From a bump in brand awareness to encouraging customers to stay and spend, welcome to the new age of EV-nomics

As the push to expand the EV charging network continues alongside the spread of the vehicles themselves, a new partnership has emerged between public charging stations and retail businesses ― who see all those folks charging their cars with dollar signs in their eyes.

An increasing number of businesses are recognizing that installing public EV charging facilities is a good way to attract customers. It’s simple, really: charging your car takes time. Why not shop a little while you wait?

“The more money that can be siphoned from the pockets of EV owners, the more likely businesses are to expand their charging facilities, so it becomes easy-peasy to drive anywhere without worrying about your next charge,” writes the Globe and Mail’s David Berman.

Pasquale Romano, CEO of the American-based Chargepoint Holdings, said he sees EV charging stations as a key part of a new 30-minute retail economy. He compares it to how gas stations make a pretty penny on sweets and snacks, but more lucrative.

“The suite of things they can sell you is broader because of the increased duration of how long you’re there. So you’re actually worth more to a site than a gas driver,” he said.

And retail stores are figuring out how to best make this partnership work. Some are experimenting with fee structures, experimenting with no-fee charging for paying customers or setting only low, nominal fees to cover costs.

A study by Atlas Public Policy backed this strategy. “To optimize sales revenue, retail site hosts should design free structures to achieve longer dwell times,” they write. “Indirect revenue sources were significantly more important than user fees for ensuring high charging station [value].”

It’s likely that you’ll start seeing more of these pop up. And more frequently, they’ll be in the prime parking spots ― as opposed to exiled to the back of the parking lot.

It’s worked, at least, for IKEA and Canadian Tire, who have both invested in charging stations. “Outside of store opening hours, EV drivers are often sipping coffee while checking their phones,” an IKEA spokesperson said. “During store opening hours, EV drivers are likely shopping or enjoying a meal in the IKEA restaurant.”

Content written by Kieran Delamont for Worklife, a partnership between Ahria Consulting and London Inc. To view this content in newsletter form, click here.