The Edge Magazine Vol. 7
Logistics companies and operators are already taking action to reduce reliance on gas- and diesel-powered vehicles.
THE IMPACT OF COMMERCIAL EVS ON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
POISED TO REVOLUTIONIZE THE GLOBAL VEHICLE MARKET Between exploding consumer demand, mandates on emissions government funding and private capital, EVs are poised to help reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change and play an integral role in creating a net zero economy. After 130 years of predominately fossil-fuel powered transportation, we’re now in a quiet, technological revolution for sustainability, happening in real-time. It’s an opportunity for commercial real estate—especially for agile developers, investors and supply chain leaders eager to be at the epicenter of technology, innovation and sustainability. and plans for charging infrastructure backed by
The increase in demand for online shopping—especially in the U.S.— during the pandemic created a surge for the logistics and supply chain industries. As such, manufacturers of commercial EVs are in a position to play an increasingly bigger role in the logistics sector, knowing that operations across the industrial and supply chain landscape can be dramatically enhanced with clean, electric commercial fleets of trucks and tractors that have the potential to improve efficiency, reduce costs and improve supply chain response to meet an intensified consumer appetite. Given battery ranges and infrastructure limitations in the U.S., current technology favors short-haul and last-mile delivery. Industrial and logistics operators that employ EVs
for transporting local freight and parcels can lower their overall carbon footprint and improve efficiency for last-mile delivery. While the U.S. is a long way from a viable infrastructure for long-haul trucks and electric commercial fleets exclusively running an end-to-end 24/7 EV supply chain, logistics companies and operators are already taking action to reduce reliance on gas- and diesel powered vehicles. Many are gradually mobilizing eco-friendly electric truck and tractor fleets and equipping their warehouses with electric charging station infrastructure—testing how to deploy EVs to further build out a supply chain for increased speed, responsiveness and productivity.
Last-mile facilities will need to change radically—not only to accommodate the new fleet of commercial EVs, but the charging stations that will power them. Facility owners and developers will increasingly need to consider onsite charging stations that are integrated with a building’s energy management system (BEM), ensuring enough electricity to accommodate the large batteries of electric trucks—a major restructure that won’t happen overnight. And increasingly, facility occupiers— logistics companies, distributors, retailers and more—will need to consider grid capacity when selecting facilities, ensuring they’ll have the energy resources (including back-up generators) to charge their EV fleets.
SETTING COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS UP FOR EV SUCCESS
over five years, with the hope that private investors—across industrial, retail, office and residential—will follow suit and build charging stations of their own. To create the approximately 500,000 public chargers the legislation calls for by 2030 to support ambitions EV sales targets, significant work remains. The country’s existing roughly 100,000 public charging stations pose several challenges, including inconsistent types of plugs and hardware, disconnected or inconsistent data availability, and disparate types of payment systems. For an expanded network of charging infrastructure to succeed, a more consistent approach to implementing industrywide standards is needed.
As EV adoption increases, there is abundant opportunity for investment in charging station infrastructure across the commercial real estate industry, not only to accommodate personal EVs and last mile delivery vehicles but also long-haul semi trucks that move goods and materials several hundreds of miles at a time. A network of fast-charging stations will need to be built along major transportation routes—and it must be built quickly to meet the vast influx of EVs that will only continue to rise. The Biden Administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law in November 2021 allocated $5 billion to build a national high-voltage charging network across U.S. highways
30 THE EDGE
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