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  • Writer's pictureDan Munford

Create a long term strategy for the EV and mobility retail opportunity

The EV industry has had a testing few months. As we see it, the current danger is that some roadside retail businesses may be getting the impression that the electrified future is in peril.  This would, in my view, be a mistake. Current numbers around the switch from ICE to EV are most likely only a temporary speed bump.

Our own perspective on researching and reporting on the energy transition remains pragmatic. Our objective with our current ‘Best EV Hub in the World‘ competition is to research and showcase the practical improvements which leading operators worldwide have underway to revolutionise the customer experience for EV drivers, to improve uptime, conversion rates and maximise the retail opportunity.

We’ve presented a sizeable library of EV Hub site profile material to the industry free of charge online. Judging by the hundreds of thousands of impressions and thousands of votes we’ve seen, industry interest has been high and this competition is serving its’ purpose to drive innovation in this space.

Why do I think it would be a mistake to see the electric future in doubt? Well, this is much more than a gut feel and a hunch. The fact is that many industry experts still predict that demand for electric vehicles will start to pick up and the industry will actually emerge from this slowdown in more competitive shape.

It is, after all, a healthy thing that a shake up amongst OEMs happens with the end of easy money from investors and pressure on Western legacy manufactuers to up their game, become more efficient and drop their prices. Further price drops are inevitable with car buyers in China, the World’s most important EV market now finding small EVs to be two-thirds the price of a comparable ICE vehicle according to the International Energy Agency.

Electrical Storms linger over Washington D.C. but will pass 

This is not to say that there will not be ‘electrical storms’ ahead. As the ‘EV Politics Project’ in the US has found in its’ opinion polling research, a new barrier to mass adoption to EVs has emerged which it terms ‘The Red Wall’. Increasingly in political circles ‘EVs are perceived not simply as vehicles, but as a political statement’ and this creates support, but also opposition. Former President Trump himself says that EVs ‘cost too much’ and ‘don’t go far’ and the result of the US election this November will certainly influence the speed of development and the market penetration of lower priced Chinese EVs in this market.

The result of a US Presidential election is always significant. But it will not in my view be enough to stop the EV expansion continuing. Even if the EU and the UK impose much higher tariff barriers for cheaper Chinese EVs this may not prove a long term or indeed an effective strategy. According to Gram Car Carriers, under 15% of all China’s car exports (including Western Brands) were to the EU last year. North American or European OEMs may like the idea of temporary protection, but this will not stop other world markets being hoovered up.

The other big factor here in Europe is Government regulation. According to Britain’s leading energy economist, Professor Dieter Helm; ‘the idea that we are turning away from net zero policies is rubbish’. What we are seeing is ‘a tweak on the line based upon realism’. If we ignore the political rhetoric, the views of the UK Conservative and UK Labour parties on energy are virtually identical. In markets like Germany, many expected 2024 sales growth to slump. That is because 1st January 2025 is the date on which the EU takes its next large step towards zero emissions vehicles; the average carbon dioxide emissions of cars sold by each OEM must fall by 15% compared with 2021.

All in all, just because voters feel they have been misled about progress made on reducing the increase in carbon content in the atmosphere, the costs of fitting heat pumps and high priced EVs and the extent of a reliable fast charging infrastructure does not mean that mainstream political policies will change.

Insight Research and Global Convenience Store Focus emphasis on EV opportunity continues

It will be no surprise that we will continue our focus on the mobility revolution to help our clients and our industry make better, more informed decisions about the future. We already have many years of experience tracking the development of the ‘EV charging value chain’ and this will continue and expand.

To get involved, please VOTE if you haven’t already and look out for our announcement soon of the winner of ‘Best EV Hub in the World’. If you’re interested in considering a more detailed involvement in our new mobility retail research activities and roadside retailer led-share group projects, please get in touch.


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