The increase in use of electric cars will lead to a decline of inner-city petrol stations as drivers charge at home or work.
Not if, but when… the number of petrol stations will be significantly reduced in urban areas, once the majority of cars on the road are electric.
Motorists with a garage or off street parking will charge at home, while company car parks will offer charging, therefore reducing the need for the majority of dedicated petrol stations, although charging points will be required for long distance travel, where electric cars journey beyond the range of their batteries.
Currently electric car options remain small, however, it is expected to rise significantly as carmakers try to hit increasingly stringent emissions targets. Over the next three years, battery cars will come to the market in droves.
The future of petrol stations — even when converted to offer electric charging — is a topic of discussion across the industry, with the number of petrol stations is already declining as cars become more fuel efficient. Big oil companies that own petrol stations, will need to commit to installing electric vehicle charging points at their retail sites.
Others see more potential for retail sites with charging to sell food and drink to consumers while they wait for their vehicles to charge, something that takes considerably longer than filling a car with petrol. Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, has suggested the company may open restaurants at its network of superchargers.
Petrol Stations as we know them today will not suddenly disappear. Petrol and diesel vehicles will also not suddenly disappear. The cars that are bought today will continue to drive until at least 2035. Whether or not the stations will be pumping petrol, LPG, or rapid charging electric vehicles (EVs), the future of these sites will be a blend of food, retail and convenience, as they look to broaden and deepen their offer to create a one-stop shop for customers.
The ‘old-school servo’ will continue to evolve considerably, as modern vehicle become more fuel efficient, and as the ownership of hybrid and electric vehicles grows, the types of fuels used by vehicles is changing too.