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.
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.
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.