An increase in electric car usage could be the saviour of the bricks and mortar retail sector, it has been claimed, as people may visit shopping parks and supermarkets to recharge their vehicles.
The “weekly shop” will see a comeback as drivers, especially those living in city centres who do not have a personal charging point in their homes, combine shopping with a regular charge of their car.
Scottish ministers want to phase out the need for petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032. However, those living in city centres, who do not have access to personal driveways and individual charging points will have to use public points to recharge their electric vehicles (EVs).
Barry Carruthers, head of innovation at ScottishPower, said that people would change their behaviour to find convenient charging points, including potentially ditching online grocery shopping in favour of visiting a physical supermarket where they could charge their car while they shop.
He said: “A lot of people have recently been shopping online or using local convenience stores a few times a week, but when you have the added need to charge your car, you are likely to go back to a once a week shop at a supermarket where you can do that. We do see a potential renaissance for the weekly shop.”
Mr Carruthers, who has his own electric car which he charges at a range of locations including park and ride car parks at train stations for his daily commute, said: “As electric cars progress, we could be looking at a range of 200 to 300 miles per charge, which would mean that people would only need to charge their vehicles once a week, which could easily be done while shopping.”
Earlier this year, retail estate agency Savills revealed that it was working to roll out electric vehicle charging points across 29 of its retail locations in the UK, while supermarket Tesco announced plans to bring 2,500 free electric charging bays to 600 of its stores this year in a partnership with Volkswagen.
Thomas McMillan, Savills energy director, said: “Some of the more forward-looking retail operators are looking to add EV to car parking spaces, as a way to future proof themselves and to ensure they keep up with what the market is demanding … the introduction of EV charging is likely to increase customers’ dwell time’ [the average duration of a visit].”
The number of electric cars on Scottish roads rose to around 6,000 last year, according to the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland.