EV Charging Stations’ Digital Screens, Apps Promote Nearby Stores

EVgo charging station

Electric vehicle (EV) charging networks’ stations and apps are promoting commerce beyond just charging vehicles. Increasingly, they’re being used to promote other brands and stores that are near where the vehicle will be parked.

For example, EVgo recently announced an expansion of its program that delivers promotions to drivers via text, email and mobile app after their charging session has started at one of the company’s stations.

Dubbed “EVgo Advantage,” the program can deliver coupons encouraging drivers to shop at nearby stores. The Save Mart Companies, a grocer operating 200 stores in California and Nevada, entered a partnership with EVgo in March, expanding the availability of EVgo Advantage.

EVgo reported that it has found that 80% of electric vehicle drivers shop while they charge their vehicles.

“Research shows that consumers are drawn to promotions, and we are pleased to offer an additional way to drive customer loyalty to our site host partners through EVgo Advantage,” EVgo CEO Cathy Zoi said in a press release announcing the expansion of the program.

Capturing Customers’ Attention Outside Stores 

Another electric vehicle charging network, Volta, announced May 10 the launch of a program that enables advertisers to find 40 different categories of stores that are near Volta charging stations.

Called “Store Next Door,” this place-based targeting offering identifies stores in such categories as healthcare centers, gyms, pet stores and quick service restaurants that share a parking lot with a Volta charging station.

The companies can then advertise on the charging stations, which are equipped with 55-inch digital media screens. Volta reported that by 2023, nearly 20% of digital advertising budgets will be devoted to retail media.

“Store Next Door invites more advertisers to benefit from Volta’s at-store media network by capturing attention immediately before customers make a purchase, all the while supporting the switch to carbon-free transportation,” Volta Interim CEO and Chief Revenue Officer Brandt Hastings said in a press release announcing the new offering.

Adding Value-Creating Software Services 

Companies are also working to make the charging experience more convenient for drivers and to integrate their software with that of other companies, including automakers.

In a current pilot program, EVgo has increased the number of its stations at which drivers can make a reservation to get their vehicle charged. The company charges $3 per reservation with a $2 no-show fee.

The company has seen a steady increase in customer demand for reservations and has doubled the number of locations at which reservations are available to nearly 50 sites in seven states.

“As EV penetration grows, we expect to offer a wide array of ancillary software-driven services that like reservations that need EVgo Advantage, set EVgo apart and allow us to efficiently monetize driver interactions,” Zoi said May 11 during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

During the last quarter, EVgo also launched EVgo Inside, a suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable third parties to embed the company’s charging experience into their own apps. It recently announced partnerships with Subaru and Toyota that include software and marketing integrations.

“As you can see, this quarter, we have been executing on each and every element of the business that makes EVgo stand apart — infrastructure build-out in locations where drivers want to charge, partnership development with marquee names in the transportation space and addition of value-creating software services that delight our customers and partners alike,” Zoi said.