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Charging Stations In Prominent CRE Locations Could Fuel EV Adoption


Electric vehicle charging companies are seeking out high-visibility spots for new chargers, including malls and other commercial locations, in the hopes of boosting EV adoption. 

Adding charging stations in noticeable areas is not only to meet demand, but it also aims to serve as a signal to non-EV owners that stations are there for them when they make the switch, The Wall Street Journal reported. Drivers who don’t think they would be able to find charging stations when they need them are less likely to make that jump to electric vehicles, the WSJ said. 

One charging company, Volta Inc., is putting charging stations close to the entrances of well-trafficked commercial properties, even if electric vehicles aren’t widely used in the area yet. The charging stations have large digital outputs and are designed to be attention-grabbing — such as brightly lit lots and signage — to nudge potential users toward adoption. 

Public charging stations will become more important as the next wave of EV users moves into the adoption phase, experts say. These new users will be different than the affluent ones who made up Phase 1; a large portion of them will likely lack access to at-home charging because they don’t have their own garage or a dedicated parking spot they can use to set up their charger, the WSJ said. 

Looking to invest in charging stations where the people are, Electrify America, the charging subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of Americaopened one of its largest stations with 14 chargers at the Westfield Valley Fair mall in Santa Clara in November. EV users can order meals delivered to their cars from restaurants in the mall as they wait for their car to power up — a process that often takes a bit longer than topping off the gas tank.

At least one real-world trial of using charging stations to keep shoppers on-site found that the feature increased dwell times 50 minutes over the previous average and also boosted revenue at the trial site by $56K per year. 

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which owns the shopping center, is planning to open more of the solar charging hubs at 17 other Westfield retail centers across the country by the end of this year, Electrify America said.