points to existing gas stations. Offering high-speed charging (between 50 kW and 350kW) can retain customers while attracting new ones. Heavy-duty vehicles will continue to stop in highway locations for the foreseeable future, and EV drivers will take advantage of other services on the premises. Public and en-route charging is increasingly common in developed markets such as Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany.
2. Service operators electrifying commercial fleets
As governments push to achieve carbon neutrality, businesses are electrifying their fleets. As part of its Climate Pledge, Amazon plans to deliver 50% of shipments with net zero carbon by 2030. DHL plans to operate 70% of its first- and last-mile delivery services with clean transport modes by 2025, and more companies are making the switch every day.
Fleet managers need a seamless way to incorporate EVs while meeting their business’s complex reporting and optimization needs. Fuel retailers could leverage their existing partnerships with fleet operators and help them transition in the following ways:
- Public charging: Fuel retailers can boost customer loyalty and provide fleet managers and their employees access to public charging stations with RFID charging cards.
- Workplace charging: Going beyond their own gas stations, fuel retailers can collaborate with installers and manufacturers to extend EV charging services and manage charging hubs on a fleet’s premises.
- Residential charging: As fleets electrify, the demand for public charging infrastructure will grow for long-distance charging and overnight home charging. By offering fleet operators home charging services so that employees can charge company cars overnight, fuel retailers can enter an entirely new market and expand their consumer reach.
3. Provide a point of interface for charging
Point of interface (POI) is the technology that enables contact between customers and a business solution. In the EV charging market, this takes the form of a mobile app that helps EV drivers find charging stations, see the price of charging, start and stop charging sessions and pay for the consumed electricity. Most fuel retailers already have digital tools to enhance their customer experience. These can be easily expanded to integrate EV-related services and combine public and private charging use cases from one mobile app.
Rebuilding your value proposition
Upsell to existing and new customers
Forward-thinking fuel retailers realize that to unlock new business models and revenue streams, they need to shift their focus from a vehicle-centric business model to a customer-centric one.
Today’s consumers expect brands to deliver fast and frictionless experiences across all physical and digital touchpoints. In order to charge, drivers are required to register their vehicles. This means that previously anonymous customers will now become identified users. Access to this wealth of data will provide businesses with invaluable insights and enable them to curate customized services and products while utilizing owned real estate.
Transform the user experience
Longer dwell times needed to charge electric vehicles offer new revenue opportunities. Gas stations are well positioned to become charging hubs with cafes, car washes, and additional services. Fuel retailers can benefit from revenue from upselling complementary services while they wait for their vehicles to charge. By reconsidering the customer journey, they can capitalize on the station’s real estate and create an attractive environment conducive to spending charging time efficiently.
Diversify your EV charging strategy
Fuel retailers should consider their locations and clientele to determine the investment in the power output needed to accommodate them. Highway locations between cities are ideal for DC fast charging as they can accommodate fleet charging, heavy-duty trucks as well as passenger vehicles. As EV adoption increases, EV drivers will look for reliable places to charge. Fuel retailers can gain and retain customers in this market segment with DC fast charging that can provide up to 350kW of power, significantly reducing the time it takes to charge an EV fully. Locations on smaller arterial roads may require fewer, lower power chargers.
AMPECO can accelerate the entrance of fuel retailers into the EV charging market
AMPECO offers a white-label, hardware-agnostic solution that enables customers to launch and scale their businesses easily. The platform includes all the features and tools needed to manage chargers at scale and cover public, private, and fleet charging on one platform. Crucially for fuel retailers with complex business models, AMPECO provides a comprehensive API solution that enables customers to build tailored user experiences and develop their own features on top of the platform.
As a fuel retailer entering the EV charging market, you will need a robust EV charging platform to manage your infrastructure and service the wide range of charging use cases for your customers. Based on our experience, these are the critical software features you should consider when choosing a software provider:
Payments and billing: Increase your revenue with flexible billing and payments. Accept multiple payment options, reimburse home charging expenses in compliance with local laws and ensure accurate revenue sharing, corporate billing, and settlement reports between you and your partners.
Hardware-agnostic: Future-proof your hardware and manage your network with an EV charging management solution that is hardware agnostic and fully compliant with OCPP to retain business flexibility and avoid vendor lock-in. Easily add charging stations from multiple vendors and manage all charging use cases from one platform.
API and integration: Ensure custom integrations with your existing ERP, CRM, payment, and billing, link your customer loyalty program and fuel cards, build your own app and create bespoke customer experiences with an API-driven EV charging solution.
Smart energy management: Ensure optimal distribution of the existing power capacity to your chargers with smart charging and dynamic load management solution.
Roaming: Scale your network securely and increase the value for your customers with a solution that provides EV roaming. Multiply revenue streams and strengthen customer loyalty by allowing drivers to use charging stations from different national and international networks from a single customer account.
We have a wealth of experience helping fuel retailers set up EV charging businesses. Talk to our EV charging experts about your company’s needs and challenges, and let us demonstrate how AMPECO’s EV charging management solution can help you achieve your goals and set you up for long-term success.