On July 10th, 2020 one of the mid-Atlantics prominent supermarket chains, Giant Foods, announced that they will be rolling out a program for free electric vehicle charging starting this year. There will be 60 stations installed by the end of 2020 and hundreds more rolled out by mid-2021. This is great news for electric vehicle drivers in the DelMarVa region, but Giant is far from the first grocery store to enter the EV market. In NY, Price Chopper has been installing a network of chargers throughout the state since 2013. They have been one of many businesses that have turned toward the future and embraced the idea of electric adaptation early to offer this benefit to their consumers.
Of national retailers that have been early to adopt electric vehicle infrastructure and support current growth, many of them are grocery stores or large retailers that sell food in some capacity. Logically, it makes sense for a grocery store to be a prime location for those who need a charge. The supermarket is already somewhere that customers go and spend a substantial amount of time relative to other stores. The average person spends around an hour at the grocery store 1.6 times per week, and having charging as an amenity for shoppers will boost the stores status as a preferred stop for organic clientele. The benefits of this relationship are symbiotic because the electric vehicle driver gets access to a charge (from the food and the car) while the grocer can secure the type of future-thinking client who is likely to own an electric vehicle.
Movements of this magnitude need to be acknowledged for many reasons, but an interesting piece that is worth noting is that this trend goes beyond the organic high-end grocery stores like Whole Foods. The prioritization of electric adaptation by affordable chains like Price Chopper and Giant Foods shines light on a movement in the EV market to attract a more average customer. New models of electric vehicles being released by the world’s largest auto-manufacturers reflect increasing affordability that will allow a much wider audience to participate in the EV market. We should expect that the EV space is not only going to get bigger, but it is also going to get younger. This is an important distinction because the younger the consumer entering the electric market, the longer their horizon for continuing to make similar purchases in the future is. Grocery stores should all be considering the benefits available by installing electric charging stations as a long-term investment. To those who are already doing this, we see you and recognize your continued contributions to a greener future!