A new study reveals that electric vehicle drivers prefer to charge at gas stations, if only there were enough gas stations offering the chargers.
Using machine learning, the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy captured the best insight yet into the attitudes of EV drivers and the existing charger network. More on their research methods later.
With a new level of depth and accuracy, the study identified sore spots that match our own years of research. The results, same as ours, go against the conventional wisdom of e-Mobility past and present.
The new study found that workplace and mixed-use residential stations scored lower by getting more frequent complaints about accessibility and signage. In other words, there weren’t enough chargers in the apartment or office complexes, and even if there were, people couldn’t find them.
(A 2019 article featuring GVR’s e-Mobility team mirrors the data that came out this week.)
CRAVING THE C-STORE EXPERIENCE
Convenience stores, however, are among the top-rated charging locations. Turns out, people don’t enjoy sitting in a lonely parking garage, waiting for their cars to charge. Researchers say this finding is a major incentive for c-stores to install chargers because data shows they draw in customers – not in the future – right now.
The study argues that it’s not enough to merely place chargers in city centers and shopping malls. Drivers are looking for easily accessible, safe, manned sites with food and beverage options, restrooms, and amenities – all things currently offered by convenience stores.
Researchers trained a machine learning algorithm to analyze the data from a popular EV users smartphone app at near real-time speed. Using AI, the research team categorized data from 12,000+ chargers into accurate consumer sentiment in a matter of minutes.
The study was conducted to show how data can be used more efficiently to form public policy on sustainability. In the end, it revealed – with great accuracy – the pain points of the e-Mobility movement.
IF YOU BUILD IT – THEY WILL CHARGE
The topic of EV adoption in the United States is a “chicken vs. the egg” discussion.
“On one side, you have gas stations waiting for more people to start driving electric vehicles. On the other, you have people waiting for more public chargers to become available. The data now available shows which should come first,” said Global EV lead, Deepesh Nayanar.
Current EV drivers want to charge at gas stations right now. Once they can do that, the rest will follow.
Ready to get started on your EV charging plans for your c-store or gas station? Contact us today!