Retailers capitalise on the EV boom, integrating charging stations, and championing sustainability.

26 / 03 / 2024

Europe's electric vehicle (EV) market is experiencing unprecedented growth, driven by regulatory incentives, technological advancements, and shifting consumer preferences towards sustainability. With continued investments in infrastructure and innovation, the continent is poised to lead the global transition towards a greener, electrified future.

3 min.

man charging his EV

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), EV sales in Europe surpassed 1.5 million units in 2023, reflecting a substantial 37% increase compared to 2022, with a battery-electric car market share reaching 14.6%. This exponential growth can be attributed to various factors, including stringent emissions regulations imposed by governments aiming to combat climate change. The European Union's ambitious target to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030 has spurred automakers to accelerate their production of EVs (source: European Council).

Advancements in battery technology have significantly enhanced the driving range and affordability of electric vehicles, making them a viable option for consumers across the continent. Bloomberg NEF predicts that electric cars will achieve cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles by 2027, further fuelling the adoption of EVs. Moreover, the expansion of charging infrastructure has played a pivotal role in facilitating the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. According to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO), there are over 250,000 public charging points across Europe as of 2023, with rapid chargers accounting for nearly 25% of the total.

European retailers are leading the charge by integrating EV charging stations into their establishments. This strategic move not only aligns with the continent's ambitious climate goals but also reflects a commitment to meeting the evolving needs of environmentally conscious consumers. IKEA and grocery chains like Tesco in the UK and Lidl in Germany have introduced these stations at numerous stores across Europe, allowing shoppers to charge their electric vehicles while shopping and providing added value to customers while promoting eco-friendly mobility.

There are also many advantages for retailers: capturing new clients, retaining them in their stores as well as proposing new promotional services including charging and shopping. Furthermore, charging stations at retail stores are open when the store is closed, generating other types of business opportunities and revenues for retailers.

This boost in EV charging points is being recognised in the media, with articles analysing the best business places to charge in the UK (source: Direct365). Tesco (43%) is leading the top three, along with Morrisons (15%) and Asda (13%), they are followed by Lidl (9%) and Waitrose (6%). Similarly, this article focuses on Berlin’s retailer EV charging points; where to go, who offers free charging and comparing prices of those who do not.

In the coming three to five years, EV charging infrastructure will become vital for retailers, shaping their competitiveness and sustainability efforts. As consumer demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, offering accessible and reliable charging options will be crucial for attracting and retaining customers. According to data from EAFO, EV charging stations at European retail sites surged by over 60% in the past year, emphasising the industry's pivotal role in driving sustainable transportation initiatives.

As European retailers continue to embrace this trend, the widespread deployment of EV charging stations is poised to reshape the retail landscape, fostering a greener future for both businesses and consumers. Retailers who invest in EV charging stations will not only cater to environmentally conscious shoppers but also set themselves apart in a competitive market, driving foot traffic and building brand loyalty. Failure to adapt to this changing landscape risks falling behind competitors and missing out on the opportunities presented by the shift to electric mobility. Thus, integrating EV charging solutions will be a strategic imperative for retailers aiming to thrive in the evolving retail landscape.

Pierre Veillon

Pierre Veillon

Mobility, EV Charging and Parking Segment Marketing Manager Europe - Merchant Services Worldline

Ferdinand Fico

Retail & Food Marketing Manager Merchant Services Worldline