Identifying EV Opportunities
By Brad Berton
While equipment vendors and charging network sponsors are now active in several regions, the West Coast and Southwest are seeing a disproportionate share of current activity—thanks in part to network ventures funded through federal economic stimulus funds including the Department of Energy-led EV Project, among other sources. And it doesn’t hurt that the public-private endeavor dubbed West Coast Electric Highway is deploying chargers along Interstate-5 from San Diego to Vancouver, B.C., with AeroVironment acting as the charging station partner of participating state transportation departments.
EV Project leader ECOtality and its partners are quite active siting Blink-branded chargers at chain stores, key employers and select multi-tenant properties in border states from Washington to Texas, as well as Tennessee and Washington, D.C. Leading retailers including Walmart, Sears, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Cracker Barrel have each committed to double-digit locations.
High-profile property owners are likewise jumping on board, including big shopping center REIT Regency Centers, Seattle’s Vulcan Real Estate and mall REIT Glimcher Realty.
Meanwhile, Coulomb Technologies continues advancing U.S. growth of its internationally active ChargePoint charging network, also tapping some stimulus funds. In addition to installation arrangements with large employers such as Dell and Google, the Coulomb team has recently signed up owners of dominating regional malls such as Orange County’s South Coast Plaza and the Seattle area’s Bellevue Square—not to mention major apartment operators Alliance Residential and UDR.
Car Charging Group is tapping Coulomb equipment and affiliating its stations with the ChargePoint network as it rolls out about 1,000 planned chargers in Florida, California, Texas and New York. The company installs and operates chargers at its own expense and shares revenues with host-property owners—which in addition to parking operators and a growing relationship with the Walgreens chain include apartment players Equity Residential and Crescent Heights.
Likewise, boasting multi-property arrangements with Walgreens is Texas power concern NRG Energy, which continues pursuing ambitious plans for its affiliated eVgo charger network. EV owners pay monthly subscription rates to tap into NRG’s home-based and commercial chargers, mostly made by AeroVironment.
The network’s growth had focused on NRG’s home state, but the company recently committed to installing 200 or more Level 3 fast-charging commercial stations in California.
Also buoyed by growing partnerships with Walgreens as well as leading mall REIT Simon Property Group, the 350Green network is actively installing commercial chargers in numerous markets, including Chicago, San Francisco and the big Pennsylvania metros. It has designs on several other top-tier metros across the country, as well, including Boston and New York in addition to the greater Washington, D.C., vicinity (where it has a multi-mall deal with Simon) and Los Angeles (where it is pursuing some 100 installations at Walgreens stores).