C-Stores Want to Help Grow U.S. EV-Charging Network

NACS general counsel tells NPR that the industry aims to continue to meet the needs of American drivers.

August 17, 2021

EV Charging

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The trillion-dollar infrastructure bill was passed by the Senate last week, and if approved, several billion dollars will be spent to build and maintain electric vehicle charging stations. The new EV stations would support President Biden’s aggressive target of 2030 for having 50% of all vehicles on the road be electric, hydrogen fuel-cell or plug-in hybrids.

As NACS Daily has reported, NACS was one of several organizations that worked with legislators to ensure that convenience and fuel retailers will be part of that coordination effort and eligible for the alternative fuels corridor grant program that is part of the bill. NACS wants to ensure that the program will be structured in such a way to encourage private sector investment and a competitive market for EV charging.

Doug Kantor, general counsel for NACS, was recently interviewed for NPR Marketplace and explained that the c-store industry wants to continue its long history of supplying fuel and convenience to the nation’s drivers.

“You plug into a high-speed charge. You go inside and use the restroom and grab a drink … and pretty quickly you’re on your way,” Kantor said. While public utilities have expressed a desire to offer EV charging services, Kantor said that competition in the private market would keep prices lower.

Earlier this month, NACS Daily reported that constructing an EV-charging infrastructure now would be costly based on the number of EVs on the road. In 2020, EVs accounted for only 2% of the nation’s new car sales and in recent weeks stood at 3% of new vehicle sales.

A growing number of convenience operators see EV charging investments as an investment in the future. In June, for example, 7-Eleven said it aims to build at least 500 direct current fast charging (DCFC) ports at 250 select U.S. and Canada stores by the end of 2022.

Owned and operated by 7‑Eleven, the new DCFC ports will increase convenient charging options for EV drivers by adding to the company’s existing 22 charging stations located at 14 stores in four states. Once this expansion is complete, the company will have one of the largest and most compatible fast-charging systems of any retailer in the U.S.

“Adding 500 charging ports at 250 7‑Eleven stores will make EV charging more convenient and help accelerate broader adoption of EVs and alternative fuels,” said 7‑Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. “We are committed to the communities we serve and to working toward a more sustainable future.”

A new report from the Fuels Institute Electric Vehicle Council, “Best Practice Guide for Installing and Operating Public Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure,” shares insights on how business owners can make strategic decisions about investing in charging infrastructure, from the initial conversations to ultimately serving customers.

Register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8, at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on EVs, including EV 101: What Is EV Charging and Why It’s Important on October 5, EV 201: How Do I EV? on October 6 and EV 301: The Economics of EV Charging on October 7.