EV Revolution Must Be Here, Because Oil Companies Are Reacting

Discussion in 'General' started by interestedinEV, Sep 30, 2019.

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  1. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    EV Revolution Must Be Here, Because Oil Companies Are Reacting


    Again one of these dramatic articles, but the fact is oil companies are now realizing that there is a market for lubricants and chemicals specific to the EV market
    There is however a very interesting comment at the end.
    • One way you can tell EVs are growing in popularity: ExxonMobil and Valvoline have developed products just for them.
    • ExxonMobil has a new lineup called Mobil EV Therm and EV Drive, while Valvoline is selling EV Drive System lubricants.
    • Porsche's Formula E racing team will use the new fluids in the 2019–2020 season, representing ExxonMobil's first foray into EV racing

    Mobil EV Cool Drive fluids, for example, are designed for EV reduction gearboxes that have integrated electric motors. The fluids are "designed to lubricate gears and bearings while providing the necessary cooling for electric motors and power electronics." Mobil EV Drive lubricants are meant to extend the life of EV reduction gearboxes. Exactly how they differ from fluids designed for internal-combustion engines was not immediately clear.

    What's more interesting, perhaps, is that ExxonMobil is providing these fluids to Porsche for its nascent Formula E racing effort in the 2019–2020 season.
    The problems that these traditional automotive companies are trying to solve with these next-generation fluids are part of the overall shift the world is making. Back 100 years ago, EVs and gasoline engines were both available, until ICEs won out and the world spent a century developing and improving liquid fuel powerplants. It's now time for EVs to get the same treatment.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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  3. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Well said!
  4. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Here is the crux of the matter. Is it an exclusive product developed with EVs in mind or is it a marketing a gimmick? Did they just take a product they already have and put it in a new container with a new label, so that it can appear to be something different? Lubricants for gear boxes have been there for years. Integrated gear motors have also been around for a long time, so there should have been products for those products. So the question that I am still fuzzy about is "Did ExxonMobil and Valvoline develop products specifically for EV or merely re-badged an existing product with a new brand name, to make it appear different?". Does it matter? In my opinion it does. If they are spending R & D dollars, it is great; if they are mainly spending marketing dollars, then there is really nothing to it.
  5. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    You certainly have a point, but I'm just happy they've shown there is a real market for EV products, even if it's just a new label and what's inside is the exact same old thing. IMHO it's validation even if it's just a change in packaging.

  6. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    In the UK, they are installing quick chargers in gas stations. If this happens here in the US, that would be great.
    David Green likes this.
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  8. Francois

    Francois Active Member

    I hear that in Europe, the McDonald restaurants are installing charging stations. It is retaliation against gas stations that also offer food. :)

    It would be great if they start to do this in North America
    David Green likes this.
  9. David Green

    David Green Well-Known Member

    If I owned a gas stations I would be putting in fast chargers for sure... I would charge a lot to use them though, as I am a business man, happy to rescue somebody low on electrons, but it is a business and I intend to make money at whatever I do.
    Francois likes this.
  10. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    There is another thread in this forum which talks about a gas station owner in NJ who became the first to convert to all electric place. All our enthusiasm and idealism aside, this is going to be an acid test if someone can make money out of it today.


    It is a question of supply and demand, my friend. In addition for EVs, it is a question of time.

    Let us begin with demand. Who is going to be your customer. In a regular gas station, it could be any one passing or living in that area. In a EV, given the low numbers of them at this stage, and the fact that you could charge overnight at home, changes the dynamics. If there are lot of electric cabs or business users, they may want to charge for longer to keep going through the day. If it is more personal users, they may want to try and optimize on home charging, especially if there is a cost differential.

    If I am low and gas and go to the nearest gas station and and that station is say 10 -c- costlier than another one I know (say Costco), which is further away. I might just decide to fill up at the costlier gas station as the hassle of filling just enough to get me though the day, till I can go to Costco, may not be worth it. In EVs, if you are very costly, I might just charge up enough to get me home and I can charge at night.

    Further, there is a time element. In a gas station, (going back to my industrial engineering roots), I have to get the car in position, pay for the gas and then start the filling up process (the setup time). The difference in time between filling up half the tank and the full tank maybe 1-3 minutes as set up time is the same for both. Hence there is a greater incentive to fill up the tank, even if price is higher. In EV, the time between 40% charge and 80% charge could be say, 15 to 40 minutes (again highly variable depending on charger and car). So if you rates are very high, I may get the minimum charge I need, till I can charge again later. If they are not that high, I might charge more than the minimum.

    So pricing for EV charging is more complex due to supply and demand issues. Yes you need to charge enough to maximize your profit, but you may not be able to charge a lot, as that might actually drive down revenue (less usage). It is a balancing game.
    NeilBlanchard likes this.
  11. David Green

    David Green Well-Known Member

    You have some interesting observations, but since I grew up running a convenience store, I’m afraid I might know a little bit more about this business than you do. Back in the days I was a teenager, we were selling gas for $.99 a gallon, and making a gross profit between one and three cents a gallon. Gas prices in the area were very competitive, and the other stores were always trying to sell as cheap as possible. Now you may ask why we sold our gas so cheap? Well, everything else in the store had a 35% margin, and we used gas to bring people in the door because the average person would grab a candy bar, a gallon of milk, or a 12 pack of beer while they were getting gas. As we added products to the store, we just increased our take from each customer that came through the door. I would look at EV chargers exactly the same way, I only want people to stop and charge for a few minutes to get what they need, come in the store and get the gallon of milk, and a 12 pack of beer, and then move on down the road and let the next person get to my charger . The whole idea of a gas station/convenience store, is to be convenient, people are not going to get all of their supplies/food there. This is exactly what Costco does with their gas nowadays, they use their inexpensive gas to attract customers to the store where they make a higher margin on the products inside . I would never consider EV charging to attract customers, because that means you’re giving it away too cheap, it’s better to be a convenient stop for somebody just needs a few miles of range and stays for a few minutes and then you make money on their gallon of milk and 12 pack of beer . I do not want the people to stay and plug up my charger, because it fills my parking lot and other people that want a 12 pack of beer or gallon of milk cannot find a place to park . Think about this for a few minutes , And note that Costco has not put any chargers in, do you wonder why? Costco does not want to offer charging because they don’t want their parking lot full of cars that sit there for hours at a time . Most of the Costco’s in my area are super busy, and if you go on the weekend it’s hard to find a parking spot, imagine if you had a bunch of EV’s taking up spots for long periods of time .

    We also made the mistake of putting in a high-volume diesel pump in our convenience store, and sold the diesel also at a very low margin. We started getting a lot of independent truckers stopping for fuel, which plugged up our parking lot, which we easily fixed by lowering the volume of the pump there by slowing down their fueling, and the independent truckers went away.

    I think convenience stores should put in one or 2 DC fast chargers in each location, and set the price a bit high, and have the price go skyward after 10 minutes of charging, to encourage people to leave ... they can only buy a candy bar, gallon of milk, or 12 pack of beer for so long. People driving a EV, but need a little bit of extra range, do not really care what it cost to get the range they need, And if they can make a stop, and pick up their milk or beer, you get the point?
    Re-Volted likes this.
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  13. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    I have a lot more experience in this area then give me credit for. One of my clients was a major a gas station/convenience chain, where we actually looked at costs and margins and developed a digitization solution for them. My company had a marketing and data analytics platform and so when the customer came there, digital coupons would be automatically sent to him/her , based on previous buying patterns, profitability of products and what the store wanted to move at that time. We had to sit with the customer and understand their productivity metrics and how exactly they priced their products and what they could do to improve margins. It is very successful. We developed profiles of the buyers and our customer (the chain) had great data on how purchases were correlated. I do not want to go into too many details, but all the stuff you talk about ( grab a candy bar, a gallon of milk, or a 12 pack of beer while they were getting gas) was analyzed in great depth. We worked for months with their marketing and sales people to actually develop this app. Sales per square foot of shelf space was very important to them. So when I answered your post, I was very well aware of what you are talking about and more.

    I agree with you now. What you are talking about in Marketing terms is a loss leader. Gas may not be a real loss, but the real margins are on the over priced milk and candy. So you want to price the EV charger a little higher than market but not enough to frighten them away. In the store you offer high priced lattes and milk shakes so that if a person spends 20 minutes, they are spending money on higher margin items.

    However, your previous statement, which is different from the current statement, was

    and based on my experience " a lot" in that statement may be counter productive. This is the balancing game, how much can you charge them without decreasing overall revenue. The question is economies of scope, not scale. The question is how much do you earn in the convenience store per square feet of shelf space? What else can you do to improve sales like offering free wifi, digital coupons? So if a person has to stay 20 minutes in your store, as opposed to two minutes, how do you make that experience meaningful? What is you can make them stay 25 minutes instead of 20 by pricing pricing the charging a little lower? What should be different from a guy who wants to come in and grab a carton of toilet paper, as opposed to someone who has 20 minutes to wait? Do you need to change store formats as you have people who have to wait? Believe me that there is so much of research that goes into this and the big chains have a bunch staff who do nothing but this.

    My concern is that the small guy who does this may not have much capability to be so thorough and they may end up by wrong pricing.
  14. ukemike

    ukemike New Member

    Yup. Reactions like funding news and financial commentary that makes Tesla look bad, buying huge amounts of Tesla shorts to drive the stock price down, spreading lies about climate change and spending fortunes to prevent legislation that might help, showing up in mass at climate change meetings and proposing phony solutions like energy intensive CO2 capture systems so they can use the captured CO2 to pressurize oil wells to extract more oil. In the late 90s they bought the rights to nickel metal hydride batteries, which could have been the first useful EV car battery, then licensed it only for small batteries like in laptops. In the 60s and 70s they were developing and patenting EV and solar designs then sitting on the patents which drastically slowed development.

    Yeah the oil companies are reacting and have been for decades.
  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    See, that's the problem. Standard convenience stores are designed to attract the customer that stays 5-10 minutes. Once you get to a 15+ minute wait, he's gonna want a place to sit down. That's why combo convenience stores / restaurants, like the Sheetz store chain, have installed Tesla Superchargers, but standard convenience stores have not.

    Who wants to hang around a standard convenience store, where there's no place to sit down, for 20 minutes? It's just not a good fit to the market.

    Now, once the average fast charging session gets down to maybe 12 minutes or less, then the match between EV fast charging and standard convenience stores will start to be a good match again. But it's probably gonna take EV tech several years to reduce the average fast-charging time that much.

    All just opinions from an outside observer (yours truly) who has never run a business.

  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Bathroom solves many charging problems. This last trip, I could not find either coffee or a open stall at "Firehouse Subs." So I ended the charging session and three miles down the road pulled into a McDonalds for a biology break and senior-coffee (aka., free.)

    Bob Wilson
  17. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Many McDonald's locations in Sweden have two EV fast chargers installed. Reportedly, McDonald's in the Netherlands will soon follow.

    From InsideEVs news: "McCharge? Yes, McDonald's Wants To Charge Your EV"

    I very much hope this is something that spreads to McDonald's, and other fast food chains, worldwide!

  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I would prefer Waffle House, Denny's, Pilot (truck stop), or any 24/7 fast food with bathrooms.

    Bob Wilson
  19. David Green

    David Green Well-Known Member

    I see, sounds like you have good experience, and in national level, but what I am talking about is a local level mom and pop kind of configuration where decisions are made for one area, and one demographic. The big chain's ofter do not tailor their offering much to each location, and so they are not fully optimized to take full advantage of the local demographic. Mom and pop shops are often better tailored to the local people.
  20. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    What you are saying used to be true, not as much today. With Data Analytics, that is changing. When you develop profiles of your customers, you are able to localize to the demographics and patterns of the stores. In out analysis, we did find such patterns and the whole idea was to exploit the pattern. In some cases the marketing people could not explain it right away and then went back and did research to find out what the causality was. And they used to make changes at the store level. And Store managers have now more leeway to order items or makes changes based on demographics. You go to two different Costco's in the same area and you find a slightly different product mixes. A Costco few miles away from us has a good amount of Hispanic oriented products, our local Costco does not carry those products. This is happening even in small convenience stores.

    In fact our work, we helped the client in improving pricing at the local level. For example, you app might offer you a coupon for donuts in one store, but not in a store five miles away. It could be for variety of reasons, which are store specific. A lot of the mom and pops who are franchises have access to the pricing data from the chain. So, the old days where only the mom and pop decided the pricing is going away. Even these stores now depend upon data analytics from the regional or state level. The franchisor makes money on total sales and hence they want to maximize the revenue from each store by making sure they squeeze the most out of every store. What you say may be true for the pure independent, and there are still many of them, but they are being squeezed out by the chains.

    Hence going back to the original point, you need to be careful how much charge for EVs charging (pun intended). This conversation began with you saying "you would charge a lot". All I am saying is that you have to look at it holistically and you may not charge a lot, if you can make profits somewhere else in the store. There are too many variables.
  21. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Exactly. These are the some questions that came up. While we working with our client, the marketing people were talking in terms of customer experience. I never saw going to a store as an experience, but it is the way those people are thinking about that. There are plans to re-configure the stores. For example some of the ideas I heard included, Free Wi-fi access, places to sit down and eat, TV monitors that you can watch a game or a local show, a place where you can mail stuff or receive stuff. Now again these are ideas, I have not seen it being implemented yet.

    So you have to tackle the problem both ways, first reduce charging times and second, try and make changes to the store to the extent possible. There are limitations to both today but they will be solved over a period of time.
  22. David Green

    David Green Well-Known Member

    Back to what I said, the bigger chains (circle K, Arco AMPM, 7 Eleven USA) do not adjust their product offerings much in each locations, sure they have some specialization, but a real mom and pop store like the one my parents owned when we were growing up they had the freedom to carry any product, I remember we sold hay and grain for animals, we even sold pre fab steel buildings, and gas pumps, carpet, furniture, and were constantly trying to maximize our offerings for our local clientele. (My Parents sold and retired many years ago, but the new owners now sell Marijuana also)

    Actually 7 Eleven overseas does a much better job, in Taiwan for example the 7 Eleven carries delicious street food, and is famous for certain dishes, like Thousand Year old Egg.

    As for my thoughts on charging, I would so something like 50KW chargers and charge 50 cents a minute for the first 10 minutes, and then raise it to $1 a minute, this would encourage people to leave... and 50 cents a minute judging by the EA stations in the area which are staying pretty busy and charging more. Actually I see more people at the local (suburb) EA stops, than I do at the Highway EA stops (away from the cities) The Lynnwood WA, and Renton WA EA stations have cars charging at them all the time. where the highway stations are often empty, or have 1-2 cars
  23. Have done a few trips and always try to pick a spot where you can pee, eat or nice place to relax/rest. Where I live, Horseshoe Bay, Squamish, Whistler, Hope, Manning Park are perfect locations, with free fast chargers.

    A convenience store is not the best, IMO, as it is just an in/out place, maybe to pick up a snack, but not worth stopping for 30 min.

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