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JLL Seeks Sites For Volkswagen Subsidiary’s $2B U.S. Investment In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Electrify America is giving the zero emissions vehicle infrastructure a boost with a landmark $2B investment.

Charging station
An electronic vehicle at a charging station

Over the next 10 years, the Virginia-based Volkswagen subsidiary is aiming to build a comprehensive ZEV infrastructure and education program that will span the entire U.S. and have charging stations no more than 120 miles apart to reduce driver anxiety and increase confidence about driving an electric vehicle long distances. The creation of Electrify America and the $2B investment plan, announced earlier this year, were part of Volkswagen's court settlement with U.S. regulators over excess diesel emissions.

The investment is particularly significant because it will help put an end to the "chicken and egg" situation that has prevented the electric car movement from truly taking off, said JLL Senior Vice President Adam Cook, who, along with Executive Vice President Walter Wahlfeldt, has been tasked with leading the site selection and due diligence process.

“Manufacturers won’t make more cars until there’s a network, and companies won’t build a network until there are more cars. Electrify America has broken through that [with their investment],” Cook said.

Less than 1% of the population owns an electric vehicle today, although that number is climbing, according to Quartz.

JLL Seeks Sites For Volkswagen Subsidiary’s $2B U.S. Investment In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

In the first seven months of 2017, ZEV sales increased 35% from what sold during that time frame the previous year, and they are expected to rise in the coming years as consumers are given more models to choose from and more charging stations to meet their needs, Inside EV reports. Some of the latest electric cars to hit the market, such as Chevrolet's Bolt and Tesla's Model 3, offer to bring extended range at a more affordable price.

In addition to installing charging stations across the country, Electrify America will be launching an education campaign to inform and educate the public about the benefits of driving an electric vehicle.

"We are working to build a better, stronger network of convenient and reliable workplace, community and highway chargers, as well as educate Americans on the benefits of electric driving. We want more people to know and experience how convenient — and fun — it can be to own and drive an electric vehicle," Electrify America CEO Mark McNabb said.

The project is the largest investment in ZEV infrastructure and education to date. It comprises $800M of investment in California, one of the world's largest electric vehicle markets, and $1.2B elsewhere in the country.

"We believe this investment can make a real impact in advancing the American ZEV market as well as create jobs, new economic opportunities and help achieve climate mitigation goals," McNabb said.

Stations will be along high-traffic highway corridors in 11 metropolitan areas: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, Raleigh, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The infrastructure will include high-speed chargers that can add a range of up to 300 miles in 15 to 20 minutes, as well as chargers compatible with all major electric car brands created in the U.S. to ensure a wide range of people can utilize them.

“JLL has a giant commitment to sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint at large with all of our clients. We’re tied into so many mixed-use and asset managers and they’re all looking at ways to future-proof their investments to make sure their mixed-use retail properties are relevant in this day and age,” Cook said.

The team will be looking at sites including malls, restaurants, retailers, gas stations, mixed-use developments and hotels.

As the popularity of ZEVs grow, the existence of Electrify America high-speed chargers is expected to increase the appeal of properties that offer such an amenity.

“The emphasis for us is this isn’t an ‘if’ or a ‘maybe’ for property owners and asset managers,” Cook said. “This is coming. They will absolutely need this amenity to future-proof or just maintain the value of their mixed-use or retail asset for the consumer of the future, for the consumer of now. I don’t think there’s anything else like this on the marketplace.”