As many automakers look to follow Tesla into the electric vehicle market, the shift could change how real estate developers and building owners plan new projects. A move toward overnight charging at apartments and condos could offer cost savings on electricity, and one professor thinks that owners of these developments will feel pressured to add these services in the years to come.
Above: Tesla vehicles in a parking garage (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).
Anthony S. Wexler, a University of California, Davis professor of Engineering and Air Quality, expects apartment and condominium owners to feel increasingly pressured to offer garage charging, according to a report from Forbes. Wexler also thinks these garage charging solutions may move away from a pay-as-you-go system, with those living in apartments instead gaining the ability to charge from their parking spots overnight.
Through this, Wexler thinks owners of EVs could save up to 50 percent on electricity compared to going to charging stations. Additionally, as the costs of charging equipment decrease over the next several years, Wexler expects it to become more cost-effective to install chargers across garages, and he predicts we’ll see this more and more at apartments.
As for homeowners, Wexler notes how they will also benefit from decreasing prices for charging equipment, in addition to solar panels in some places. Some may also be able to re-sell electricity back to the electrical grid during times of peak demand in certain states, as is already happening with Tesla’s Powerwall and Virtual Power Plant program in California.
Another major change Wexler predicts is the use of EVs as backup power generators. The average Tesla stores around 75 kWh of electricity, which he says is enough to power most middle-class homes for a little over three days. Tesla’s cars don’t currently offer bidirectional charging, but future iterations might and certain EVs already include the feature.
Beyond real estate itself, it’s possible that the auto marketplace could move away from privately owned vehicles in general, instead heading toward shared EVs. This concept has also been touched on by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who says that the automaker’s cars will someday be able to drive with full autonomy, generating rideshare revenue for their owners while they’re at work themselves.
Whether or not these predictions come true, it’s hard to refute that EVs will change how our society plans for and utilizes real estate development. One way or another, the accessibility of charging equipment is likely to increase substantially in the next few years, and apartment dwellers, homeowners, and those renting commercial space.