By Brandon Jacobs
Major momentum is pushing the electric vehicle (EV) industry forward. Expanding the country’s EV network is a core component of the Biden Administration’s infrastructure plan and national climate agenda. Similarly, OEMs have invested more than $300 billion in transitioning to electric.
New York City is taking on a path of its own, having recently made legislative moves to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles after 2035. In addition, the City plans to install close to 50,000 public EV chargers by 2030, a major infrastructure expansion for the city as it looks to drastically cut transportation-related emissions and combat climate change.
These initiatives are no easy feat. In a city with nearly two million cars, how can The Big Apple turn all electric? As the real estate capital of the world, this industry will play a major role and the transition to electric will become a great well of opportunity for developers who embrace this future. Here’s how.
Utilize Untapped Real Estate: Parking Garages
First and foremost, the use of parking garages to host EV charging stations will be critical to the adoption of electric vehicles in New York City. While DC fast charging, often referred to as “superchargers”, which allows cars to charge in less than 45 minutes, tends to generate a lot of attention, mass adoption of EVs will actually rely on its slower, but the more efficient counterpart, Level 2 chargers, which can provide up to 65 miles per hour of charging. This is because the average American only drives about 40 miles per day, and even less in New York City due to its walkability. Instead, for the majority of the day, our cars are not in use and sit idle, providing ample opportunity to charge EVs in a manner that is both economical, efficient, and reliable for drivers.
This is where parking garages come in. Due to their very nature of storing cars for extended periods of time, such as overnight for residential tenants or throughout the day for commuters, parking garages become an optimal charging location for New Yorkers and developers alike. With more than 1,000 parking garages in Manhattan alone, paired with the continued rise in new multi-family, commercial and mix-used developments across the city, these properties are prime real estate for EV charging and will be an important component in any city-wide EV charging deployment strategy.
Build Energy Resilience
As more EVs come online, new developments will need to plan for increased power usage. The earlier developers account for this uptick in power, the cheaper it will be to accommodate within a project. This means real estate developers must account for EV charging infrastructure during the initial design of a building’s energy infrastructure. Making sure the electrical engineers and architects are aware of this from early on will be crucial, and those who do this will have a head start on their competition
For instance, in addition to the usual accounting of energy for typical aspects of a building, like washing machines and lighting, property managers will also need to make sure they consider the energy consumption of EV chargers. Understanding that EV chargers’ energy use is similar to that of a typical elevator system will help property owners prepare for the demand of EVs and bring in enough power to support charging infrastructure.
Real Estate Has a Lot to Gain
It is important to note that while today EV charging is a nice-to-have, by 2035 it will be non-negotiable. For instance, today, including EV charging stations in a property creates an attractive amenity for the growing number of consumers who are increasingly environmentally conscious. In the near future as EV ownership increases, however, prospective tenants will limit their search to buildings that have EV charging infrastructure. Any delays in incorporating EV infrastructure in a property will inherently put real estate owners at a disadvantage. Those who embrace the growth of EVs, however, will greatly expand their potential clientele.
In addition to significantly growing their client base, the deployment of EV charging infrastructure across real estate properties is also a revenue-generating amenity in and of itself. Installing EV chargers in a property automatically creates a new stream of income as developers can monetize the revenue from ongoing use of the chargers. As a result, EV charging infrastructure not only financially rewards developers, but also plays an integral role in accelerating a technology that improves the sustainability of communities and is crucial to the future of the climate.
It is an exciting time for EVs and New York City. As cities across the country look to implement their own electrification and climate strategies, New York – and the role that the real estate industry will play in accelerating these goals – can serve as a benchmark and model.
Brandon Jacobs is the regional vice president, Northeast, of Blink Charging