With an expanding population, growth in the number of qualified drivers and easy access to financing, the number of cars on British roads continues to increase. So, too, does the number of car parks. Today, almost 4,000 companies run around 10,000 pay and display car parks in the UK. While competition between car park companies increases, we are also seeing a change in the cars being driven. Modern cars are not just bigger and need larger parking bays, they are increasingly electric. Here, we look at how car park operators can benefit from installing EV chargers.
With the sale of new petrol and diesel cars ending in 2030, the demand for electric vehicles has surged. Despite the pandemic, between 2019 and 2020, the number of all-electric car sales grew by 185% while the sale of hybrid cars rose by 91%. Aside from self-charging vehicles, the rest need to be charged and with few owners having a charger at home, most rely on using an EV charger when they are parked elsewhere. This means there is a growing demand for charging points in pay and display car parks.
The benefits of EV chargers
Just like most other businesses, customer experience has become vital for car park operators wanting to be more competitive and relevant in the market. While there is little that can be done about a car park’s location, many operators are improving the customer experience through widening parking bays, introducing easier ways to pay and increasing lighting and security. Installing EV chargers is another highly effective way to improve the customer experience, enabling the growing number of users with electric cars to charge their vehicles while they are parked. Not only does this make car parks with EV chargers more appealing to electric car owners; it also offers operators a new and potentially very lucrative revenue stream and may extend the length of time that parking is required.
Becoming an early adopter
Despite the growth in the number of electric vehicles, at present, very few pay and display car parks have EV chargers installed. This provides opportunities for early adopters to become established leaders in this important service area. With little competition at the moment, those with EV chargers are going to have a clear competitive advantage by appealing to those owners who want to park and charge at the same time.
Indeed, it offers a range of customer experience enhancing opportunities, such as allowing customers the ability to pay for parking and charging in a single transaction and do so via a number of options, such as contactless, online and app. With the use of an app, customers may even be able to book spaces in advance so they can be assured of getting their vehicle charged.
Like all companies in the UK, car park operators will need to introduce measures that make their operations more energy-efficient so they can reduce their carbon footprint and become net zero by 2050. While LED lighting is the obvious way to reduce emissions on car parking sites, operators also need to be aware of how becoming a greener organisation can attract new customers.
One of the reasons for the growth in electric vehicles is that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their own impact on the environment. This is part of a wider change in consumer behaviour, with over 56% of people now considering a company’s green credentials before using their services. It’s why brands go out of their way to promote themselves as eco-friendly. Introducing EV chargers shows that a car park operator supports the fight against climate change and this appeals not just to electric car owners, but also to those green consumers who still own petrol and diesel cars.
The number of plug-in vehicles in the UK grew from 260,000 in 2019 to 675,000 by 2021, with the biggest growth in all-electric cars. This growth is set to continue until diesel and petrol cars have been phased out. In the same period, the number of charging points in the UK only grew from 17,000 to 27,000. This means there is a significant shortfall in the number of chargers available and that car parks which become early adopters are likely to see the greatest benefits.
For more information, visit our Commercial EV Charger Installation page.