The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States may be off to a slow start, but their presence on our roads is sure to increase more rapidly as auto manufacturers roll out new models, ranging from sedans toSUVs to pickup trucks. Still, consumers continue to have reservations about abandoning the trusty old internal combustion engine. And this reluctance is not merely about an aversion to change. There is a genuine anxiety related to range reliability.
A just-released survey by Autolist.com that polled consumer attitudes vis-à-vis EVs supports that assessment. Survey participants were asked to select their three top purchase considerations from a list of 11 when choosing an EV. The survey found that, with the exception of price, the top considerations all revolve around the battery. Range came out on top with 61 percent, followed by price at 50 percent. Charging infrastructure was next at 43 percent; recharge times scored 36 percent, battery efficiency 35 percent. Issues like performance, body style, and resale value did not make the top five.
In the March issue in this space, we imagined the opportunity to mitigate some concerns over charging infrastructure by installing charging points in selected free self-vacuum slots at express exterior car washes, a possibility that Ralph Nasca also alludes to in his article, “The Future of Full Serve” (page 28 in this issue). The time it takes to charge a vehicle could, however, be an obstacle. But there are solutions to be had. We referenced the development in Israel of an “extreme fast charging battery technology” that would provide 20 miles of driving range for each minute of charging. It’s expected to be available in 2023. An alternative will start shipping this summer. The EdgeEV70™ is a three-phase-power rapid charging station from EdgeEnergy, a subsidiary of Single Phase Power Solutions of Cincinnati, OH. EVs will receive a full battery charge from the rapid charger in approximately 30 minutes vs. four to six hours for lower-powered stations, according to the company. The unique feature of this charging station is that it uses patented technology to generate reliable three-phase, 480-volt output from existing single-phase infrastructure.
Charge time is a top-five concern for consumers. The Autolist.com survey asked participants how long they would be prepared to wait at a stop on a road trip to add 300 miles of driving range. Twenty-eight percent said up to 30 minutes; 22 percent would wait up to 20 minutes; 15 percent no more than 10 minutes; only 8 percent would give it 60 minutes. Even a rapid charger, it seems, will not meet the expectations of a large section of consumers.
Charging stations at car washes may one day be as common as gas stations at c-stores. Until then, there are other features that operators can add, or adjustments they can make, for the benefit of their customers or to fatten their bottom line. If you’re an IBA operator, turn to page 18 to learn of additional services that will be customer and revenue pleasing. Starting on page 40, self-serve operators can catch a glimpse of what their peers consider hot. Saving water is saving money and saving the environment. The article on page 32 reveals how even 1-second adjustments in the wash process can have a sizable effect on water usage.