The rise of electric cars will lead to a “deforestation” of inner-city filling stations as drivers charge at home or work.
This is the prediction of Pat Romano, chief executive of the world’s largest charging company, Chargepoint.
He said the number of dedicated “around town” stations to recharge or refuel a vehicle will be significantly reduced once all cars on the road are electric.
“We’re not going to need as many of them because the ‘around town’ need to fill up will be much lower. We’re going to see a sort of deforestation of the current ‘around town’ gas stations.”
Motorists with off-street parking will charge at home, while work car parks will also offer charging, removing the need for the vast majority of stations dedicated to refuelling.
“It will be like having a gas station at your home,” although Mr Romano added that charging points will still be needed for long-distance travel, where electric cars journey beyond the range of their batteries.
Although electric car adoption remains small, it is expected to rise significantly as carmakers try to hit increasingly stringent emissions targets.
A slew of battery cars will come to the market in the next three years.
The future of petrol stations — even when converted to offer electric charging — is a topic of hot debate across the industry.
The number of petrol stations is already declining as cars become more fuel efficient. In the UK, the number of stations has fallen by 80 per cent since 1970, despite the combined usage of petrol and diesel rising 75 per cent.
Privately owned Chargepoint has raised investments from Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler and industrial group Siemens and is in the process of building a network of electric vehicle charging points across Europe.
Big oil companies that own petrol stations, such as Royal Dutch Shell and BP, have committed to installing electric vehicle charging points at their retail sites.
Shell will launch high-speed charging at retail sites in 10 European countries and last year bought electric charging group NewMotion, while BP last week invested $5m in FreeWire to begin offering charging at its sites.
Others see more potential for retail sites with charging to sell food and drink to consumers while they wait for their vehicles to charge, something that takes considerably longer than filling a car with petrol.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, has suggested the company may open restaurants at its network of superchargers.