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electric vehicle
Envoy Technologies

Electric Car Sharing Partnership Is Another Example of Buildings Offering Renters More Than Just Space

Traditionally, landlords were in the business of renting space. They would do their best to make that space as attractive as possible, but would ultimately be seen as a substitute for other similar spaces in their area. In the last few years, this thinking has changed. Now buildings, particularly apartment complexes since they are such an intimate part of their tenants’ lives, look to offer more than just a place to stay. Now they want to offer an experience.

There are tons of examples out there of this. Property companies have services that will help their renters organize events, find discounts to local businesses or even have in-homemaid and concierge services. Creating these additional services helps properties create a brand and thus reap the benefit from the increased uniqueness and stickiness that comes with it.

One of the things that many urban dwellers find as a particularly valuable perk is the ability to live a car-free lifestyle. As we infill into the densest parts of our cities and rideshare becomes a more viable option for inter-city travel, not owning a vehicle is attainable to many more people. We saw one of the ways for landlords to offer a car-free life to their residents when a number of high-profile properties partnered with Uber to offer each resident a monthly ride stipend. These often happened in buildings with limited parking to incentive tenants that didn’t have parking needs.

But, for a number of reasons, sometimes renters want access to a car. Now it seems there is an amenity to help with that as well. A company called Envoy Technologies has announced partnerships with a number of California apartment complexes to install shared electric vehicles on-site. This would give residents the ability to rent the cars, which often include Teslas, by the minute or by the day.

Early stats are showing premium rents where mobility services, like car-sharing, are available. This makes sense since these types of amenities can reduce the renters’ expenses by eliminating car, insurance and parking bills. Not to mention the increased brand value of the apartments that participate in these programs.

The profitability of having an electric vehicle fleet on-site could increase if it is combined with the growing trend of buildings becoming energy positive. Unused energy from solar or wind installations in buildings will no longer have to be sold back to the power companies at a fraction of the cost per kilowatt hour. Now that electricity can be used to charge these vehicles and lower the cost of the fleet. We reached out to the team at Envoy about this and here is what they had to say about the possibility of buildings charging their cars:

“The obvious benefit to electric vehicles is they don’t pollute our air. The claim that EVs are just shifting emissions from the vehicle tailpipe to the location of the electrical generation plants has some truth today. However, as the real estate industry adopts and uses alternative sources of energy like solar and wind, that will change. Envoy’s goal is to help create a future of net-zero energy buildings. Envoy vehicles are essentially battery storage devices. In the future Envoy vehicles will be able to store clean energy and feed it back into the buildings when clean energy is not available. Envoy is currently working on installing solar at its HQ in Culver City and combining Vehicle 2 Grid (V2G) technology to create a net-zero energy system.”

For any product, customers tend to think holistically. They judge restaurants on their parking, electronics on their packaging and food on its origins. This same sentiment is happening for real estate. Renters are no longer thinking just about their space but the lifestyle that the rental provides. Adding amenities like electric vehicles to a site might be the next evolution in value creation in the property industry.

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