Author Archives: Stacy Wallace

Charging Station Basics: Equipment, Incentives, and More

electric vehicle charger plugged into car

In previous articles we explored why adding electric vehicle charging stations to your business sites is a profitable idea, but what about the actual equipment and installation process?  Let’s review the most important points.

Plugs and Adapters – From Complex to Simple

One common misconception about EV charging is that each vehicle can only charge at certain stations because of a variety of plugs, voltage, etc. Fortunately, the reality is more simple.

The main charging plug in North America is the SAE J1772. Designed as a standard by the Society of Automotive engineers, this plug comes in a 5-pin basic form for cars that charge from alternating current (AC) and a 7-pin Combined Charging System (CCS) form for cars that use direct current (DC) fast charging. This second type was adopted by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Porsche, Volvo, and Volkswagen for the 2012 model year and beyond.

A less common option is the CHAdeMO plug, used mainly on some Japanese and French models. CHAdeMO only provides DC fast charging.

What does this mean for those providing charging stations for the public? Most public stations feature both types of plugs, and though Tesla cars use a different plug, the company provides an adapter (at no charge) that allows drivers to connect their car to a J1772 station.

Charging Levels and Physical Forms

EV charging is divided within the industry into three distinct levels. At each level, more power is delivered to the vehicle’s battery more quickly, and more robust equipment is required.

Level 1—This type of charger connects the vehicle to a standard 120 volt 3-prong wall outlet and is included here for completeness. A Level 1 charger delivers the power for about 5 miles of range per hour of charging.  It’s best for private commuter vehicles that can be charged overnight.

Level 2—These stations are often wall-mounted and use 240-volt AC power. Homeowners often install a Level 2 charger to give them more flexibility in how they use their EV. They deliver 25 to 60 miles of charge per hour, making them a good balance between the need for fast charging and overnight charging.

Level 3 (DCFC) —This type of station is the one most often seen by the public and tends to vaguely resemble a thin gas pump. Like gas pumps, they are commonly found at commercial locations near highways because they are the best option for long-distance travel. They convert 240-volt AC power to DC power for fast charging, and deliver about 250 miles of charge per hour.

Evaluating Your Situation

Whether Level 2 or 3 stations make sense for you will depend on what vehicles are being charged, and for what purpose.

 

If you are charging vehicles in your own commercial fleet, Level 2 stations mounted in an indoor bay or dedicated outside parking spaces will suit your needs. Vehicles can be charged overnight, and anytime your drivers return temporarily to your main location. The same applies to locations where tenants will be charging their vehicles. Level 2 chargers will allow apartment residents to charge overnight and allow the employees of companies renting a commercial location to charge their vehicles during the workday.

If you are placing chargers at a commercial business such as a shopping destination, Level 2 chargers will be the most common and Level 3 fast-charging is the best way to serve customers on the go, as they may be on site for only 20 minutes to an hour.

The Incentives

Incentives vary, so it’s best to talk with an experienced partner who can identify the best programs for your situation, but possible incentives include:

  • Government incentives—In the past, the federal government provided a tax rebate of up to $30,000 for installing stations. An effort is being made to renew this and other incentives in a congressional bill this spring. Some state governments also provide incentives.
  • Utility incentives—Some electric utilities offer rebates and other support for new charging stations.

Your Partner

Could you use some advice on the what, why, and how of installing charging stations? We have experts on hand who are ready to help. Get in touch with Thayer Energy Solutions today, and together we’ll find the best options for your situation.

Charging Stations, Tenants, and You: How Supporting Electric Vehicles Gives You an Edge at Your Property

A transportation revolution is underway, one that will transform almost every vehicle on America’s roads – the conversion to Electric Vehicles (EV’s).

Any major change in consumer behavior is a major opportunity for those who get ahead of the curve. The move to EV’s will create profit opportunities for many commercial enterprises that have never offered services to vehicle owners before.

In the case of residential commercial property, you can provide a crucial service to your tenants by installing EV charging stations in your parking areas. This will help you recruit and retain tenants, with many of them coming from an upscale income bracket.

Let’s review the market potential, the benefits you can receive from charging stations, and the investment involved.

A Surging Market

EV market penetration will surge between now and the end of the decade, due to manufacturer commitment, growing adoption, and government investment.

Manufacturer commitment—Several auto manufacturers (including Ford, GM, Hyundai, and Volkswagen) have committed to producing mostly EV’s by 2035 and have made multibillion dollar investments in development programs. Every major automobile manufacturer is already offering electric vehicles, and nearly two dozen new EV models will debut during the 2022 model year. Vehicles offered now run the gamut from an electric Mercedes-Benz S class to a Ford F150- Lightning truck model, and many cost less than $45,000.

Growing adoption—More and more households are buying EV’s. The fleet increased by 70% in 2020 alone 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.

Government Investment—In addition to tax incentives for EV buyers, the federal government has made a major commitment to placing charging stations throughout America, including a network of 500,000 that will follow major highways. This will help increase adoption of EV technology by increasing the range drivers can conveniently travel.

Potential Benefits for Landlords

As electric vehicles move along the usual adoption curve, you’ll have an immediate opportunity and a near-term opportunity, both of which can pay off for years to come.

Immediate upscale tenants—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 profitability for any enterprise. The largest chunk of them (43%) are in their prime earning and spending years, 24-54 years of age. This makes them an excellent target market for upscale residences, and the ability to conveniently charge their vehicle at home will put you a cut above other properties.

Near-term middle-income tenants—As more Americans embrace EV technology (and as EV prices drop precipitously into the same neighborhood as gas vehicles), another, larger potential market of EV-owning tenants is emerging. These tenants will not necessarily be in the six-figure income range but will tend to be in their peak earning years and looking for the convenience of charging their EV right at their residence.

A study by Apartmentdata.com found that 61% of residential renters will pay more to live in an environmentally friendly apartment. If your building is part of the green revolution and also makes their lives easier, you will be able to attract that segment and charge them rent that matches the convenience and social impact you’re delivering for them.

Approximately 10% of parking spaces will need charging stations in the near term, a relatively small commitment.

Making Your Move

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.

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

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