The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) continues to gain momentum across the globe, with key factors driving the growth of this industry: the economics of owning an EV are becoming more favorable for consumers, while green investing is influencing automakers’ plans.
In a session at I.CON West: The Industrial Conference this week, panelists discussed the expected acceleration of the EV manufacturing industry, and the impact of EVs on commercial real estate. Moderator Gregg Healy, executive vice president, head of industrial service, North America, Savills, was joined by panelists Dan Loflin, commercial head EV charging, Prologis; Mark McClelland, group vice president, Walbridge; Jeni Reynolds, director, clean transportation, San Diego Gas & Electric Company; and Joern Tinnemeyer, chief technology officer and senior vice president, EnerSys.
Loflin talked about Prologis’ efforts to help their customers build EV and zero-emission mobility infrastructure that will allow them to meet their and their stakeholders’ objectives. “Prologis Mobility” seeks to be the complete solution for fleet electrification.
“We’re bringing in the infrastructure elements, the utility connections, handling the operations and the energy,” said Loflin. “We think there is a significant opportunity here. There is a huge intersection between energy and buildings, but we need an integrated solution. Prologis is thinking about how to add value to their buildings, and I think integrated EV solutions are a big part of that moving forward.”
Reynolds, hailing from the utility side, shared Loflin’s enthusiasm. “I think there are lots of ways that the CRE industry can be a part of this exciting transition,” she said. “Your utility, whether you like them or not, will be your best partner in this transition. We want electrification to be easy for businesses.”
All the panelists acknowledged the challenge in establishing the infrastructure to support widespread EV adoption. Tinnemeyer used the term “range anxiety” to describe the feeling some consumers have about EVs and the perceived lack of quick, convenient and available charging stations. He admitted that range anxiety kept him from purchasing an electric vehicle last year.
“If I fly into Newark Airport, and after a five-hour flight I have to wait two hours for an EV charging station to open up to so I can charge my car and get home?” He shook his head. “We think the adoption of EVs is slow because people are having this anxiety.”
Tinnemeyer pointed out that countries like Germany and Norway are a good preview of how EV market penetration might look in the U.S. in coming years. “They’re making infrastructure mistakes that we can learn from,” he said.
Featured photo courtesy of Prologis.