Image a world with no gas stations. While it seems improbable today, it’s quite possible—if automakers come through on their aggressive plans to launch electric vehicles into the market, including General Motors, which says it wants to sell nothing but EVs by 2035.
Beyond having major implications for the automotive market, the shift away from gas-fueled cars would upend the retail and advertising ecosystem built around the internal combustion engine economy. Consider all the impulse purchases of beer, soda, snacks and smokes at gas stations, and the marketing aimed at driving that revenue.
One company preparing for this gas-less future is Volta Charging, which operates a network of more than 1,700 vehicle charging stations in 23 states, with plans to grow that to 3,000-plus by the end of the year. The company’s business model includes selling ads on 55-inch digital displays on the chargers, which are located near retailers such as malls, supermarkets and even a zoo.
“In a world of electric mobility, drivers will no longer drive to fuel, but they will fuel where they drive,” says Drew Lipsher, Volta’s chief strategy officer, who discusses the ad strategy on the latest edition of Ad Age’s “Marketer’s Brief” podcast.