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Axios reports that fast feeder Subway is partnering with electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure startup GenZ EV Solutions "to build electric car-charging 'oases' with green spaces, bathrooms and playgrounds."

According to the announcement, "The brands envision a more seamless experience for EV drivers with the installation of Subway Oasis charging parks at select locations—charging canopies with multiple ports, picnic tables, Wi-Fi, restrooms, green space and even playgrounds. As part of a multi-year plan to rollout the Subway Oasis, smaller-format, fast EV charging stations will be piloted at select, new or newly remodeled restaurants across the U.S., starting in 2023."

Here's how Subway illustrates what it has in mind:

Subway® and GenZ EV Solutions, a leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions, are partnering on an EV Charging Oasis of the future. (PRNewsfoto/Subway Restaurants)

 "Equitable access to charging is essential to the adoption of EVs in the future, and Subway's scale will play an important role in democratizing charging infrastructure for millions of Americans," GenZ CEO Jose Valls said in a prepared statement.

The bottom line, Axios writes, is that "charging an EV takes time, and today's charging areas often lack basic amenities … Facilities like these could turn charging stops into a chance to get out, stretch your legs and let the kids run around a bit."

KC's View:

There are a lot of factors coming together here.  Last year, you may remember, we reported on how Shell was rethinking its gas station network in Europe, testing the notion of "mobility destinations" replacing tradition gas stations as people's dependence on gas-powered vehicles declines.  Here's what Shell has in mind, illustrated by a converted petrol station in London:

From Shell

We know that JD Power recently wrote that "sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States rose by two-thirds in 2022, comprising 5.8 percent of all new vehicles sold. This represents a significant increase from the 3.2 percent market share in 2021."  

Prices of EVs are coming down, as manufacturers cut prices because of increased competition - we're coming to the point where the price of an EV may be comparable to traditional gas-powered vehicles.

I suspect that what Subway is envisioning is just one piece of a puzzle that will come together quickly, as retailers of all stripes look for partnerships and alliances that will establish them as viable options for people on the road who need to get their cars charged up.

Michael Sansolo, who serves as the research director for The Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council (in addition to writing columns for MNB), has talked here about how one of the council's studies looked at Spar in Europe was asking itself a basic question:  How do we help customers fill  the time when they’re charging their cars, not filling their tanks?

That is a scenario that many retailers have to think about, figuring out what their roles are.