When leaving home to go shopping or popping in for bread and milk on your way home from work, what drives your choice of the store? Is it that it is on your way? Does it have ample parking? Does it stay open late or open early in the morning?  Many factors drive our retail choices, but as the sale of electric vehicles increases, the big factor of charging comes into play.

As electric cars become more popular, the ability to quickly charge them becomes an important factor. In 2020 global sales of EVs rose by 43% to 3.2 million vehicles compared with 2.26 million in 2019 despite overall car sales dropping by a 5th during the coronavirus pandemic.  In Europe, sales of electric cars more than doubled in 2020.  So looking at these statistics, it makes sense that retailers need to consider the needs of EV drivers. The decision about where to shop for EV drivers will depend on which stores offer charging facilities. It is predicted that 35% of new car sales will be electric by 2040, so it would be in a store’s best interest to accommodate these new-age drivers. Considering most EV owners are in a higher income bracket, they are valuable consumers for retailers to hold on to.


EV Incentives for Retail Shoppers

Most people drive to stores to do their shopping, especially if they plan to do a ‘big shop’ such as monthly groceries. So many people drive, in fact, that market researchers use the number of cars parked outside to estimate and predict shopping trends. So it is a case of killing two birds with one stone if you can charge your car while you’re shopping. With more EV sales, more people will be looking for stores that offer charging and will choose stores accordingly. Retailers have found that the more time shoppers spend in the shop, the more money they spend.  So shoppers are more likely to spend more money in a store that offers EV charging as they will spend more time in-store while waiting for their vehicle to charge.

EV Charging Stations

Having an EV charging point can actually drive new customers to your store and put your store on the map. EV drivers use ChargePoint’s mobile app or ChargeHub to locate a place where they can charge their vehicle when needed. If the place on the app happens to be a retail store, drivers will choose this retail store to shop over others nearby to shop and charge at the same time.  

Everybody loves a freebie. EV customers can also be encouraged to return to a particular retail store by offering rewards and incentives in the form of loyalty programs. Free charging is an obvious incentive, but some retailers have offered free hotel stays and wine tastings to loyal customers who earn enough points.

Each retailer needs to look at what kind of service they offer and install the correct charge points accordingly. Retailers who sell quick shop items such as groceries or medicines should make sure they have DC fast charging, while places that offer longer stay services such as restaurants or movie theatres should ensure they have Level 1 or Level 2 charging, which needs more time. Places that offer quick shopping and longer stay services should ensure they offer fast and slow charging variances.  


Costco Auto Program and EV Selection

Costco is one retailer that has come to the party for electric vehicles. Not only do they offer charging points to customers, but they are also providing electric vehicles in their Costco Auto Program. Although Costco is not actually selling the vehicles, they have prearranged fair prices with approved dealers and thus have removed the haggle and hassle from your car buying experience. From now until 2 August, members can save $1000 on a 2022 Bolt EV and EUV, $3000 on a 2020/2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV, and $2000 on a Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric. The Costco incentive on the Volvo is the first other than loyalty incentives.  Costco has done its homework and found the best deals on many electric cars.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is a luxury SUV that seats five and moves from 0 to 60mph in a quick 4.3 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 112 mph.  It has an MSRP of $55,300, but Costco members can have it for just $46,000. They need to have a tax bill high enough to take maximum advantage of the federal EV tax credit.

The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt is much cheaper than its predecessor. MSRP for the 259-mile 2022 Bolt EV is only $31,995, and the slightly bigger 247mile Bolt EUV is only $33,395. The Chevrolet Bolt is GM’s first long-range all-electric vehicle. It is a compact utility vehicle with 238 miles of range.  


Buying an EV at Costco

Remember to read the fine print before jumping into buying an EV through Costco. There are conditions such as you:

  • need to have been a Costco member since 1st March 2021.
  • need to register online with the Costco Auto Program.
  • must present your certificate’s unique code to the car dealer.

If you are not already a Costco member and you’d like to buy a car through Costco, you can sign up now for, $60 annual membership fee and catch the next incentive. Costco has run special auto incentives for years. Since January 2020, Chevrolet’s Bolt EV and Audi’s e-Tron have been included three times in special offers, and Volvo has participated twice.  There are sure to be more in the future.  So other than these small conditions, buying an electric vehicle at Costco is easy sailing, or should we say easy driving.