A little about the future of the Fuel Stations when we all go Electronics.
In future, electric vehicles will be more commonplace, and getting off to fill up the car might be an entirely different than it is today.
Electric cars are new phenomena for all of us, but some may know of someone who has an electric vehicle (EVs).
Two of the biggest challenges we may keep hearing about, are batteries and charging.
Tesla has really pushed the envelope of both battery technology and car design to achieve a range that is comparable to many family diesel cars on the market today.
Refueling Electric Vehicles vs Internal Combustion
The internal combustion engine has been around long enough for every driver to understand how vehicles of this nature need to be fueled.
Most people tend to run their tanks from brim to the orange warning light before venturing to refuel. Of course, there are reasons to keep your tank topped up more regularly than that, but most of us wouldnt think of putting a liter in the tank now, just because we can.
But thats how many EV owners need to think, especially if they own a car with shorter range, or slower charging capabilities.
Finding charging points
Charging Points are not so common right now. You can find them in out-of-town shopping centers, in some car-parks, and even in business parks, but these are few and far between and often require a trip to that location to top up the battery.
To solve this, applications have popped up to help EV owners find charging points, and also to share their home charging points.
How will Electric Vehicles Take Over?
Is there still a place for fuel cars in an EV future?
There is a lot of talk about democratization of charging, and how block chain can help create a way to share energy, and create networks of residential and business property charging points. With new decentralized charging options, will we still private filling stations along the roadside?
Fundamentally, fuel retailers will need to shift from selling fuel to thinking about the customer and the experience that customer is expecting.
Today when we pop to the filling station, it takes a minute or two to fill the tank, and a few more minutes to complete the transaction. Typically, we are done within five minutes, any longer and it is "a drag". Charging batteries takes longer, much longer, and even if we won it stay for a full charge (which could take hours), the amount of time required to top-up the car is going to be more than it is today.
So, well see more charging points popping up in places people naturally have higher dwell times, such as shopping centers and restaurants, and well also see filling station evolve to encourage higher dwell times.
Many forecourts are already filling the need for local convenience stores, many are re-developing their space to accommodate coffee shops, restaurants and even places for people to open their laptops and settle down to do a little work.
As the fuel mix provided by filling stations changes to include more alternative fuels (such as electric and hydrogen), they will need to adapt their offerings to both suit the new needs of their customers. For this, data will be crucial.
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IS THE KEY
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE : Speaking with someone from a well-known fuel company who was responsible for innovation in their retail sector, e.g. filling station forecourts.
They told me that there was a real focus on understanding customer behavior in ways they had never thought of before, because the customer of the future will not be loyal to a brand and they will not interact with those brands in the same way they do today. They confirmed that the applications launching from several fuel companies, are indeed a way to build that relationship with the customer, with the intention of being able to offer non-fuel services and products both, on and off the forecourt.
WHAT HAPPENES TO INDEPENDENT FUEL RETAILERS IN THE EV AGE?
In the face of the rapid pace of technology evolution and global events like the pandemic, companies thrive or die on their ability to reinvent themselves.
SureSite, seems to be one of those companies that falls on the thrive side of the fence. SureSite have been providing training, fuel management, health and safety and credit card services to independent fuel retailers in the UK for more than two decades, and have more than 2,000 customers across the country.
As mentioned above, the value of understanding customer behavior and building data-driven relationships with customers on and off the forecourt has never been more important.
Suresite seem to be in a strong position to be able to help independent retailers understand customer behavior through their payment services provision.
Lets take a look at how this might work in a fictitious EV charging forecourt of the future...
The contactless point of sale options (NFC and QR codes) are already available from companies like Thyngs, and the integration between smartphone and in-car systems is already widely available using both Apple and Android operating systems.
Whats needed to make this a reality is vision and partnership - now, thats up to you... “To know more about us, contact Amir Khademi”