Iceland’s Service Station of the Future

November 18, 2023

In much of the world, it can be a pain to charge your electric vehicle (EV) on the go due to charger availability. Charging at home makes it easy, but urban EV owners might not have the convenience of a dedicated overnight charger. For years, I’ve been debating with friends about why the situation is so bad, and why companies aren’t stepping up more, especially in America.

In the U.S., chargers are often out of service or vandalized. Networks struggle to keep up with repairs, and customers stuffer with long lines or deciding to not buy an EV in the first place.

There are other important factors - like safety - involved. Not only is filling a tank with petrol a comparatively quick operation, but you can usually do it in a well-lit facility. If you’re especially vulnerable or concerned, it’s often possible to find a station that is staffed by a human, for an extra measure of safety.

As EVs continue to gain market share, many of us have conversations about why U.S. petroleum stations don’t turn charging into an opportunity. Instead of dark, dangerous, often-broken EV charging centers, why not brightly-lit, welcoming, functional and fun places to spend time? Today’s gas stations don’t cut it, with dirty bathrooms and junk food.

Today I might have lived the dream: Here in Iceland, many new EV, ICE, and human combined fueling stations are appearing. First, you get a great experience whether you are filling with electricity or petrol: every station works!

Note how well-list it is, and how familiar it feels to pull up to an EV charger versus a petrol charger (they’re in the same lane; that’s how I discovered this was an EV charging center. I pulled right past the petrol pump and into an EV space).

Charging takes time, though. Most of us need about 40 minutes. What you want at times like this is some good food or coffee, and a safe/warm place to read, watch the news, or catch up on a bit of work.

Instead of aisles of junk food and sodas, this station houses a bakery serving up fresh breakfast and lunch.


American companies could jointly market this, with video streaming services included with your visit. Amazon and their vast Kindle marketplace would be a great participant. In fact, most of the rednecks who park their ICE vehicles to block EV chargers would benefit from some reading time of books with facts.

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