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What I Miss Most About Gas Stations

The other day, I was driving down the main street in town in my Leaf and I had an overwhelming desire to stop at a gas station. I really just wanted to pull in, and it wasn’t out of nostalgia, a jelly donut, or for a cup of coffee. I didn’t know the cashier or need to get cigarettes (I don’t even smoke!) but rather, for service. Gas stations are a place where cars were loved on.

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While stopping in for gas, we could conveniently get a car wash on the way out, air up the tires (this, in fact, was the pressing concern for me), grab an air freshener, and clean the windscreen. Occasionally, we could even pony up the extra quarters for a nice vacuum, though with small children, it is often a futile effort to suck out the small snacks spilled everywhere… along with a small toy or two… but nonetheless necessary.

It was a strange thought, and not just a passing one. I believe we do have a rift forming in our society somewhere between the gas stations and the Starbucks’ of the world where an EV service station will make TONS of sense. The best way my brain can shape this up today with elements that will last long enough to withstand the dynamics of today’s broken EV charging infrastructure is to install a LARGE electrical infrastructure that can handle massive flows (think 20+ cars on DC fast charging at 150 amp draw each) paired with a starbucks / truck stop / food place. Focusing on a large electrical infrastructure means the investment is not insignificant, though strategically locating stations with large existing utility installations could mitigate this to a large extent.

ShutterstockBuilding the infrastructure decouples the chargers from the charging standard, and with DC fast chargers under $10,000 each, it’s a venture anyone can raise capital for. This approach buys the entrepreneur a captive audience… 30 minutes of dedicated time to sell them whatever you desire (okay, whatever they desire). Want to hand wash their car while it’s charging? I think this can be done safely, sounds good! Want to air up their tires? Great! Change the brake fluid (the one recurring service item on EVs)? No problem. Selling coffee, donuts, bagels, and even meals becomes a no-brainer.

Just give us the keys and we’ll get you charged up and moved to a non-charging spot, ready for your day. As a dual EV family, I can’t say that we truly miss gas stations because they are nasty — there’s no denying it. Nobody really likes them… except maybe the people that profit from them. But it’s tough to deny the convenience they offered. They are a finely honed sales and service experience that EV owners miss out on… and that presents a huge opportunity. So, yeah, I miss gas stations… heh.

 

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Written By

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

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