Automobility LA - S9


to place EV charging stations at convenience stores to meet the charging
day-they can communicate that through the connected vehicle directly
needs of current gasoline customers.
to the store ... maybe pay for the purchase through an app and even set a
But beyond that, he says, stores also may want to consider creating an
pickup time."
environment where customers can hang out for a 30- to 45-minute charging
The hidden value to the convenience stores is using an app to circumvent
session, putting up tables and chairs and adding Wi-Fi and other creature
credit-card payments. The fees paid to credit card companies are the induscomforts.
try's No. 1 expense, Eichberger says.
Eichberger thinks having an EV charger-and particularly a DC fast charRetailers also are exploring opportunities using autonomous vehicles and
ger-might provide a competitive advantage for a retail location.
robotic technology.
"Say an office worker goes out to lunch or to run an
Like many chains including Target Corp. and Walmart Inc., Kroger is allowerrand, and your store has a charger, but your compeing customers to order groceries online and then drive to the store's curbside
tition across the street doesn't," he says. "That person
pickup location at a designated time.
might choose to shop with you and plugin for the five
The grocery chain is taking that one step further by testing Nuro self-drivor 10 minutes they're shopping because your charger is
ing vehicles. Since December, Nuro's Prius cars and Nuro R1 driverless vehicles
there, and they're going to be parked anyway. It might
have been delivering groceries to homes in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Houston.
be a differentiating factor."
"Customers love it," Hudson says.
The Kroger Co., the nation's largest supermarket retailer, has rented space
Kroger also has opened four robotic and digital fulfillment centers around
to EV charging networks, placing chargers in its grocery store parking lots.
the country in partnership with Ocado, an online grocery retailer. Groceries
"For the frequency of visits and the amount of time people stay at a groarrive at the warehouse and are sorted by robots; the next day, the online
cery store, it's a natural place to
put charging stations," says Ed
Kroger is testing Nuro self-driving vehicles to deliver groceries.
Hudson, Kroger's senior director
of real estate. But because Kroger also has its own large and
popular fuel center business,
Hudson says, it's likely the company could add its own chargers
as well.
One thing Kroger is studying
is how many EV chargers might
be needed in a typical parking lot
and how that will change as EV
penetration increases in the U.S.
"Our actions will be driven by
what our customers want," Hudson says.
Kroger has made a corporate
commitment to sustainability
called Zero Hunger | Zero Waste,
and EV charging "fits right into
that," Hudson says. "We want to
figure out how to do this and
make it right for our customers,
associates, shareholders, and
Beyond the addition of EV
charging capacity, retailers are
exploring how they might evolve their business model to take advantage
orders are shipped to customers. Currently, those centers use vans with huof connected cars.
man drivers to deliver orders. But Kroger's Hudson says self-driving vehicles
As more
and and
Eichare a possibility as well.
a varietya of
new services
and approaches
for a convenience
berger imagines
of possible
new services
and approaches
for a con"Like all companies, we have to answer: What does our customer want,
as serving
an Amazon
for instance,
or providing
a loungevenience
as an
spot, for
instance, or
providwhere do they want it, when do they want it and how do they want it?" he
rideshare drivers
in between
ing aatmosphere
for rideshare
in between
says. "We'll continue exploring ways to make it easier for people."
if drivers neediftodrivers
to recharge
their cars.
Similarly, the Fuels Institute's Eichberger says convenience stores need to
He gets excited thinking about vehicle-to-store connectivity and the pothink strategically about how their business will evolve to meet the changtential for a new level of personalized customer service from convenience
es-and the opportunities-created by autonomous, connected, and espestore operators.
cially electric cars.
"People who shop at a c-store are not looking at things in the store," Eich"For the convenience store, it's critical to remember that the person drivberger says. "Shopping trips are three minutes on average. So if a customer
ing the EV today was buying gas from you yesterday," he says. "Do you want
knows what they want-especially if it's the same coffee and bagel every
them still coming to your store? And how do you make that happen?" l



Automobility LA

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automobility LA

Automobility LA - Intro
Automobility LA - S1
Automobility LA - S2
Automobility LA - S3
Automobility LA - S4
Automobility LA - S5
Automobility LA - S6
Automobility LA - S7
Automobility LA - S8
Automobility LA - S9
Automobility LA - S10
Automobility LA - S11
Automobility LA - S12
Automobility LA - S13
Automobility LA - S14
Automobility LA - S15
Automobility LA - S16