Following innovations in electric vehicle batteries and sustainability interest, there’s been a surge in electric vehicles on the road. From about 400,000 EVs in 2018 to more than 3 million EVs in the U.S. and about 16.5 million on the road worldwide today, the White House is throwing its support to further increase those numbers. The plan is to create a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS), and President Biden has set a goal of half of all new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030.
With this support of the current administration, architects who are including EVCS in hospitality, retail, and other commercial projects can help solidify these buildings as destinations that not only serve their primary business but also provide the community with the essential service of EV charging while shopping or dining.
What’s the easiest way to add EV charging to a project?
While there are many ways to invest in a charging station, one of the easiest ways is to partner with a local clean energy utility provider like National Grid that has programs designed to help install EV charging at little or no cost. Programs offer incentives and guidance to install EV charging stations, and also help convert fleet vehicles to EVs. In fact, for approved projects, National Grid covers up to 100% of electric infrastructure associated with new EV charging stations, and rebates are also available for the station itself.
In addition to new construction, there are opportunities to include EVCS in a retrofit. According to a survey from Boston Consulting Group, EV drivers would like to see charging stations added at supermarkets, hotels and restaurants, commercial real estate, and workplaces. EV chargers could also be added to gas stations that offer fuel pumps.
Since different EV chargers have different power requirements and building owners have differing sustainability goals, it’s best to work with the local utility provider to make sure the utility is equipped to support an EVCS.
What are other benefits of EV charging stations?
In the short term, installing EV charging stations on commercial properties has already increased property value for investors by providing additional revenue streams and attracting high-earning tenants, clients, and visitors. Not only do customers tend to extend shopping visits when an EVCS is nearby, the charging station attracts new customers and enhances overall customer satisfaction.
Most any building owner or developer will be happy to consider ways to increase property values, and EV charging stations have been shown to do exactly that. According to a study in Nature Sustainability, the proximity EV charging stations can raise property values of homes. Homes that are within 1 kilometer of an electric vehicle charger are valued 3.3% higher. If a home is within 0.5 kilometer of an electric vehicle charger, the property value increases by 5.8%. The study also found that charging stations increase traffic, which is often a goal of commercial properties, and decrease air pollutants.
What else needs to be considered before adding an electric vehicle charger station to a design plan?
An EVCS needs to be thoughtfully designed and strategically placed so it’s easy for customers to access. Allowing access for those with disabilities and protecting the charging station from inclement weather are also important considerations. By working with a trusted utility advisor like National Grid, clients can connect with a qualified installer or contractor to help assess the site.
With the shifting goals of building owners and developers from strictly providing a primary service—like a retail destination or hospitality functions—to creating an experience that’s also environmentally thoughtful, adding an EVCS is one way to help clients demonstrate a sustainability commitment to the entire community.
For more information about the EV charging program from National Grid, head over to NationalGridUS.com.