As our society adopts to Electric Vehicles (EV), the overriding issue is “how will the EV be refueled?” Most studies say that the one prohibiting factor in the movement toward EV acceptance is the lack of convenient places to refuel the vehicle. It is not a coincidence that history is repeating itself. When the gas automobile was coming of age, the overriding issue was how to refuel. Today, there are gas stations on every corner providing the infrastructure for gas powered vehicles.
The movement towards EVs is a certain. Nearly every major automobile manufacturer is designing EV’s. In addition, there are dozens or new car manufactures rushing their offerings to market. In fact, there are over 100 new EV’s scheduled to be offered by 2025, only 4 years from now. Also, major automobile manufacturers, such as General Motors, has said that by 2035, they will only manufacture EV’s. To me, the only question is one of timing. Whether it’s 2035 or 2037 is really not relevant, it is going to happen!
So, with this knowledge, how will EV’s be refueled. Currently, 80% of the EV owners refuel at their home. To date, most EV buyers have been affluent and own their homes. However, as more and more EV’s come to market, they will become affordable to the masses. Hence, apartment residents will be buying EV’s and need a place to refuel their vehicle. With virtually none of the existing apartment inventory around the USA having an EV charging station, is this a problem for the EV owner or an opportunity for the owner of the apartment property?
Solving problems is an opportunity. As more and more people switch to owning an EV, the problem exasperates. In less than 15 years, it could be that over 75% of the vehicles sold will be electric. If that’s the case, where will they refuel? If the standard of 80% of the EV drivers will refuel at home holds true, then the problem comes clearly into focus. Apartment owners will have to accommodate EV owners so that they can refuel at their apartment home.
The challenge is where to start. If one looks at today’s demand, it can be determined that it is costly to establish a charging station in most States, based on the revenue it generates and looking at historical demand. However, looking forward things will be different and certainly, it does
not make economic sense to plan for demand 15 years from today, as it is cost prohibitive. Owners of existing apartments will have to carefully plan to be able to adjust to meet their resident’s needs. Outside of a few States (i.e. California), most apartment owners and builders that host EV Charging Stations are doing it as an amenity to tenants. However, as EV adoption increases over time, establishing EV charging stations will become a necessity.
Looking forward, it is not unreasonable to expect that in 10 years, 20% of the apartment residents will drive an EV and in 20 years, it could be up to 50%. How will these EV owners refuel their vehicle and how will property owners respond? EV Charging Stations will not be an amenity but a necessity.
With a career in the commercial real estate industry for 40+ years, and arranging capital and personally investing in numerous multi-family properties around the U.S., I have come to the conclusion that providing an ability to serve EV owners by refueling their vehicles at their apartment homes is one of the greatest opportunities in the multi-family industry in years. Offering an adequate number of charging stations will produce excellent revenue opportunities for apartment owners in the future. Just imagine in 15 years, having 100+ residents driving EV’s living at your 300-unit community. This is not an unreasonable assumption and the income generated by reselling the electricity will be significant. Looking out further, what if 100% of apartment residents owned EV’s? Providing a place to refuel at their apartment homes will generate consistent revenue for multi-family owners.
Refuel Electric Vehicle Solutions (REVS) is a full-service electric vehicle charging company that works with real estate owners and managers to install electric vehicle charging stations on commercial real estate properties. For more information, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.