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EVs Could be The Real Driving Force Behind Property Investment

Peter Hemple looks at the meteoric rise of electric vehicles and how it will impact landlords

The number of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) registered across the UK, the vast majority of which are Electric Vehicles (EVs), rose by 52% during 2020, up from 245,000 in Q3 2019 to 373,000 in Q3 2020.

Grant Shapps, the Secretary for State for Transport, stated in February: “In 2020, electric vehicles (EVs) accounted for 1 in 10 new cars sold, up from 1 in 30 in 2019. Overall demand for fully electric vehicles grew by 186%. In November 2020, we committed to ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with all vehicles required to have a significant zero-emissions capability (for example, plug-in and full hybrids) from 2030 and to be 100% zero emissions from 2035. We have committed to a £2.5bn package to support consumers to make this transition.

“Reliable and easily accessible charging infrastructure is key to making the switch to EVs as easy and smooth as possible. 2020 saw more ultra-rapid charge points deployed than any year before. These can deliver up to 145 miles of range in just 15 minutes for a typical EV.”

According to the Department of Transport, there were more than 20,000 public charge points installed for EVs by February 2021.

This rapid rise in the number of electric vehicles across the UK presents an opportunity to support retail sites, both on the high street and out of town, by providing an additional income stream for landlords, according to Knight Frank.

The company stated: ‘Retailers have been adapting to a structural shift towards e-commerce and have been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic restrictions, but shopping centres and retail parks could be amongst the winners from the growth in electric vehicles. The need to charge electric vehicles provides an incentive for EV drivers to visit and spend time at locations where fast and rapid charging points are available, which for retailers could help to support out-of-town shopping centres and retail parks.’

Customers charging an electric vehicle spend up to 50% longer at a retail site, which in turn translates into average increased spending of up to £80, according to RetailCo Solutions Inc. As well as higher levels of spending in shops, charging points can also provide a new revenue stream for landlords, with TfL currently estimating that new fast and rapid charging points pay for themselves within 5-7 years on average (indicating that net annual yields are as high as 14-20%). With occupiers and investors increasingly focused on ESG and achieving Net Zero, having significant electric vehicle charging infrastructure also helps landlords to ‘future-proof’ assets.

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