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Tackling EV Charging Reliability Is One Of The Biggest Challenges Holding Back CRE From Installations

A Xeal charging system

Electric vehicle owners know the story all too well: You arrive at an EV charging point with 20% battery only to find the charger is out of service. This is a big enough problem if you are out and about, perhaps at a retail park, but if you are at home at your multifamily apartment, it is a huge problem.

Xeal has set out to solve this problem for CRE, Chief Revenue Officer Eric Roseman said. The company has patented technology that solves the reliability crisis, enabling its EV charger to never be out of order. Xeal offers an end-to-end solution to multifamily and CRE owners to simplify the process of installing chargers by removing clunky and unnecessary connectivity.

Xeal was founded and funded by CRE and multifamily owners in 2019. Since then, the company has hired many people from the industry, including Roseman, who experienced the reliability problem firsthand.

“We understand our customers’ biggest pain points with regard to EV charging points because we’ve lived those pain points ourselves,” Roseman said. “And reliability is the biggest pain point.”

Unreliability in the broader EV charging ecosystem appears to have worsened. In Q1 2021, 15% of charging attempts failed, which increased to more than 21% by Q3 2022. One of the most common issues facing EV drivers is broken or nonfunctional chargers.

Approximately 95% of the time an EV charger is out of order, it is because it can't communicate to the network, Roseman said. A payment processing failure is a common downtime event that can stem from a network connection issue. 

To develop a reliable charger, Xeal built its own technology that enables its network of chargers to operate without reliance on a central internet connection. It functions via a decentralized approach and uses a self-reliant protocol that has no single point of failure. When drivers arrive at a charger, they use their smartphone to tap the charger, and it works immediately. 

“There is no downtime at all,” Roseman said. “Even if a phone is on airplane mode, the user can be up and running instantly.”

Because Xeal’s solution doesn’t rely on an internet connection, it makes it easier and more cost-effective for property owners to install EV chargers where they want to, Roseman said. Connectivity signal strength isn't a factor, and it doesn’t matter if there is no cellphone reception or WiFi — Xeal’s devices always work. 

“This is much more convenient for property owners,” he said. “It also saves them on the wiring costs, as it eliminates the entire IT infrastructure. The savings can be significant if you’re retrofitting a property.”

Dave Meit at Oculus Realty said the simplicity of the solution was one of the reasons his company decided to work with Xeal.

“An advantage of using Xeal was the cost savings by not having to provide network infrastructure out to the charging units,” he said. “Xeal was the right choice for ease of installation, flexibility in location and zero network infrastructure.”

Beyond the technology of using an EV charger, Xeal offers a full turnkey service. The company uses a scientific data model to advise a property owner on ridership trends, all the way to a white-glove approach to facilitating installation. 

“Our model analyzes a plethora of factors down to the ZIP code level to estimate how many chargers will be required,” Roseman said. “We’ve invested heavily in this model and leverage our own team’s real estate experience.”

The market for EVs is growing rapidly across the U.S., but the lack of chargers installed in commercial and multifamily real estate means the industry is falling behind, Roseman said. Ninety percent of charging takes place at home or at work, but less than 1% of parking spaces have EV charging stations.

“As the market grows, residents are going to be making leasing decisions based on the availability of EV charging options,” Roseman said. “If they’re not available, they’ll live elsewhere. There’s a wave of EVs on the way, and property owners need to build for the future or else their building could fall obsolete.”

Xeal has grown rapidly in the last four years to serve every major U.S. market. Roseman said numerous multifamily operators that have installed Xeal Energy’s solution across their portfolios are already seeing the benefits.

“We chose to work with Xeal because of their ease of use, reliable technology and their market knowledge that helped us future-proof our assets,” said Brian Mutchler, senior managing director at investment management firm Harrison Street.

Roseman said Xeal is proud to already be solving many challenges for CRE and multifamily owners and to be seen as their partner of choice. 

This article was produced in collaboration between Xeal Energy and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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