Electric vehicles (EVs) are quickly making their way onto our roadways, especially in major cities. It’s time for property owners to take action and become EV ready. According to auto industry analyst Pike Research cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles will reach 5.2 million units by 2017, up from just under 114,000 vehicles in 2011 with sales concentrated primarily in and around urban centers. Over the next few years, experts agree there will be a rapid acceleration in the number of EV drivers.
Based on the behavior of early adopters it’s clear EV owners seek out inexpensive and reliable ways to charge their EVs, with the two most important charging locations being home and work. In a recent survey administered by Deloitte, 81% of surveyed consumers said they would prefer to charge from home, but 61% don’t have access to home-charging capabilities, such as a garage with an electric power source. In addition, with most cars sitting at work for eight to nine hours every day, EV drivers have demonstrated they will go out of their way to seek out and pay for access to charge stations that will allow them to refuel their vehicles and recoup the electricity used during their morning commute.
Since much of the world’s urban population lives and works in some form of multi-unit building, forward-thinking property owners and managers—especially workplace and multi-family residential owners and managers—are working on becoming EV ready now to take advantage of this growth in the EV population and differentiate themselves, lock-in customers and tenants, and generate new revenue streams.
Considerations for Becoming EV Ready
Every company should be thinking about how they can take advantage of this significant uptake in EVs. Here are some things property owners and managers should consider when riding this trend to tangible business benefits:
EV Charge Stations Help Attract and Retain Top Tenants
EV owners tend to have a higher-than-average household income of $114K or more, reside in urban or suburban areas, and the majority of them are in their mid-40s. In addition, this audience is technology-savvy, politically active, environmentally sensitive—and willing to pay a premium for convenience. Like tenants every property owner wants to attract and retain, this group morally chooses to do the “right thing,” deals with financial matters in a reputable way, and clearly has the ability to pay their way. Because it is so important for an EV driver to have access to charge stations, providing this amenity not only attracts them to your building, but keeps them coming back.
Green Building Certification
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED is the most widely-recognized independent agency for standards in sustainable building. Deploying charging stations in your building is recognized by LEED and works towards positively improving energy efficiency, reducing your carbon footprint, and managing natural resources. In fact, commercial buildings over four stories tall that have one or more chargers installed qualify for up to three points under LEED for New Construction and between three to 15 points under LEED for existing building operations and maintenance
It’s Easy—5 Steps to Become EV Ready
1. Choose the Right Vendor
The first step toward becoming EV ready is to choose a suitable vendor who can help you through each step of the process. It’s important to select a vendor with a proven track record that has worked with other property owners, consulting with them on the pre-installation planning and preparation through to deployment and management. It’s important that the vendor you choose has a deep understanding of charging equipment, and has experienced challenges related to electric vehicle charge stations rollouts and management programs. You want to find an expert who will make the process easy and cost-efficient as possible.
The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, one of the city’s historic landmarks and most luxurious hotels, recently worked with EV Connect, a provider of EV charging solutions, to deploy new electric vehicle charging stations for its clean-driving guests and other travelers in the area who use the hotel’s parking facility for charging their plug-in hybrid or electric cars.
“Our charge stations have been very well-received. Patrons ask for them all the time and there’s always cars charging in the lot. It’s common to see Nissan Leafs and Teslas parked here. It’s very clear our charging stations attract regular patrons to our parking facility,” says Jerry Turner, chief engineer, Palace Hotel Garage.
2. Assess Your Site
The second step in becoming EV Ready is for your service provider to perform a site assessment. A trained, certified, and licensed EV infrastructure expert can determine the best and most cost effective options for the deployment of charge stations in your building. Multi-unit property owners and managers must address issues such as electrical service supply, ideal placement of chargers, and charging equipment selection. Your service provider should be able to provide you feedback with regard to each of these and address capital infrastructure, operations and maintenance costs, legal formalities (e.g. ADA access), local utility programs, incentives and design services related to your project.
3. Get the Right Charge Stations for your Property
EV charge stations are available in three levels of power. Level 1 charging can be used for electric cars as well as electric scooters and motorcycles, but takes the longest to charge those vehicles. Level 2 offers twice the power output of Level 1 and is most widely used for charging electric vehicles. Finally, there is Level 3, sometimes called DC fast charging, which offers the lowest charge times, but requires often cost-prohibitive equipment and infrastructure upgrades. Most properties opt for Level 2 charge stations and may opt for additions including access-control, payment and communications options.
4. Deployment by EV Experts
After a professional site assessment and equipment selection, your service provider should send locally licensed, bonded and EV-certified experts to perform your charge station deployment. Your service provider should take care of pulling a permit from your local authorizing authority to perform the installation. Deployment times vary by the complexity of the project.
Finally, once the deployment is complete, the EV expert who worked on your site should arrange for an inspector to come out to review the work. The inspection may occur over the next several days, and when it is performed, your charge stations should be ready for use. It’s worth checking, as some vendors will file manufacturer’s warranties for your charging stations and may even extend them for a significant period of time beyond the manufacturer’s warranty expires.
5. Opt for a Management System
To provide the best service to their tenants, successful property owners and managers are developing policies to address potential usage issues before they arise. Some vendors help property owners and managers implement specifically tailored management systems that include insurance, maintenance and service, in addition to providing tenants with cards and smart phone applications for reservations, so property owners do not have to manage the infrastructure and any associated issues themselves.
Discuss management options with your service provider that include capabilities, such as:
· Reservations and access control
· Status and charging time
· Usage, energy management
· Diagnostics and maintenance
Becoming EV Ready Now Makes Properties Competitive, Locks in Tenants
With so many of the country’s population living or working in a multi-unit property and electric vehicle sales expected to continue growing, safe, convenient and reliable charging access must be guaranteed by the properties where people live and work. Property owners and managers can increase their effectiveness in attracting and retaining tenants by offering this important amenity. Finding the right vendor to help can make deploying EV charge stations an easy endeavor.