Why cities and companies are charging up for Electric Vehicles

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Electric Vehicles will become a common feature of our roads in the next decade. As the incentives for Electric Vehicles grow, the costs will only fall, creating sound motivation for companies to cater for them.

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Why cities and companies are charging up for Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Apart from limiting carbon dioxide emissions, electric cars can also improve local air quality, particularly in cities. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution causes more than 3m premature deaths annually and has become one of the greatest environmental hazards of our time.

Air pollution moves up the political agenda, especially in cities
Cities the world over are now committing to electric vehicles in a big way, partly to curb carbon emissions but largely because of air pollution concerns. In London, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, Mayor Sadiq Khan has ramped up investments in Low Emission Neighbourhoods and Clean Air Zones. Elsewhere the mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Athens and Madrid pledged to stop the use of all diesel-powered vehicles in their city centres by 2025. Germany has taken a similar stance, while in France a new law now requires all new buildings to provide charging infrastructure for EVs.

Electric vehicles infrastructure attracts new players
Electric vehicles are becoming less expensive every day, in part due to the incentives and funding streams now on offer. For example, through generous incentives, Electric vehicles constituted nearly 40 percent of Norway’s newly registered passenger cars. But perhaps the biggest game-changer for Electric vehicles drivers is the transition from relatively slow (typically between 4 to 6 hours) charge times to charging stations capable of reaching an 80 percent charge in just half an hour. Simon Property group, one of the world’s largest retail developers, has recently partnered with a fast charging service provider called Electric vehicles go, in the US, in a bid to create the nation’s largest fast charging network.

Driving innovation
As the Electric vehicle-driving population increases, a growing number of companies are exploring how they might attract customers requiring recharging facilities. For example, IKEA has introduced fast electric charging points at its shops in the US and in some of its European locations. Hotels are taking a similar tack. Marriott International now offers electric vehicle charging stations at 275 of its properties globally, from Budapest to Tampa and many places in between. Hilton is also installing charging stations in many of its U.S. properties, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts began installing electric vehicle charging stations in its Elements brand hotels back in 2009.

A real opportunity in catering to Electric vehicles drivers
In years to come we’ll see charging points cleverly located and used to attract and draw people to places where they can shop and do other things while their car charges. The sharing economy will also have a hand in shaping things to come; soon enough payment platforms will enable idle electric vehicle’s to be rented out whilst their owners are at work.

Only as clean as their power supply
Whilst the switch to electric vehicles is good news for air quality in cities, it may only be good news for the climate if they are powered by an electricity grid supplied with low carbon energy. Many parties need to come together – developers, local government, car manufacturers and grid operators – for electric vehicle’s to become a genuinely low carbon option. None-the-less there is a wide range of new business opportunities for forward-looking companies that cater to electric vehicle’s drivers. The time to adapt is now.

Article written by Franz Jenowein, Global Sustainability Research at JLL

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