Electric vehicle charging car EV forecourt

Installing electric-vehicle (EV) charging points will enable stores to beat competition and secure repeat business, while causing “minimal disruption”, according to EV charger supplier CTEK.

The company’s UK sales manager, Simon Crangle, told betterRetailing the cost of a single socket from the company starts at £1,000, going up to £2,200 for a dual socket, plus installation and connection costs.

When asked if stores need planning permission to install a charging point, he said: “Not normally, as it falls under permitted development rights, but we recommend checking with the local planning authority, as there are rules around size and location, particularly in conservation areas and for listed buildings.

“Stores would also need to inform their utility company. Generally, the charger uses the store’s electricity supply, unless there is a third-party ownership. Retailers can also set their own prices for drivers using their chargers and fluctuate them quickly if needed.”

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Two types of EV charger exist for retail, including rapid (often found at motorway services or close to main routes) and fast (located in car parks or supermarkets).

Despite any store with its own parking spaces being a workable site, Crangle recommended a retailer wanting to keep a customer in store for up to an hour should consider investing.

“As soon as you get out of town, charging points can be really difficult to find,” he said. “People will begin seeking out your store and travelling there specifically. Repeat business is a key benefit and you will find customers will keep returning.”

Crangle urged stores to advertise if they have a charging point to help “differentiate” them from local competition.

“Stores should also ensure they are listed on Zap Map – an app showing every charging point in the UK. There isn’t likely to be any driver of an EV vehicle who doesn’t have it,” he said.

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Last year, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed more than a quarter of all car models available in the UK can be plugged in.

“It’s an intelligent thing to do now if you can,” said Crangle. “It might be that two of your parking spaces are taken up for a longer period of time, but over the next 10 years, probably 50% of spaces will have chargers. You are likely to make the money back, the more footfall you get.”

Crangle added: “Stores don’t need to worry about charging points not being future-proof. The connection points are the same for 99% of EV vehicles.

“Also, if you choose a charger with open-charge-point protocol, it can be easily moved and integrated with other chargers and software for billing and so on if you take over a store, for example.”

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