Author: Nick de Mestre, Chief Financial Officer of RAW Charging, former Managing Director at Landsec
In recent years, the property sector has taken giant strides forward to play its part in the global drive to net zero. Developers and landlords have now put the whole lifecycle of the built environment – from construction through asset management and back to re-development – under the microscope to find a more sustainable way to operate. Players from across the sector have identified ways to reduce their carbon footprint, embraced the principle of circularity to cut out unnecessary waste, taken measures to boost bio-diversity and put time and money to work playing an important role in social mobility and the promotion of equality.
One problem landlords haven’t yet managed to tackle is how to help their customers interact with their assets more sustainably, without removing the very purpose for which those assets were built – online shopping or watching Netflix may have a lower carbon footprint than driving to a designer outlet or cinema but in terms of the experience it doesn’t quite compare and it certainly does nothing for the all-important footfall numbers.
So, what can landlords do to draw in customers and at the same time help them reduce the carbon footprint of their experience? One thing they can do is take the opportunity to get ahead of a building trend and think about how they can meet the charging needs of the ever-growing community of drivers of electric vehicles. The Climate Change Committee estimates that the UK will be home to 18 million EVs by 2030 and with the sale of combustion engine cars being banned from sale in 2030 that number will continue to grow for years to come. Most EV drivers no longer suffer from the range anxiety which plagued the early models, but 45% of them will still be unable to charge at home. Those drivers will look for places to charge and with a charge taking upwards of 30 minutes many of them will look to charge in places they were going to go to anyway and will top-up as they visit, shop, eat or play.
In the not-too distant future, providing efficient and effective EV charging will be another of the defining characteristics of the retail customer experience alongside curating the right brand mix, holding the best customer events, having the right mix of F&B and, of course, making sure the toilets are clean and in working order!
Other than keeping a growing customer demographic happy and making sure their assets are fit for the future, landlords can also help their current finances without having to invest their own money or go through the risk and effort of managing thousands of small transactions. At RAW Charging we work with landlords to provide a turnkey process – from planning, through installation and into operations – all the landlord has to do is lease us a small part of their car park and wait to receive their turnover rent once the electrons begin to flow.
There are other ways in which landlords can use EV charging to unlock value from their estates – last year RAW, alongside our partner Abrdn, installed an urban charging hub on a small parcel of land sitting unused behind a newly developed office building. Over its first year of life the RAW Charge Yard in Slough has been embraced by a wide range of EV’s from taxi drivers to local residents and has seen incredible amounts of usage.
So, in short – whilst we can’t stop global temperatures or interest rates from rising all on our own, RAW Charging can help you keep your customers happy, reduce the carbon impact of their visits to your assets and all without you spending a penny (although the EV drivers might, in your exceptionally clean toilets whilst their car is charging).