Electric vehicle chargers are a perfect place for tourism wayfinding signs.
EV charging stations are popping up in lots of rural places, especially along interstate highways and along the coasts in the US. They’ve become relatively common at some motels as well.
Chargers are also popping up globally in rural places. Deb Brown reported seeing electric vehicle chargers in rural Portugal in Dec 2022.
This EV charging station is near an interstate highway in Flagler, rural East Central Colorado. Seems kinda boring.
How visitors use electric vehicle charging stations
Most drivers are stopping at chargers for a boost, rather than driving until the battery is empty and charging it to 100%. As Canary Media reported, “EV charging tends to come in sips, rather than gulps.”
How long does EV charging take? Quick chargers take 15 to 30 minutes to deliver this kind of sip.
Imagine people pulling off the highway and into your small town, then standing around or sitting in their cars for 15 to 30 minutes. What could you do to turn them into visitors?
Idea 1. Post wayfinding signs
If you already have way-finding signs for your community, look for EV charging stations to post them at.
Limon, Colorado, has the full wayfinding sign package: directional arrows to all the amenities, plus a map of the town mounted on the post.
Idea 2. Include signs to businesses
What local businesses might a traveler visit? Any kind! Of course retail, convenience, grocery stores and restaurants. But while you’ve got the chance, why not go all out and share a huge business directory sign?
This wayfinding sign is not far from the EV charging station shown at the top of this article. It’s in Flagler, Colorado, and includes an easily-updateable list of businesses and a pointer to the business district.
Idea 3. Feature your local culture
When you pull into Concrete, Washington, from the highway, you come to a stop at the main intersection facing this wayfinding sign with a list of businesses and direction arrows. The chainsaw art border reflects their local mountain culture and history.
Idea 4. Show them a map
This wayfinding map of the town of Lumby, British Columbia, Canada, includes an inset map of the town park. The design is printed on metal and mounted on the building. When it fades, it will be easy to replace.
Idea 5. If signs aren’t allowed, paint a map mural nearby
If wayfinding signs aren’t allowed, how about an artistic map mural? Here Concrete, Washington, lays claim on being the Center of the Known Universe. This mural led me to discover the historic concrete bridge at the edge of town which was well worth a visit for an infrastructure nerd.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.