As electric vehicle sales grow exponentially, Savills has worked with ten strategic clients to roll out electric vehicle charging points across 29 retail locations. These are attracting new shoppers, encouraging repeat visits and increasing dwell times. Building on this success, Savills is working with other property owners to review the feasibility of installing charging points across their managed portfolios.
76 charging points used 11,648 times
Up to 50% increase in average dwell time
52p cost per charge cycle on average
31 tonnes less CO2 from visitor travel
Savills is a global real estate services provider, which manages a large portfolio of retail, business, leisure and industrial space across the UK. Savills was approached by one of its key clients, The Crown Estate, about piloting electric vehicle charging points at 12 of its regional destinations.
Stage 1: Strategic partner for the pilot
Savills conducted a review of electric vehicle charging providers. Based on carefully considered criteria, POD Point was selected as the strategic partner for this important pilot.
Property owner criteria for charging system providers included:
Additional criteria to appeal to plug-in vehicle drivers:
Stage 2: Entry-level solution
The Savills Sustainability team developed an entry-level solution for electric vehicle charging, delivered by POD Point as its approved contractor.
This solution included:
The Crown Estate, Savills and POD Point delivered this solution at 12 destinations.
Stage 3: Engagement
Informed by the pilot and recognising the wider opportunity across its wider managed portfolio of retail parks, shopping centres and, increasingly, business parks, the Savills Sustainability team engaged with teams across the business to raise awareness of the electric vehicle charging market and its growth. This included Surveyors, Regional Facilities Managers and Building/Centre Managers attending ‘lunch and learn’ sessions and presentations. The overview covered technical solutions available and recommended hardware and installation costs, financial models and their relative merits, installation and commissioning costs and solution delivery at site.
Targeted external communications and client information flyers also raised awareness amongst clients that Savills was actively facilitating electric vehicle charging infrastructure across its managed portfolio.
Stage 4: Roll out
Savills delivered an initial roll out of electric vehicle charging points across a further 17 retail parks and shopping centres for 10 strategic ‘early adopter’ clients, including RDI REIT and Savills Investment Management.
Building on the success of this roll out and in the light of continued growth in electric vehicle sales, additional property owners have asked Savills to evaluate the feasibility of electric vehicle charging for their retail portfolios. This is resulting in a wider strategic roll out and a larger pipeline of installations for 2018/19, allowing scalability and diversification of the entry-level solution. The core of the solution remains 7kW fast chargers, with the scope for rapid charging if required and appropriate, based on site profile, and the potential to install both live and passive capacity to minimise future cost and disruption as demand increases.
Attracting and retaining shoppers and increasing their dwell time is likely to increase revenue for retailers. In turn, this can strengthen landlord-occupier relationships and, over the long term, contribute to rental value for shopping park owners and property value for investors.
2017/18 results show:
COST VS CONTROL
How to find the right financial model?
As the graphic below shows, there is a balance between cost and control when choosing between different financial models. Whilst many property owners are initially interested in options that require no upfront capital investment, once engaged on the potential benefits of owning charging infrastructure to offer value to occupiers and attract shoppers, and the risks of giving up control around how the service could potentially be monetised in the future, most clients opt for full or shared ownership. This means they continue to have influence over the customer experience and remain in full control of whether visitors are charged for using the service, including the phasing in or structuring of tariffs based on occupier engagement or usage levels. Most clients consider that the benefits of increased dwell time and new visitors to the site currently outweigh setting tariffs on the charging service. For most office and industrial sites, with car parks that are generally not open to the public, supplier-funded models monetised to recoup capital outlay do not work, as there are no public ‘visitors’ from which to reap potential income. However, there is growing demand from multi-let occupiers for charging points in their dedicated car park spaces, as part of their strategy to ‘green’ their own company car fleet and offer a charge service to their corporate visitors. See Figure 1 above.
What speed of charging point works best for retail?
There are currently three main types of vehicle chargers. Fast chargers are generally the most appropriate for retail locations, with 7kW chargers providing around 30 miles of charge per hour and reasonable investment and running costs. Trickle chargers do not offer enough power to fully charge a vehicle during a typical shopping visit; these are mainly for overnight charging at home. Rapid chargers generally involve larger infrastructure, far greater capital investment and higher running costs. They can provide full charge in around 20-30 minutes and are generally seen to be most appropriate at motorway stops where speedy ‘refuelling’ is required. Whilst rapid charger pricing will improve, power supply restrictions still present a real and potentially costly limitation to large scale roll out of this charging infrastructure for the foreseeable future. See Table 1 below.
How to expand the vehicle charging network across large portfolios?
The initial roll out across 29 sites has enabled property owners and occupiers to trial the service, test the technology and generally prove the concept. Due to the scale of the opportunity across some client portfolios, Savills is carrying out additional evaluation of other charging providers, in addition to POD Point. Assessment questions cover prices and funding models, the range of service offerings (e.g. trickle, fast and rapid charging), the size of the company’s network, partnerships, in-house capabilities for long-term support, compliance with hardware and installation safety standards, management information systems and customer service track record. After this initial assessment, shortlisted companies will be invited to provide finance solutions for a sample of sites. See Figure 2 below.
Sustainability Consultant Associate
Savills Property Management
Jo Francis, Head of Retail Operations, Regional Retail portfolio at The Crown Estate
“The Crown Estate’s Regional Retail team create brilliant places where people want to shop, eat and explore. We’re delighted to partner with Savills to introduce electric vehicle charging points for visitors at our destinations. Visitor experience is front and centre of our approach, and in this way the introduction of these charging points helps us to improve customer services by providing this much requested facility.”