Will electric vehicles prove a bane or a boon for c-stores and energy drinks?
As electric cars have grown in technical sophistication and popularity, some ask if the convenience store segment — which depends on regular gas fill-ups — will be a casualty of a coming wave of electric transportation. A new study indicates that, not just retailers, but the beverage brands that depend on them for sales, might have something to worry about in the long term.
Beverages sold at c-stores tend to be impulse buys picked up by gas customers. According to a Morgan Stanley study reported on in The Washington Post, that could mean the segment taking a big hit if electric vehicles render gas stations a thing of the past. Perhaps most at risk from the shift would be Monster Beverages. The company makes 63 percent of its sales in the U.S. at gas stations and convenience stores.
However, some of the very CPG segments most threatened are expecting big benefits from electric vehicles on the other side of the supply chain.
A large number of the companies that have put in pre-orders for Tesla’s electric semi-trucks are food and beverage manufacturers and retailers, according to Popular Mechanics. Since the November unveiling of the prototype, Loblaw, PepsiCo, SysCo and Anheuser-Busch have all ordered dozens or more of the vehicles. Industry experts say the vehicles are perfect for the type of short-haul trucking that gets food and beverages from distribution plants to regional distributors. Tesla estimate that by using 40 electric semi-trucks, Anheuser-Busch could save $8 million on fuel a year. (The company spends about $120 million on fuel per year total.)
When Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the specs of the new semi last year, Electrek reported that its features were “mind-blowing,” with an unprecedentedly-low drag coefficient and battery packs that promise up to a 500-mile range on a single charge.
While the Post article approximates any threat to c-stores from electric cars as being decades off, reports last year estimated that a quarter of all vehicles sales by 2025 will be electric.
- How the arrival of electric cars could hurt the beverage industry – The Washington Post
- You Know Who’s Really Excited About the Tesla Electric Truck? Budweiser. – Popular Mechanics
- Tesla Semi met and then crushed almost all of our expectations – Electrek
- What will more electric cars mean for convenience stores? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will the coming wave of electric cars and trucks mean for convenience stores and consumer brands? Should CPGs rethink their long-term channel strategies based on a shift away from fossil fuels?