The automotive industry is currently beginning a massive transformation with the rise of both autonomous and electric vehicles. This shift is changing our commutes, travel plans, and daily lives and, in the process, creating new opportunities for commercial real estate developers. As Forbes reported, as many as 18 million electric vehicles (EVs) are predicted to hit the road in the next ten years. As electric and autonomous vehicles become more mainstream, facilities are increasingly needed to support these vehicles’ manufacturing, charging, testing, and storing.
Building Facilities for Electric Vehicle Production
Electric vehicles require specialized manufacturing facilities due to their unique manufacturing requirements. Traditional car factories may not be suited for producing electric vehicles, so factories need to be retooled or purpose-built. As such, commercial real estate developers can seize the opportunity to build specialized manufacturing facilities optimized for producing electric vehicles. These facilities could be integrated into existing real estate developments or used as standalone facilities.
Another opportunity lies in developing industrial real estate for manufacturing the batteries that power electric vehicles. According to a report by CNBC, states across the south and midwest, including Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee, will be epicenters of EV battery manufacturing by 2030. So if investors want to enter the industrial manufacturing market, in Atlanta, Georgia, for example, they will have to start looking for that property to buy now.
Capitalizing on the Demand for Charging Stations
As the demand for electric vehicles increases, the need for charging stations will also rise. According to analysts from S&P Global, the number of EV chargers in the United States will need to grow by more than eightfold by 2030, even accounting for home charging, to accommodate the charging requirements of all those EVs.
Developers can capitalize on this demand by building charging stations in strategic locations along major highways, parking lots, and retail centers. These charging stations can be a valuable addition to existing real estate developments, as they can be added to existing properties. In addition, as EVs on the road increase, they can also become independent real estate ventures.
Exploring Opportunities in Testing and Storage Facilities
Electric and autonomous vehicles require specialized testing facilities that simulate various driving conditions and scenarios. Developers can build and lease these facilities to automotive companies or tech firms working on autonomous cars. Additionally, commercial real estate developers can explore opportunities in the storage of electric and autonomous vehicles. These vehicles require specialized storage facilities to ensure their batteries remain in good condition.
Integrating Charging and Servicing Facilities into Parking Structures
The rise of autonomous vehicles may change the demand for traditional parking lots, but the cars will still require charging and maintenance facilities. Developers can build new parking structures that integrate charging and servicing facilities. Optimizing these structures for charging and servicing electric and autonomous vehicles will create new revenue streams for developers.
The growth of electric and autonomous vehicles is creating new opportunities for commercial real estate developers. From specialized manufacturing to charging stations and testing facilities, there are plenty of areas where developers can capitalize on this shift in the automotive industry. As such, it is an exciting time for developers to explore and invest in these new opportunities. The key is to stay current with the latest industry trends and innovations and adapt to changing demands.