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The Hidden Value In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Over the past three years, companies such as ECOTALITY INC (ECTY), Car Charging Group (CCGI.OB), and NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG) have been quietly gobbling up major US real estate in a nationwide race to establish an electric car charging infrastructure in the United States and Canada. Each of these companies is positioning itself in what according to Zpryme Research & Consulting will be a multi-billion dollar market on a fast growth tract.

Many of their current clients include some of the largest major retailers and shopping mall operators in the country, such as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (CBRL), Walgreen Co. (WAG), and major REITS such as Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG), Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT), Equity Residential (EQR) and private companies such as Gehermezian Organization’s Mall of America. Additionally, major commercial parking management operators such as Icon Parking and Laz Parking, as well as many others, have already adopted charging stations in many of their locations.

Why to invest in microcap companies like ECOtality and Car Charging Group

With only 15,000 electric-powered vehicles out of the tens of millions traversing our roadways each day, why would someone invest in low volume trading risky microcap companies such as ECOtality and Car Charging Group? Additionally, what are causing big name REITS, shopping centers, managed residential communities and parking management companies to sign long-term deals with them?

First, let’s understand the real estate. According to data from International Council of Shopping Centers and Urban Land Institute, there are approximately 105,000 shopping centers throughout the United States. The typical ratio of parking spaces to shopping center’s gross leasable area (GLA) is 4-6 parking spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. For example, for every 100k sq. ft. of mall GLA we are looking at approximately 450 parking spaces. Out of all the retail space in the United States, shopping centers hold approximately 7.3 billion sq. ft. of GLA in the United States. That alone would amount to over 31mm parking spaces available in US shopping centers.

Data taken from a Zpryme s EV study showed that 61% of Americans do not have the capability to charge an EV in their home or place of residence. This means that the overall majority of Americans would need to use public parking locations to charge their cars i.e. shared residential parking, shopping malls, and street parking.

All of the above property holding companies share one thing: their core business is in real estate and not vending. By partnering with providers, they keep to their core business, with no risk with a shared revenue potential projected at over 500mm in the next few years. Clearly, the real estate value exists.
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