EVs and Convenience: Trends to Expect in 2024

We asked several PDI business leaders to share their predictions on the potential impact of the energy transition and EVs across the convenience retail industry.  

A wider range of energy offerings 

“For convenience retailers, the acceleration of EV adoption will necessitate major changes. Success will require serving both ICE and EV consumers for decades and pivoting to becoming an energy provider offering a range of fuels, including electric charging, other renewable options, and, yes, even gasoline.” – Bethany Allee, SVP, Marketing and Education

Read more from Bethany in her EV blog series

The c-store as a destination 

“Retailers already winning at foodservice understand the c-store as a destination, which we’ve seen with success first in the highly competitive European and Asian markets and now throughout North America. The need to prioritize additional amenities beyond fuel will continue as c-stores cement their relevance to consumers of all kinds, no matter if they’re driving internal combustion engine, electric, or other types of vehicles.” - Justin Baxley, Vice President, Retail Product Management

Hear more from Justin in the Trends webinar

Investment in new infrastructure 

“Although a completely electric driving future may be decades away, retailers and wholesalers should start preparing to better serve their customers who are increasingly adopting EVs. Many large c-store operators have already begun investing in new infrastructure with an emphasis on charging stations to meet this evolving demand.” – Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, a PDI company  

The need for leaner operations 

“The best way to navigate economic and geopolitical uncertainty and prepare for the energy transition is to run lean operations. Marketing—especially loyalty marketing—will play an integral role in ensuring that any investments into foodservice, EV charging stations, hydrogen pumps, or other innovations reach consumers where they are while building brand affinity to help retailers remain relevant in the new era of convenience.” – Dimitra Farou, Regional Marketing Manager, EMEA/APAC  

The advantage of real estate 

“This is a very unique moment in time for our industry. C-stores have much more leverage than we think because they have the real estate. And what doesn’t exist in EV charging is real estate. The risk c-stores run is that the consumer you have today who switches to an EV may not be your consumer tomorrow if you don’t have the infrastructure they want because someone else is built to do it.” – Drew Lipsher, Energy Transition Senior Advisor 

Demand for more sustainable options 

“As the energy movement continues, retailers are in the unique position to get ahead and embrace the challenge. When we think about it from a sustainability lens, we know that the interest and demand for more sustainable choices continues to be important. These concepts go hand in hand with how retailers can leverage EV trends while thinking through sustainability goals.” – Maryann Michela, Senior Director, Products and Operations

Learn more about PDI Sustainability Solutions

Convergence of EV drivers and c-store shoppers 

“The EV ecosystem has a long road ahead of it to reach maturity. Many bottlenecks must be overcome as it matures, from raw material sourcing to car batteries, power grid reliability, and more. As the reality of these challenges surfaces, some regulatory pressure and even the level of demand has cooled a bit. But we all know that this transformation is going to progress. To charge new electric vehicles, everyone from retailers to technology providers to utilities is stepping up to the challenge and innovating. Investment continues to pour into public charging infrastructure, with convenience retailers playing a critical role in this evolution, so we’ll see business models soon reflect the convergence of an EV driver with a c-store shopper.” – Jay Warner, VP, Strategy and Corporate Development

Hear more from Jay in his Energy Transition video

Continued consolidation across the globe 

Expect to see continued consolidation across the globe in 2024 as successful convenience retailers accelerate the growth of their footprint and consumer base. Pay particular attention to the energy transition, as market leaders of various sizes start to scale for EVs while maintaining their fuel operations to serve the majority of drivers in the foreseeable future.” – Thomas Wightman, SVP, Strategy and Corporate Development 

Position your business for continued success

By “Connecting Convenience” across the industry ecosystem, PDI can help you and your business succeed regardless of what market dynamics you face in 2024. Contact us today to learn how we can help you transform your business.