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How Tesla and EV charging networks threaten the future of gas stations – Vox.com

Slowly but surely, electric cars and trucks are taking over American highways. The White House aims for half of new vehicles sold in the US to be EVs by 2030, and auto giants like GM and Volvo want to go all-electric…….

Slowly but surely, electric cars and trucks are taking over American highways. The White House aims for half of new vehicles sold in the US to be EVs by 2030, and auto giants like GM and Volvo want to go all-electric in a similar time frame. As utility companies hurry to expand the number of charging stations — a critical step for the EV transition — the future of the gas station is in doubt.

Right now, gas stations are a regular part of American life, a place drivers go on a daily or weekly basis to fill up and sometimes grab a snack. But the fuel pump plus convenience store concept has much less to offer the country’s small but growing number of EV owners.

While some gas stations have taken the leap and installed charging ports alongside their pumps, people tend to do the lion’s share of their EV charging at home. And since EV chargers can be installed in almost any location that’s connected to the power grid –– they’re now available in office garages and rest stops, and will soon be in some Starbucks parking lots — the gas station is increasingly unnecessary for some Americans.

“The beauty is that you’re not locked into a gas station,” argues Rob Barrosa, a senior director of sales and marketing at Electrify America, an EV charging network and subsidiary of Volkswagen. “How do we get the power to where we want it? That’s a much easier problem to solve than having to deal with big huge gas tanks that you’ve got to bury into the ground.”

This is worrisome news if you’re in the gas station business. Boston Consulting Group analysts estimate that if EVs do take off, as much as 80 percent of the fuel retail market could be unprofitable by 2035. Should demand for gasoline completely disappear, many of the more than 100,000 stations throughout the country would be at risk of going out of business. If they’re not able to sell fuel, gas stations would struggle to make money since people typically buy products at their convenience stores while they’re filling up.

So if these businesses want to survive, they need to start reinventing themselves for a world beyond gas. That could be hard to do, or even impossible. Installing EV chargers in existing gas station locations can be quite expensive. Meanwhile, those …….

Source: https://www.vox.com/recode/23023671/ev-charging-network-gas-station-fast-charger

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