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Comment: EV revolution should spark a forecourt store rethink says Gabriel Murray of Studio 48

Petrol companies rule the road trip customer. They have become the corner shop provider - and thus the main customer generator - for motorway service stations.

I was amazed to find that Shell has more outlets globally than Starbucks or McDonald’s, and that it serves 60m cups of Costa coffee.

This is all well and good when we need to refuel and grab a bag of nuts - about 50% of petrol station transactions in the UK aren’t for fuel.

However, as the population of Electric Vehicles (EV’s) increases what will happen to service stations? Currently we spend an average of 5-7mins during each visit to them - to refuel our cars, have a pee and buy a Mars Bar.

But we will be charging our EV's at home, with perhaps a top-up at the office or at the shopping mall using superchargers.The number of forecourt visits will surely fall.

And what happens when there’s a road trip to be had? A business trip, or the holiday to explore the Lake District under our own steam?Chargers will become faster, but currently it takes an estimated 25 minutes for a high speed charge. The latest EV’s have a range of 200miles and the average human needs a pee about every 160 – 200 miles (phew, I’m glad somebody worked that one out).

This suggests that service stations need to re-address their formats to suit the average urinating human. If it takes 25 minutes to get that required 80% charge then what do we do after the pee - sit in the car and munch the Mars Bar?

The oil companies have been looking at the issues, but they seen to have forgotten the customer as usual. I have seen visuals produced by the oil companies showing chi-chi car parks with refuelling alternatives such as Bio Gas and hydrogen…. But if the near future demand will be for personal lifestyle EV’s rather than the Uber Pool alternative then the service station of the future will potentially be huge because of the time taken to charge them.

Perhaps BP will need a re-brand to be ‘Beyond Peeing’!

Gabriel Murray is founder and creative strategist at Studio 48