May 21, 2024


by Haley Ventura

Redefining Convenience: The Evolution of Gas Stations with the Rise of Electric Vehicles

In today’s fast-paced world, time is a valuable commodity. However, the concept of convenience is evolving, largely thanks to the increase of electric vehicles (EVs). Unlike traditional combustion engines, juicing up an electric car demands a bit more patience, often requiring upwards of 20 to 30 minutes or more, depending on its charging capabilities. The quick in-and-out pitstop at the gas station may soon become a thing of the past as more consumers gravitate toward EV ownership.

However, this shift presents an intriguing opportunity for retailers. With increased dwell time, convenience stores can benefit from the time electric vehicle owners spend charging their cars. Research indicates that electric vehicle customers spend an average of 23 minutes in the store, a far cry from the two to three-minute dash most customers make.

The big question is how convenience stores can adapt to make the most of these extended visits and enhance the customer experience.


As more and more customers switch to electric vehicles, c-stores can capitalize on the extra wait time that EV drivers encounter while their cars are charging. According to recent studies, this additional wait time can increase browsing, resulting in upwards of 65% of unintended purchases made during a visit.

To take advantage of this trend, retailers can target the EV driver demographic by editing and adding to their current product offerings. These new products—such as fresh fruits and vegetables, locally-sourced goods, and higher quality health, beauty, and travel products—would go beyond the traditional coffee, beverages, and snacks to meet the needs and wants of these new customers.


As convenience stores consider additional product lines that cater to EV owners, they are likely to take into account the demand for healthier options. A fast-casual food approach could complement the tried-and-true grab-and-go model currently in place.

Studies show that fast-casual diners are willing to wait up to fifteen minutes for their order—triple the time a fast-food consumer would wait. This additional time allowance would give a convenience store more time to prepare food, allowing an opportunity for healthier options.


In addition to offering meal and snack offerings that appeal to EV owners, convenience stores should also prioritize providing a pleasant, clean, and safe atmosphere. This can significantly aid in the overall enjoyment of the food and time spent on-site. Studies show that the environment in which food is consumed aids in making the food taste better. A unique outdoor dining experience or tasteful interior area of safe reprieve from the road could make a customer feel at ease as they wait.

The design of a site can significantly impact the customer experience. For instance, consider a convenience store that incorporates charging stations in a way that blends in with the surroundings by adding more vegetation and landscaping. This would offer more scenic views when approaching the site or inside the store. Additionally, breaking up the large concrete areas can enhance traffic flow and visibility to both the charging stations and the store, creating an overall safer environment. Furthermore, adding well-maintained and sheltered exterior seating areas may encourage customers to take a break from their vehicles and the store.

Within the store, creating a pathway that encourages visitors to wander around and explore the various product options aids in ambiance. It also enables visitors to move around freely while they wait for food or charge their devices.

Along with designing the flow of the store, providing different seating options and areas would also give visitors the freedom to choose how they want to feel at that moment and cater to varying types of EV users. For example, a comfortable chair by the window could be perfect for someone wanting to catch up on work or emails. At the same time, a large table could be ideal for a family to have a meal together while on the road. Offering various seating options rather than just quick touchpoints would benefit EV clients. Furthermore, opening the store for visibility while allowing natural light to come in would provide a better connection with the exterior.


As electric vehicle ownership grows, gas station operators have a unique opportunity to capitalize on extended customer dwell times while EV owners charge their cars. By offering products and services that cater to the needs of the EV demographic, such as healthier food options and a pleasant atmosphere, retailers can enhance the customer experience and increase sales. With some creativity, convenience stores can adapt to this evolving trend and transform charging time into a profitable and enjoyable experience for all.


Haley Ventura

Innovative, diligent, and organized all describe Haley, an interior designer with the Retail Practice Studio at Little. Specializing in food-based projects, she is passionate about creating thoughtful and cohesive design solutions to improve our way of life. Haley’s attention to detail not only makes her an attentive designer but also a considerate hostess. A so-called amateur floret and cook, Haley delights in all aspects of hosting and entertaining family and friends in her free time.

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