Volta’s Essential Business Network

By | Volta News

Recent weeks have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, which has led many states to tighten social distancing regulations and close down businesses once again. While necessary from a health perspective, this decision puts additional strain on businesses trying to reach their target audience during a pandemic. Digital out-of-home advertising may seem like a risky investment at a time when many people are staying home, but choosing the right media partner can make all the difference. We’d like to introduce Volta’s Essential Business Network, a powerful tool to connect advertisers with consumers at essential businesses like grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies.

The Essential Business Network consists of more than 1,500 screens at Volta charging stations across the country, leading to an average of 70+ million impressions for a 4 week, national campaign. These screens are in close proximity to essential businesses, which will remain open throughout the duration of the pandemic. Returning shelter-in-place guidelines makes it difficult to track consumer patterns, but Volta screens are conveniently placed at the locations that people have to visit regularly. This placement is proven to be effective— essential businesses are gaining ground toward typical visitation numbers, with categories already back at almost 90 percent of pre-COVID volumes. With fewer choices to meet their needs and a heightened desire to remain sheltered in place, essential businesses are also experiencing equal or longer visit times from customers.  Essential businesses have maintained pre-COVID traffic levels and have increased dwell time of +25%. This is great news for both site and media partners, as research shows that visit duration is well aligned to basket performance.

The size and flexibility of the Essential Business Network is one of its reasons for its success. The network’s 1,500-plus screens achieve millions of monthly impressions at highly-trafficked locations across the country. Volta has a presence in 14 of the top 15 designated market areas (DMAs) and a total of 25 DMA’s nationwide, which means more geographically diverse opportunities for a brand to shine. As well, buying advertising space with Volta is flexible: campaigns can be customized based on budget, scale, share of voice, and more. We provide creative expertise to make sure that each partner runs a campaign perfect for their brand.

Finally, advertising with Volta’s Essential Business Network will align your brand with positive community messaging. Volta is sharing important public service announcements about COVID-19 on our stations in an attempt to reach more people, and these announcements are shown in conjunction with our brand partners. This positive imaging positions your company as an ally in the fight against COVID, and allows you to make a difference in the very community you call home. This halo effect, combined with the data-backed importance of advertising at essential businesses, makes Volta an essential partner for any brand looking to reach new audiences.

In times of uncertainty, let Volta’s Essential Business Network help your business reach new audiences. Contact media.info@voltacharging.com for more information.

A Day in the Bay Area with Polestar 2

By | Automotive

Big announcements need to reach big audiences, and Volta is helping one electric car brand do just that.

Polestar is launching Polestar 2, the company’s first all-electric car designed to appeal to a broader and more progressive audience of drivers. With consumer mobility behaviors transforming as conversion to “driving electric” occurs, Polestar and Volta will play a critical role in shaping those behaviors. Polestar 2 is designed to provide the same performance, feel and driving enjoyment of a great driver’s car with none of the previous downsides of owning an electric vehicle, including range anxiety. A common worry among electric vehicle drivers, range anxiety is simultaneously being combated by Volta’s growing network of free, conveniently-located charging stations as well as the Polestar 2’s extended range. Range anxiety may feel real, but is increasingly no longer a true risk of ownership in many parts of the country.

To build excitement around the launch of the all-electric Polestar 2, Polestar has leveraged Volta’s place-based media to showcase the introduction of their new car, clearly aligning their promotion strategy with the values of sustainability and clean energy.

As such, we are excited to announce that Polestar has opened a Brand Experience Center in downtown San Francisco. We’ve crafted the perfect day around it, utilizing Volta’s free, convenient public charging stations to view this innovative new car in its own “natural habitat” in the context of the equally beautiful, environmentally conscious Bay Area.

Start your day off in the Marina District. Perhaps you decided not to charge your Polestar 2 at home beforehand, or perhaps you don’t have a charging station at your home – imagine you  have 100+ miles left in your battery, as your total range of the Polestar 2 is in the mid 200s.

Drive 1.9 miles out to Crissy Field

    • Take a beautiful morning walk along the water, sipping on hot coffee in your reusable travel mug and enjoying gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, your car is sipping up free electrons at a Volta charger.
    • Total time: 45 minutes
    • Total range added: 20+ miles

Drive 4.4 miles to the Polestar Brand Experience Center at 281 Geary Street

    • Now, for the main event of your day: the Polestar showroom. The space will give you the opportunity to get up close and personal with the car and ask product experts any questions you have. After you’ve geeked out enough over the Polestar 2, you’re ready for lunch – and Union Square has plenty of options to choose from. Grab a sandwich at Cafe La Tazita or a salad from Cafe Bistro and enjoy a socially distant lunch outside.
    • Total time: 3 hours
    • Total range added: 90+ miles

Drive 10.4 miles to Stonestown Galleria

    • While you could use the Volta free fast-charger at the Galleria to add 100+ miles during a quick pit stop, by now your battery is almost full. Since you want to stay here longer, you plug your Polestar into one of the six Level 2 chargers that Volta offers instead.  The amenities are endless – stop by the famous Boudin Bakery for a post-lunch dessert, run some errands (Whole Foods, Bank of America, Apple, Trader Joe’s and Target are all in the vicinity) and grab an espresso at Peet’s Coffee to rejuvenate yourself.
    • Total time: 2.5 hours
    • Total range added: 60+ miles

Drive 43 miles to Blackhawk Plaza

    • Meet up with East Bay friends for a socially distant picnic from Draeger’s Market or yoga in the park.
    • Total time: 2 hours
    • Total range added: 48+ miles

To head home after an eventful day, you drive 39 miles back home to the Marina district. While you’ve driven your Polestar 2 a total of 96 miles on your fun day in the bay, charge-wise, you’re actually up a few miles from where you started. You’ve shopped and dined at all your normal, favorite spots.  You’ve enjoyed the scenery.  You’ve done so in your luxurious Polestar 2 – and all for free with Volta chargers. That is how you #DriveForward.

Case Study: National Retailer Increases Sales By Adding Charging

By | Case Study

If you got 60 miles of free gas every time you shopped at a given location, would you go there more often?

Every time one of Volta’s electric vehicle charging stations goes into the ground, it’s because a site partner recognizes the value they are adding to the business. Site partners include properties such as grocery stores, pharmacies, shopping centers, hospitals, movie theaters, and more.

Electric vehicles have entered a rapid growth stage. There are 1.5 million electric vehicle drivers in the United States today. That number is doubling every year and a half. In fact, the electric vehicle industry is growing 20 times faster than the auto industry as a whole. The numbers show a monumental shift coming to the auto industry, one that will significantly impact consumer behaviors. Potential site partners who recognize this and choose to align themselves with Volta will be positioned to win those consumers as they go electric.

How can site partnerships with Volta tangibly boost sales at their affiliated businesses? According to our data, the answer lies in increased foot traffic. One national retailer recently worked with Volta to install charging stations at six pilot locations  across the country. Volta worked with this retailer to develop a revenue estimating pilot, effectively measuring the increased spend from each customer who visited their stores and used a Volta charger.

To measure Volta’s impact, a baseline number of electric vehicle drivers visiting this retailer was determined. It was assumed that any consumers using the charging stations in the first month after installation would have visited the site anyway– only visits above baseline in future months counted as added value. The numbers were staggering. This national retailer saw their electric vehicle-driving customers increase by 74 percent after stations were installed, as measured by the increase in charging sessions. In fact, in less than two and a half years, the retailer finished 13,527 visits above baseline expectations.

At an average of $50 per visit, that means Volta stations led to an additional $676,350 in sales. That breaks down to 44 more visits each month, or $2,214 in revenue, per parking space.

Of course, Volta’s commitment to covering installation and maintenance fees is another upside to hosting a station. Since Volta sells advertising on all stations, we have a vested interest in installing and maintaining them at the highest level of service. As a result, Volta is able to contribute to capital expenditures, hardware, rent and insurance, among others. These factors brought the total value of the partnership between Volta and the national retailer mentioned above to over $1.2 million.

There are other benefits to Volta site partners, of course. Electric vehicles are an important part of building a sustainable future for our communities and for the world at large. Volta recognizes how important this is, as do sites that choose to host our stations. And site partners can support their community in other ways, including the Volta Response System, through which local governments use our stations to disseminate critical information to hard-to-reach and vulnerable community members. These factors, along with the data referenced above, are why we at Volta believe in our mission to build a better, more sustainable future.

For an analysis of how much Volta stations could benefit your property, please click here or contact charging.services@voltacharging.com to connect with our site partnership team.

Breaking the EV Bubble with Volta

By | Uncategorized

If you live in California, electric vehicles are a part of everyday life, so much so that you might forget the same isn’t true everywhere. It’s common knowledge that California leads the way for electric drivers, but statistics show that the difference is staggering. Approximately 367,000 electric vehicles were newly registered in the United States in 2018, and nearly half (49 percent) were registered in California, according to data from the Alternative Fuels Data Center. That’s 179,600 new electric vehicles registered in one year, and the numbers since then are only growing. After California, Washington ranked second, registering 19,900 electric vehicles in 2018– about 5.4 percent of the national total. Washington could have registered nine times as many electric vehicles and still wouldn’t have caught California.

This market domination occurs across the board, not just for registrations. In regard to sales, data from EVAdoption shows that 153,422 electric vehicles were sold in California in 2018; New York came in second with fewer than 16,000. Charging infrastructure is more prevalent in California as well– there are over 26,000 public charging outlets in the state. New York comes in second here as well, with fewer than five thousand public charging outlets.

That’s a lot of numbers, and they clearly show that the electric vehicle bubble in California is real. They might also make you think that the bubble is unbreakable, but it is well documented that this expansion is happening nationwide. Data from the International Energy Agency shows there were 180,000 electric vehicles on the road in 2013, compared to 1.12 million in 2018. While California is a substantial part of that growth, drivers around the country are beginning to recognize electric vehicles as a feasible alternative to gas-powered vehicles. This shift could have a positive impact on our environment, especially if other states around the country begin shifting more aggressively toward electric.

But how can we move closer to that point? One of the challenges electric drivers outside the California bubble face is a lack of options for public charging. Data from the International Energy Agency shows that while 1.6 million electric vehicle charging outlets were installed in 2018, more than 90 percent of them were for private use. Range anxiety is a common concern for potential buyers, and it’s understandable– no one wants to run out of power and end up stranded. That’s why building an expansive network of public charging stations is crucial for the growth of the electric vehicle industry, and Volta is helping to do just that.

One Volta user, Alex, tells us about how he utilizes the free, public charging service from Volta to fuel family visits. “I have family up in Sacramento, which is about 90 miles from where I live, also well within the range of my vehicle. I know of Volta charging locations up at Arden Fair, a shopping center there. So I always plan my visit around a visit to the shopping center so I can re-up on charge for the journey home.”

Volta’s charging network already spans the United States, with stations from Boston to Hawaii and many cities in between. We cover major metropolitan hubs like Chicago, our second-largest market with 176 stations. Volta also has a presence in smaller towns like Waterbury, Connecticut, allowing electric drivers to expand their travel possibilities. And we’re not done yet; Volta has plans to double our presence in Washington D.C., and our expansion into Atlanta yielded 54 active stations with more on the way. Improved public charging infrastructure is an important piece of the electric vehicle puzzle, and Volta is helping to solve it. It may take time to break the bubble and make electric vehicles a staple nationwide, but we’re already well on the way.

Blue skies of lockdown show potential for a pollution-free, electric future

By | Uncategorized

Images of clear skies and thriving ecosystems have filled social media in response to recent transportation slowdowns, an unexpected benefit of the lockdown that has impacted so many. Cities like Los Angeles or New Delhi have seen their skies clouded by pollution for many years, until recently. The clearer skies have both residents and scientists wondering what it would take to make this brief respite from pollution permanent. A switch to the renewable energy of electric vehicles has the potential to do just that.

The reduction of pollution can be demonstrated beyond just the images we have seen on Twitter or Facebook. A decrease in traffic has led to lower levels of pollution, especially in metropolitan areas. Manhattan reported a 10 percent reduction in carbon dioxide and methane emissions, as well as a dramatic 50 percent decrease in carbon monoxide. In China, NASA detected that nitrogen dioxide— a noxious gas emitted from motor vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities— decreased as much as 30 percent during their recent lockdown.

As such, the blue skies that city-dwellers are currently witnessing should be seen not as a silver lining, but as a wake-up call. Economies around the world have begun to re-open, and if everyone returns to their fuel-burning vehicles and normal routines, our skies will regress back to the gray, polluted shades of life before lockdown. There is hope for a future with bluer skies, though.

Expanding electric vehicle usage and charging networks is just one renewable solution with the potential to permanently reduce air pollution. “We have to recognize that in this crisis there is an opportunity for learning,” said California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols.

At Volta, these clear blue skies are a reminder of our mission, as well as inspiration to continue working to inspire change by providing seamless, simple and free charging experiences. To date, Volta has offset almost 30 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by powering over 67 million free electric miles. In the past week alone, our nationwide network has had the equivalent environmental impact of planting a new tree every eight minutes.

Volta has spent the last ten years building a system that will help bring about blue skies for good. Our innovative charging infrastructure provides drivers with the power they need and inspires others to join the electric vehicle revolution. As Volta continues to add more stations at more locations where people spend their time, we are ready — for the one million electric vehicles on the road today, and for the 20 million to come in the next ten years.

Driving Community Efforts to Stay Charged Up and Healthy During COVID-19

By | Uncategorized, Volta News

Now, more than ever, we remain committed to keeping our communities charged up. Our goal is not just to continue to provide free electric miles, but to do our part in flattening the curve. We’d also like to recognize the efforts of the Volta community.

To the locations able to keep their Volta charging stations active.  We thank you. 80% of our chargers are near essential services, including pharmacies, grocery stores and hospitals.

To the drivers who rely on Volta to get to and from essential duties, we truly appreciate your hard work and sacrifice. 

Here’s a bit more on how we’re addressing COVID-19:

  • We’re partnering with municipalities, health officials and first responders to broadcast Public Safety Alerts to ensure communities see critical news and updates.
  • We launched messages from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) across our nationwide network.
  • We’re increasing station monitoring and continue to quickly address any issues that might impede reliable charging.
  • Where possible, we’re working with our partners to extend chargers’ hours of operation to help those who may have been cut off from their other typical charging locations. 
  • We’re actively updating our app as quickly as possible to reflect charger accessibility changes.

If you have questions, please reach out to info@voltacharging.com. Those of us who are not in the field actively maintaining our network are working remotely and available to help. So, if you hear a dog barking or kids laughing when we call, think of this as an opportunity for us all to get to know each other a little better and a reminder that we really are all in this together.

In This Together: Leading in a Fast-Paced, Evolving Time

By | Volta News

Talking with Jon Michaels, Senior Vice President of Operations at Volta, can make you feel like you are preparing for battle. That’s because he’s been there. Jon finds many parallels between his 10 years as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot and leading his team at Volta, a fast-moving start-up headquartered in San Francisco.  

As we contend with Covid-19’s impact on our lives and businesses, Jon has turned to some key strategies learned in the air to help his team navigate these uncertain times.  His military experience has prepared him for how to pivot and problem-solve, ensuring that Volta chargers stay operational and ready for drivers.

Jon joined Volta in the fall of 2016, drawn to its mission and people. A purpose-driven company with a multifaceted team, Volta brings together people with vastly different experiences, perspectives and expertise. Different, yet unified behind a common mission to build an electric vehicle charging network that inspires change and drives the world forward. 

Early on, Jon led the company in clarifying its mission and the core values. “At Volta we are a collection of our stories . . . the stories of what we have each brought to Volta, and the stories we are building together.” Every new employee is encouraged to read through the Volta Values and bring their passions to work each day. Even though the company has quadrupled in size since this founding document was created, “We will always be smaller than our ambition.”

Jon’s department is responsible for working closely with Volta’s charging partners from coast to coast to install and maintain our stations. Besides building the nation’s most intensively used electric vehicle charging infrastructure, Volta is also a media company revolutionizing and delivering out of home advertising where people charge and spend their time. According to Jon, both of these are rapidly changing spaces, and Volta is where they come together seamlessly.

“Something new is always happening every single day at Volta, multiple times per day,” said Jon. “Having a vision for the future is about building the right team, a team that can adapt quickly to changing conditions.” And now with Volta’s shift to mostly working remotely, it’s essential to stay people-focused. Jon is spending more time than ever reaching out and supporting team members in their individual situations, helping answer their questions and provide guidance and context. In a time when we hear the terms “essential personnel” and “non-essential personnel” being used more often, it’s important to communicate that everyone is essential and to stay focused on the mission together.

It may feel like much of the country is grounded as we wait for life to go back to normal, but at Volta, we press on. Or as Jon would say, we continue to “aviate, navigate and communicate.” We remain committed to delivering essential charging infrastructure to our drivers and meaningful messages in our communities that bring us together.

From the Model T to Model 3: Shifting Perceptions in Transportation Innovation

By | Automotive

Those considering purchasing a Model T at the turn of the century had to contend with a lack of paved roads, limited availability of gas and a hefty price tag. Despite these hurdles, cars replaced horses in a surprisingly quick timeframe—about 10 to 15 years. 

Drivers considering going electric today have fewer impediments. Yet according to a recent AAA study, 91% of those considering buying an electric car say they have at least one lingering concern. Getting stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery was at the top of the list. But what are the chances of that actually happening? 

The term “range anxiety” was first used by the press in 1997 while referring to feedback from drivers of General Motors EV1 electric car. Keep in mind that the model initially provided a range of 60 miles per charge. While they overwhelmingly loved their cars, EV1 drivers became worried as they reached the limits of the car’s driving range.

Although eventually scrapped, the EV1 program helped inspire today’s proliferation of electric vehicles that have a range of up to 370 miles. Elon Musk even claimed it as the inspiration for starting Tesla. Drivers have many models to choose from in 2020, from nearly every car manufacturer, and there is a variety of charging options outside of the home.

This is where Volta comes in. For a decade now we have been building out a nationwide charging network where drivers want to spend their time. Volta gives drivers the opportunity to charge where they shop and hang out—even while they catch a movie or the big game. The expansion of infrastructure and improved battery range helps to explain the AAA study, which revealed that while drivers still had worries before purchasing an electric vehicle, they melted away once behind the wheel. Another factor is that most households drive an average of 30 to 40 miles per day, which fits well with the current state of driving electric. The survey was conducted at the end of 2019 and included 1,090 plug-in electric vehicle drivers, most were first time owners.

Other results from the AAA survey showed overall satisfaction with electric vehicle capabilities and driving experience:

  • 96% said they would buy or lease another electric vehicle the next time they were in the market for a new car.
  • 43% of electric vehicle owners said they drive more now than when they owned a gas-powered car.
  • 78% indicated that they also had a gas-powered car in the household, but reported doing most of their driving (87%) in their electric vehicle.

We are in the midst of a massive shift in transportation and in the perception of electric vehicles. Volta is at the forefront by using data-driven modeling to predict when, where and how charging needs are evolving across the country. While driving electric still involves a spirit of adventure and innovation—the leap of faith is paying off for drivers—just as it did over 100 years ago when the first adopters of the Model T set off onto streets crowded with horse-drawn carriages.

How Electric Carmakers Make Billions from Fuel-Burning Competitors

By | Automotive

Sometimes it pays to be ahead of the curve.

While electric vehicles were once burdened by range anxiety and skimpy charger infrastructure, they’ve since ridden a wave of dramatic growth and mainstream acceptance. In fact, electric vehicle carmakers are enjoying the last laugh in more ways than one.

Why are the naysayers being proved wrong in spades? It’s not just that battery power has gone from zero to hero in the public eye. Electric vehicle carmakers are enjoying an unexpected windfall thanks to their future-forward ways because U.S. and European regulators have developed laws requiring carmakers to meet CO2 standards or face fines. Subsequently, manufacturers have relied on purchasing carbon credits from other carmakers if their fuel-burning fleets don’t meet the minimums.

Electric car offerings mean some manufacturers are way ahead in the carbon dioxide game, which doesn’t reflect too kindly on more internal combustion-focused carmakers. Brands like Fiat Chrysler, for instance, contributed more than $100 million to Tesla’s bottom line in 2018 because they didn’t attract enough buyers to their electric lineup. Similarly, Tesla has racked up more than $1.7 billion in carbon credits since 2012. In 2017 alone, electric vehicle-minded Toyota and Honda snagged nearly $110 million for the battery-powered cars in their portfolio—proof that progress, despite bumpy beginnings, can go richly rewarded.

Free Electric Miles Win Customers

By | Volta News

Assumptions are easily made about electric vehicle driving when you hear squeaky-wheel anecdotes in passing. Thanks to an international survey co-authored with CleanTechnica, we now have substantial data from the community of electric vehicle drivers. Survey respondents are mostly CleanTechnica followers who have an avid interest in cleantech news, reviews and analysis. Results give a rare glimpse into the front line of the electric vehicle revolution. 

Devoted Drivers

Of the nearly 5,000 surveyed in North America alone, 84% currently own an electric vehicle and 4.4% are looking to purchase one soon. Environmental benefits (76%), low maintenance (64%) and financial savings (56%) are the three primary reasons for purchasing. Fifty-six percent bought their electric vehicle as a replacement to an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle and 86% drive their electric vehicle “almost every day.” Drivers surveyed aren’t looking back. 82% reported they are loyal and will choose an electric vehicle again. 

Confidence to Drive Farther

Electric vehicle drivers are tech-savvy and proactive about charging their vehicles to avoid range anxiety—68% report using an app to find charging stations and 61% say stations are easy to find. Discovering convenient charging locations is also habit-forming with 43% visiting the same places again and again. Accessibility and reliability don’t seem to be a major concern when it comes to finding charging on the road. In fact, a surprising 15% of respondents have no charging at home, so they are free-range electric vehicle drivers thanks to an ever-growing charging infrastructure. Almost 80% reported that the stations they use are usually or always open and 88% said they are functioning properly most of the time. 

Free Miles Fuel Customer Loyalty

The majority of respondents believe electric vehicle charging should be a free amenity. To access free charging, 81% are willing to check-in using a mobile app, and 68% are willing to provide basic personal info including name, demographic and general location. Brick-and-mortar sites offering electric vehicle charging as a free amenity will find it impactful to their bottom line:

  • 77% stated they are willing to try out a new shopping center that provides free charging, while 38% state they would visit more often and buy more.
  • 66% said they would visit more often and 48% would likely shop longer if free electric vehicle charging was available.
  • Less than 2% state they would sit in their car while charging
Win-Win Revolution

Survey results confirm that most early adopters are confident in their decision to go electric and find it fits seamlessly into their lives. Free charging is an amenity that is valued by electric vehicle owners, driving traffic to retailers and lifting sales. The data is overwhelmingly clear that the electric vehicle movement benefits forward-thinking drivers and businesses alike.

Learn more about adding charging to venues.