AUSTIN, Texas – The parking lot industry has been hit hard during the pandemic, with office workers largely staying at home. Looking to the future, some entrepreneurs want to transform car parks into “mobility centers” with charging stations for electric vehicles and applications to reserve spaces, reports the New York Times.
At FlashParking in Austin, TX, owners see the future of parking as digital. The company, which provides hardware and software for garages, wants to help frequently idling vehicles (think ride-sharing drivers and delivery trucks) find a resting place with access to food and toilets. .
“You just have to run and deliver two packages?” Neil Golson, Flash Marketing Manager, said. âI have a seat for 15 minutes, and here is a special price. This is the evolution that we are allowing: getting people off the streets and bringing them into the field.
Of course, convenience stores and gas stations have long performed this function, without charging customers for parking when they enter the store. It’s a place to stop to refuel, recharge, cool off and take an organic break. As the energy sources that power the vehicle fleet evolve, convenience retailers are sustaining their operations to provide electric vehicle charging and other amenities demanded by drivers. Convenience stores are more than mobility centers, they are community centers.
Flash CEO Dan Sharplin describes parking as âan accidental experience. You are driving around town to do something and then you are looking for parking. But our point of view is that there will be very few accidental drivers in the future. And that these parking assets [garages] can be converted into a dynamic hub of a large network and digitally connected through consumer applications. It only works if you reach the consumer where they live today: on their phone. “
Other garages have installed hands-free door systems and mobile payments “to create a contactless experience,” Jeff Eckerling, director of growth for SP Plus, a garage management company, told The Times. âOur whole industry has been hit hard [because of the pandemic], from hotels to airports to event venues.
Some see a parking lot in Hoboken, NJ, as the future. High-tech cameras capture the license plates at the two entrances of the identification cars linked to a prepaid online account. A lower floor housed Avis rental vehicles. A large open space on the ground floor holds a few dozen stationary bikes as part of a Soul Cycle franchise pop-up. EV charging stations will soon arrive in the 1,440-space garage.
With the growing demand for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the Electric Vehicle Council of the Fuels Institute recently released its âEV Consumer Behaviorâ report, detailing the current and future behavior of electric vehicle drivers and how retailers of electric vehicles. nearby and others can use electric vehicle charging to bring customers to their doorstep. .