In addition to cultivating loyalty with younger customers, EV stations make sense for retail stores as an additional revenue stream, where shoppers can leave their vehicle in the parking lot to charge as they pick up coffee or groceries. Compared to pumping gas, there are fewer electric charging stations and the charging process takes longer. These stores are in a good position to cater to the growth of EV ownership: 1.4 million electric vehicles—or 0.4% of all vehicles in operation in the US—were on the road on Jan. 1, 2022 up 45% from the year before, according to data from S&P Global Mobility.

The changing suburban landscape

Food retailers are “making a series of bets around changing what the American landscape looks like and how we as consumers interact with that every day,” Meredith Sandland, who was formerly a chief development officer at Taco Bell, said in a webinar about the future of ghost kitchen in March of 2022. It’s already happening—Taco Bell has opened drive-thru-only locations to attract tech-savvy, online delivery customers.

The increase in EV stations also signals a shift in what suburbia looks like. Millennials are getting to the stage where they want to buy houses, own cars, and have kids—”all the things that they put off doing and then the generation that comes behind them, they want to do it in a different way, right? They want to live more urban lifestyles,” said Sandland. “You’re going to have all of the same investment in our domestic infrastructure that you had over the last 50 years as the Baby Boomers came out. You’re going to have to remake all of this extended suburbia into something that’s denser, more walkable, more appealing to these generations.”

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