In a Rotten Robbie gas station in San Jose, California, management is conducting an experiment: they installed two EV charging stations on-site, so they can be a spot where people can fuel and charge up, as per CBS.
However, the results have not been that hopeful, said Robinson Oil and Rotten Robbie Gas Stations CEO Erin Graziosi.
“We average about one-and-a-half EV customers per day between the four charging points,” Graziosi said. “We make little to no money. I mean, it cost more to put in than we make on any revenue coming out of it.”
EV chargers introduced at Rotten Robbie gas stations
Despite the lack of profitability and minimal use, Graziosi decides to charge forward and put more EV chargers at other Rotten Robbie gas stations. Few of the money is coming from the CALeVIP program.
“We do have a site on Saratoga and Williams that we’re going to be installing one in, hopefully if we get the permit,” says Graziosi.
“We also are building a site in Brentwood that we will put two in. So, any of the new builds will have them – the cities want them.”
CEO Erin Graziosi, who’s been in the oil business for over 20 years, is trying to see how gas stations might fit into an EV future, which is where California is heading to. The state plans to stop new gasoline-powered vehicle sales by 2035.
“The fact that we’re in kind of EV’s backyard. The Bay Area is so strong in it. It’s like, we’re going this way no matter what,” added Graziosi. “Why not see if it’s worth it for us? If it’s not, we’ll stop doing it.”
Many things may change over the next 13 years. However, at this point, she doesn’t think gas stations will necessarily switch to EV charging stations.
“I mean, I don’t see the fuel fleet turning over immediately at 2035. I mean, it’ll take 10-15 years to really see a significant impact there,” she said.
“I don’t see the future of EV charging being at a charging station necessarily. I think people are going to want to charge where they can go run an errand, where they can go get a cup of coffee and sit down, or go to a restaurant.”
Molly Matheson currently owns an electric vehicle and says if she’s not charging at home, she prefers to charge in a place where she can be productive, as it takes longer time to charge than fill up.
“It’s the speed, a lot of it has to do with the speed,” Matheson said. “You can run errands – they’re in pretty good locations at malls.”
She added the speed of the charge helps tell where people could charge, and some chargers do not charge rapidly.
“The other chargers, the EV chargers need to be more kilowatts because they charge faster,” explained Matheson. “This one right here is a 250 kW and it charges very fast.”
Graziosi says it takes about 5-6 minutes for a person to gas up, while it takes over 30 minutes to charge up.
“As a business owner, we’ll figure it out,” she said.
EVs as a part of adapting to climate change
She said it would take time to think of the best way ahead but believes EVs are a part of the puzzle in climate change adaptation.
“My concern is it’s going to diminish the focus on innovation in other places,” Graziosi said. “There are really clean fuels being created. Renewable diesel is super clean. We have the infrastructure. My concern is we’re just switching to something else and putting all our eggs in one basket.”