This is what the future gas station will look like
History has taught us that it is the vehicles that make the station; from horses and the farrier to cars and the gas pump, and now electric vehicles and the charging station. But what part of the petrol station will still exist after the EV revolution?
What will happen with the old-fashioned gas stations if the electric vehicles take over? Is this the beginning of the end for the Swedish “coffee-and-Danish” culture we are used to see when we stop to fill up our cars with gasoline? Well, not exactly. But sure, in the same way the Model-T Ford needed gasoline more than horseshoes, the Nissan Leaf needs electricity more than a gas pump. However, this doesn’t mean that the petrol station is dead.
Fredrik Nordin, CEO of the charging operator company Clever Sweden, is more than happy to cooperate with the traditional gas stations. “We want to install charging stations with a maximum distance of 50 km between each other. Moreover, there must be something else to do during the charging. You should be able to use the bathroom, buy a coffee and a newspaper. This is why we cooperate with gas stations, which have an established network and existing infrastructure for these services.
In the small city Värnamo, one Statoil station which has chosen a simple solution with regards to fuel, which can easily be described as “the more choices, the better.”
“We offer different kinds of diesel, ethanol and gasoline and of course electricity through our DC fast charger,” says the station manager Kristin Larsson.
Today there are two parking places for the fast charging station which a customer can activate either using an App on their mobile device or with a card purchased from the station. “It is very nice to be part of the charging infrastructure which is being built up by ABB and Clever,” Kristin continues.
An obvious business model is to find opportunities and offer the EV user something to do, eat and buy during the 10 to 20 minutes the vehicle is charging. In other words, the traditional services offered at the gas station will be relevant even after the electric vehicle revolution. You will still appreciate a coffee break and bribe your children with candy in order for them to not continually keep asking “are we there yet?”
Text: Jimmy Håkansson
Photo: Lina Alriksson