The New EV Opportunity? Commercial Real Estate

As the race to add charging stations heats up, gas stations are competing against other businesses.

February 26, 2021

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Real Estate

RESTON, Va.—Will the 2020s be when the future of electric vehicles becomes more ubiquitous? In the U.S., more than 18 million EVS are forecast to be on the road during the next decade, driven by the Biden Administration’s pro-EV agenda, Forbes reports.

What does this mean for those in commercial real estate? An investment opportunity for charging stations. Currently, only 40,000 public charging stations have been registered with the U.S. Department of Energy, compared to around 150,000 U.S. gas stations. The White House has a target of half a million charging stations.

This means charging infrastructure investments should top $13 billion between now and 2026. The opportunity this presents for commercial real-estate managers is simple: Charging stations bring customers to retail locations much like fuel pumps bring customers to convenience stores. Eighty-two percent of gas stations also have on-site convenience stores, which bring in $250 billion in revenue.

Naturally, fuel retailers see the benefits to entering the EV charging market. For example, Love’s Travel Stops has partnered with Electrify America to install chargers at some locations in six states. “There’s no doubt that you will lose a hell of a lot of fuel volume,” said Jacob Schram, a senior McKinsey advisor about transitioning or adding EV charging stations. “But what you have to consider is how do you replace that.” Schram was a Super Session speaker at the 2019 NACS Show in Atlanta.

One important aspect is the charging time. Gas fill-ups take a couple of minutes, but EV charging takes around 15 to 20 minutes, leaving plenty of shopping time. A ChargePoint study found that EV chargers might bump browsing time by as high as 50 minutes.

“There's definitely the commercial opportunity to capitalize on those who are already coming to your store,” said John Eichberger, executive director for the Fuels Institute. “So there is a definite competitive differentiation tool there that could be leveraged.”

The Fuels Institute has prepared an evaluation of the electric vehicle market from the consumer perspective, including total cost of ownership, recharging infrastructure requirements, anticipated consumer recharging behavior and the relationship of EVs to competing technology in terms of consumer adoption. Visit “Electric Vehicle Adoption: Focus on Charging” to learn more. In addition, the Institute’s Electric Vehicle Council soon will be publishing three new reports pertaining to EV charging infrastructure options, regulations and consumer behavior.

Watch this YouTube video by the Fuels Institute and NACS  for more information on EV infrastructure. Not a NACS Magazine or NACS Daily subscriber? Subscribe to NACS Magazine in a print and/or digital format to read the latest insights from industry thought leaders each month. Subscribe to NACS Daily to receive a roundup of industry news and trends in your inbox each weekday.