Author Archives: Stacy Wallace

Attract More Profitable Customers with Charging Stations

Every business chooses a main path to maximized profits.  For some, the strategy is high traffic (perhaps with loss leaders), making up for lower margins with large volumes.  Others serve fewer buyers, but their upscale products maximize the profit from each affluent customer.

What if you could boost your profits by adding a little of both these strategies to your current operation? By installing charging stations for electric vehicles (EV’s), you can bring more customers who have more money to spend. Let’s look at three basic business questions: Is there a market? What is the market’s profit potential? What is the cost to reach and retain them?

Is There a Market?

The market penetration of EV’s is strong and picking up speed. The fleet increased by 70% last year despite total car sales being down almost 15% due to the pandemic. Experts estimate at least 40% of American cars and light trucks will be electric by 2030, and major manufacturers such as Hyundai and Volkswagen have announced they will go full electric by 2035.

All these vehicles will need charging. If you provide charging stations, customers will take advantage of it and of nearby shopping and entertainment opportunities.

What is the Market’s Profit Potential?

The majority of EV owners earn more than $100,000 per year and have at least a four-year degree, making them the type of affluent customer who can boost your profitability. The largest chunk of them (43%) are in their prime earning and spending years, 24-54 years of age. Though the majority of owners are male, a Fuels Institute study found the top demographic is men whose households include a wife and young children, with multiple vehicles.

But you don’t have to cross your fingers and hope these potential customers show up. Charging takes 30 minutes to an hour, with 36 minutes being the average. Emerging research shows that when customers have access to shopping, meals, or entertainment while their car is charging, they spend time and money on those opportunities. For example, Kohl’s and Target found that EV drivers spent more time in the store while charging. Kohl’s customers spent 20 additional minutes; Target customers tripled their time in the store. Kohl’s also found that EV drivers spent at a rate of $1 per minute while they were onsite.

What is the Cost to Reach and Retain Them?

The good news is that the costs are minimal, and may essentially be zero, depending on your circumstances.

  • In areas where EV’s are common, it’s recommended that developers equip 10% of parking spaces to charging stations, a relatively small commitment.
  • EV makers offer apps to their customers that direct them to charging stations, sending them to you.
  • A number of EV manufacturers will install stations for free. This means they make life easier for customers (and sell more cars) while you reap all the benefits without any upfront cost.
  • If you do have upfront expenses, they can be offset by a federal tax rebate for up to 30% of the project cost. Unfortunately, these incentives will end on December 31st of this year (and currently the credit is not included in the new infrastructure bill) so the time to make a move is now.

If you’re ready to take advantage of this new wave of change, or even just have some questions, Thayer Energy Solutions is glad to be your advisers. Get in touch, and we’ll help you create a strategy to power you to greater profitability.

How Electronic Vehicle Charging Stations Can Boost Profit at Your Commercial Property

The single most important change in transportation in 100 years is already happening: The widespread conversion to electric vehicles, or EV’s.

While policymakers are betting on EV’s as a remedy for climate change, the real story is what manufacturers and drivers are doing. For example, Ford has introduced the F-150 Lightning truck, GM has announced a $5 billion development investment, and Volkswagen plans to go electric-only by 2035. Each vehicle manufacturer has EV models on the market or launching soon, and customers who are ready to buy. The EV fleet increased by 70% in 2020 alone and will grow to 115 million vehicles by the end of the decade, with 40-50% market penetration in the US.

Any major change in consumer behavior is an opportunity for those who get ahead of the curve. As a commercial property owner, you can profit from this trend by installing electric vehicle charging stations at your sites.

Retail Properties Can Increase Traffic, with Affluent Customers Brought Right to Them

If you lease space to retail businesses, charging stations can boost their success, and yours. Typically, an electric vehicle will need to charge for at least 30 minutes. Even better, electric vehicle manufacturers supply apps that direct drivers to local charging stations, and the majority of EV owners earn more than $100,000 per year. 

In other words, once you’ve installed charging stations, someone else sends customers to your site who have an above average income and time on their hands. It’s a perfect situation for retail profit.

Residential Landlords Can Attract More Upscale Tenants

As more and more consumers base their purchasing decisions on environmental impact—and as EV’s move through the early adopter stage–they will begin to purchase these cars and choose housing that supports them. Indeed, tenants are already choosing greener rental spaces and condos. For example, 61% of residential renters say they will pay more to live in an environmentally friendly apartment, according to surveys by Apartmentdata.com.

What does this mean for residential landlords? First, it means getting a tenant that won’t choose a building with no charging capability. Second, these tenants have a level of income that makes them an excellent target market for higher end rental properties and single-family homes. All you have to do is make sure you provide a station that will accommodate their vehicle.

Industrial and Office Properties Can Attract New Tenants

As the EV fleet grows, so will the number of them being used in company fleets. Those vehicles will need charging and having those stations available may be the difference between signing or losing a commercial tenant.

Even without fleet vehicles, charging stations make your property more attractive. Business owners and C-suite personnel are in the current target market for electric vehicles, and these leaders are just as eager to go green as residential tenants are. With minimal expense (see below), you can set your property apart.

Now is the Time, and the Investment is Smaller Than You Think

In areas where EV’s are common, it’s recommended that developers equip 10% of parking spaces to charging stations, a relatively small commitment. Plus, A number of EV manufacturers will install stations for free in order to make life easier for their customers and sell more cars. That means you may be able to get all the benefits without any upfront cost.

If you do have upfront expenses, they can be offset by a federal tax rebate for up to 30% of the project cost. Unfortunately, these incentives will end on December 31st of this year, so the time to make a move is now.

If you’re ready to take advantage of this new wave of change, or even just have some questions, Thayer Energy Solutions is glad to be your advisers. Get in touch, and we’ll help you create a strategy to power you to greater profitability.

Lighting that Highlights your Business

“We have something to celebrate at Fiesta Cancun!  Thayer Energy Solutions chose fixtures that made a dramatic difference in highlighting our business and providing a safe, bright space in our parking lot.  Not only do they look great and provide excellent lighting, they also lower energy costs.  Excelente, Thayer Energy Solutions!”

Ismael Lopez, Owner, Fiesta Cancun

EV’s, Chargers, Solar, Renewables and More – What Will Change in 2022?

As 2022 begins, it’s hard to know what the future will bring.

We may be entering the third full pandemic year, but with an economy in a robust recovery. To help you prepare for and benefit from change, we’re reviewing trends in solar installations, electric vehicles (EV’s), and other energy technologies to anticipate what might go on in 2022. Let’s begin with EV’s.

New Models, New Mainstreaming

Nearly two dozen new EV models are slated for release in 2022. Some are produced by dedicated EV manufacturers that have been on the forefront for years; others are offered by luxury car makers, with high prices to match.

However, most new models are downright mainstream, with many made by mid-range manufacturers and costing less than $45,000. The Ford F150 Lightning will have a sticker price about the same as a conventional F150, but with more horsepower and a 300-mile range. GM will resurrect the gas guzzling Hummer SUV as an EV and offer a new SUV version of the Chevy Bolt, the Bolt EUV. In fact, nearly every big-name car manufacturer will produce an EV SUV or crossover in 2022.

More EV pickups will be available, too. In addition to the Lightning, Lordstown Motors, Tesla, and Rivian will produce the Endurance, Cybertruck, and R1T trucks, respectively.

You’ll receive deliveries from EV’s, too. Amazon will begin deploying some of the 100,000 delivery trucks they’ve ordered from Rivian, and UPS will introduce EV trucks purchased from the UK manufacturer Arrival.

EV Charging Stations Set to Multiply

In our most recent blog, we discussed how the new infrastructure bill will provide funding to build a nationwide network of 500,000 charging stations, and the Build Back Better bill (BBB), if passed, will increase the tax credit for EV purchases to $12,500. Here are some other data points about the growing market:

  • According to a study by Market Research Future, the charging station market will grow from $18.25 billion today to more than $155 billion by 2030.
  • GM is working to grow the EVgo charging station network to 2,700 by 2025 and has already placed 500 chargers. GM drivers will also be able to use a single app to locate 80,000 charging locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, be able to find charging stations along a planned route and initiate and pay for charging.
  • Chevrolet will cover standard installation of home charging outlets for most customers who purchase or lease a 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV.

Each of these moves makes it easier for consumers in your target market to make the decision to buy their own EV’s.

Solar Outlook Mixed, but Positive

Bringing more solar capacity online is a top goal for utilities and regulators as 29 gigawatts of coal plant capacity shuts down by 2025. The good news? Analysts predict 44 gigawatts of new solar will come online in 2022. Better news? That 44 GW is all utility-owned projects and doesn’t account for small-scale installations at homes and businesses.

How many small-scale projects are installed in the near term will partly depend on the final form of the BBB legislation and whether it passes at all. Among the proposals is an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for private solar. It received a partial extension in 2020 but is still set to sunset by 2024. As it currently stands, BBB would return the ITC to 30% of the project cost and roll back the sunset date.

Other Power Technologies

Analysts expect wind capacity to increase by 27 GW in 2022, and for power storage to be increased by 8 GW. Storage capacity is crucial to transitioning to wind and solar because night, clouds, and windless conditions prevent 24/7 power generation.

Though it’s not technically a “renewable” (after all, there’s a finite amount of uranium), nuclear power is a zero-emission technology, and Northern Illinois has received positive news about the Byron and Dresden nuclear plants. Though Exelon had planned to decommission the plants, a deal with the Illinois government will keep them open. This should keep Illinois rates relatively low and make savings from installing solar even more lucrative.  For more information on upcoming trends and energy efficiencies contact Thayer Energy Solutions to see which direction could benefit you in 2022.

Short Term EV Outlook

As we enter the beginning weeks of 2022 a number of significant developments are occurring in the electric vehicle (EV) segment of the auto industry.

These and other recent trends prompted us to prepare this review of the short-term outlook for EV’s and their supporting infrastructure. We also consider how each trend might affect business owners who install charging stations for the use of their customers or tenants.

In the next 12-24 months, we can expect the following:

The Infrastructure Bill Will Fund Thousands of Charging Stations

Signed by the President on November 15, a new infrastructure investment bill provides $15 billion for. This is split roughly in half: $7.5 billion for EV buses and ferries, and $7.5 billion for a nationwide network of up to 500,000 charging stations along major highways. 

What This Means For You: One obstacle to widespread adoption of personal EV’s has been concerns about access to charging stations on long road trips. A nationwide network will make these trips as easy as in a gas-powered car, making EV adoption an easier sell and generating more need for your own stations.

EV Adoption is Likely to Surge

Congress is also considering the Build Back Better bill, an omnibus that includes tax credit programs. One provision is an increase in the tax credit for EV purchases, raising it to $12,500 for new vehicles and $4,000 for used models.

What This Means For You: The cost of EV’s is already trending down, and this initiative will drive the real cost to the owner far below the sticker price. More of your customers will be driving these vehicles and in need of charging stations.

Manufacturers Will Continue to Go All In

Mainstream car companies are rolling out more EV models, and GM, Hyundai, and Volkswagen have all committed to electric-only production by 2035. Many of these rollouts include major steps forward in capability and/or marketability, such as GM’s Ultium batteries, which cost 40% less to produce than the previous generation while delivering a 400-mile range.

What This Means For You: This will be another adoption boost. As more potential owners see cars that cost less, do more and are the type of vehicle—sedan, minivan, light truck, SUV, etc.—they like to drive, more will consider and buy EV’s. You’ll benefit from the massive marketing presence of household name auto manufacturers.

For a Year or Two, Production Will Be Slowed

EV manufacturers are dealing with the same supply chain issues that have affected gas powered vehicles, especially a shortage of microchips. This has led to production being suspended temporarily at some plants, including two of Volkswagen’s facilities.

What This Means For You: Though this may slow down an EV purchases for the individual buyer, it will likely not slow EV adoption significantly any more than microchip shortages have made buyers less interested in gas and diesel cars.

The EV Driver Demographic Will Expand

The largest segment of current EV owners (43%) are in their prime earning and spending years (24-54 years of age), and the top demographic are men whose households include a wife and young children, with multiple vehicles. With growing adoption and robust financial incentives, it’s far more likely that those multiple vehicles will be EV’s, adding more women to the ranks of EV drivers. In addition, these incentives will push the minimum income and age of first-time EV purchasers downward and make them easier for older citizens to afford.

What This Means For You: Wider adoption means your potential EV driver customer is from a larger pool than before, and more likely to be making daily family purchasing decisions. These trends will also skew the pool of owners younger, but even young EV owners will usually be in their prime earning years.

If you’re ready to take advantage of this new wave of change, or even just have some questions, we’re glad to be your advisers. Get in touch with Thayer Energy Solutions, and we’ll help you create a strategy to power you to greater profitability.

 

The Thayer Difference

“Thayer Energy Solutions chose fixtures that made a dramatic difference for our dealership.  Not only do they look great and provide excellent lighting, they also lower energy costs.  Many thanks to Thayer Energy Solutions!”

Rachel Bachrodt, VP Sales, Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall

Act Now on EVC’s

When many people heard “electric vehicles,” they tended to think of a sporty luxury car and a flashy billionaire.  Then, Lightning struck.

This spring, Ford launched a new electric work truck, the F150 Lightning. Since 1 out of 16 vehicles in America are F150’s, this would be significant even if only Ford was making this move. But other manufacturers are committing billions to EV development. The number of EV’s in America is expected to increase by 4 million by 2025 and they should reach 40-50% market penetration by 2030.

Every business has an opportunity to profit from this trend by installing electric vehicle charging stations. And the time to act on this opportunity is now.

Tax Incentives Are Sunsetting

Currently, businesses that install charging stations can seek a federal tax rebate for up to 30% of the cost. Unfortunately, these incentives will end on December 31st, 2021.

It was possible Congress would renew the incentives in the infrastructure bill, but as of this writing the bill has passed the Senate without any such language. It seems increasingly unlikely they will be renewed for 2022.

First Mover Advantage

Taking the initiative leads to advantage, and EV technology is now in the maturity sweet spot. It’s mature enough to be past the growing pains, but new enough for you to receive advantages from early adoption.

With charging stations at your facility, you’ll be one of the few in the Rockford area to offer them to a rapidly growing segment.

Attract Upscale, Green-minded Renters and Buyers

Americans’ financial decisions are increasingly based on environmental impact, including in the rental space. Sixty-one percent of residential renters say they will pay more to live in a green apartment, according to surveys by Apartmentdata.com. The majority of EV owners earn more than $100,000 per year, meaning they will be an excellent target market for higher end rental properties and single-family homes that accommodate their vehicles.

For businesses already seeking sustainable locations (or using an electric vehicle fleet), charging stations might be the factor that decides who will land their long-term lease.

Increase Your Retail Traffic with Affluent Customers Brought Right to You

Electric vehicle manufacturers supply apps that direct drivers to local charging stations. Typically, the vehicle will need to charge for at least 30 minutes. Once you’ve installed charging stations, someone else sends you customers who have an above average income and time on their hands. It’s a perfect situation for retail profit.

Getting in May Be Free

A number of EV manufacturers install stations for free to make life easier for their customers and sell more cars. You may be able to get all the benefits with zero upfront cost.

If this sounds interesting to you, contact Thayer Energy Solutions today and “Get Plugged In!”

WELL Certification, Lighting, and Employee Productivity

As more businesses focus on sustainability and ways to use technology to reduce energy costs, green building certifications such as LEED are receiving more attention.  So is the WELL Certification, first put forward in 2013.

WELL is technically not a green standard, though it does save energy for most businesses. Instead, WELL is focused on the health and wellness of those who use the building, providing benefits to employees (and customers) as well as the employer. As of this writing, the facilities that have received a WELL Certification comprise 2.7 billion square feet of commercial space.

How Does the WELL Certification Work?

The WELL standard covers seven factors or “Core Concepts” in a building that impact health, well-being, and productivity.

  • Air Cleanliness
  • Water—Clean and readily available
  • Nourishment—Food that is made available is wholesome and nutritious; highly-processed food is limited
  • Light—Adequate for productivity and friendly to the body’s circadian rhythms
  • Fitness—The building design includes features that promote activity and/or avoids features that promote sedentary behaviors
  • Comfort—The design supports ergonomics as well as thermal, acoustic, and olfactory comfort.
  • Mind—Measures building factors (from noise level to crowding) and workplace procedures that support or detract from mental wellbeing

Facilities are scored on 36 required points and 62 “optimizations,” then receive a rating of Silver, Gold, or Platinum based on their total score. The certification lasts three years.

Is the Certification Worth It?

It almost goes without saying that those who look out for employees and customers will see a better bottom line, but sometimes those efforts are subject to diminishing returns. Is a WELL Certification worth the investment?

Real world results say “yes.” Cundall, an engineering consultancy, reported they had already seen a positive ROI just three months after certification. Even better, that result was based solely on sick leave and attrition and did not take any other factors into account.

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) found that all the workplace parameters they were regularly measuring had improved, and a study of their workforce by Cornell University found that employees’ satisfaction with their work environment and overall job satisfaction was higher.

Facilities with WELL Certifications also saw:

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced “presenteeism,” the term for employees showing up for work but remaining unproductive due to illness or distractions
  • An average 12% reduction in energy use

Also, worth noting: Decades of study documentation show the downside of every WELL Core Concept—Poor air quality, dehydration, poor lighting, noise distractions, etc.—having drastic effects on productivity and employee wellness.

Light is a Core Concept, so What is the Role of Lighting?

Lighting that aligns with the body’s circadian rhythms results in two important benefits.

First, natural light and artificial light that simulates it—such as Cool White fixtures with a color rating between 4000 and 5000K—help workers stay alert and productive throughout the day. A study by the World Green Building Council found that natural daylight increased worker productivity by 18%, while another study found workers on a “blue light” floor had significantly higher alertness levels later in the day than those on a control floor with no lighting changes.

Lighting even increases productivity and wellbeing by improving mental health. Between 5 and 10% of workers experience depression related to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but as little as 15 minutes of natural light exposure leads to the release of endorphins, countering the effects of dim winter light.

Second, natural light and simulated daylight throughout the workday result in better sleep, which results in greater physical and mental health across the board, increased productivity, better coping with stress, and higher worker morale and job satisfaction. Blue-white light suppresses the early release of sleep hormones, reducing the “afternoon dip” in productivity and keeping the body in natural circadian rhythm.

Conclusion

Pursuing a WELL Certification will help your employees and your bottom line, resulting in a profound return on investment.  Contact Thayer Energy Solutions today and we can discuss your needs and help you work toward your WELL Certification.