Leading the charge

2 February 2022

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The race to provide a network of easily accessible, 24/7, rapid and reliable electric vehicle (EV) charging bays across the UK is gathering pace. A growing number of firms are looking to hook up with landlords and install charging stations on their land, through lease agreements or freehold purchase. Ryan Pratt, Associate Director with Cooke & Arkwright’s Retail & Leisure agency, advises landlords on partnership solutions with EV charging providers. We were keen to find out more.

You specialise in providing lease advice and agency within retail and leisure, what led you into EV territory?

I’ve run an electric vehicle for over a year now and used many different EV charging points. As time went on it become increasingly clear that there was a distinct lack of charge points and related infrastructure in the country, particularly in Wales.

This sparked my curiosity and I began to make enquiries to see if I could encourage and assist some of our existing landlords to install EV charge points on their properties. I wanted to help them to link up and partner with charging providers. I quickly found that the providers themselves needed advice on the acquisition of new sites.

Does it help that you have personal experience the types of service provision?

Yes definitely. As I have used many different charging companies, I am very familiar with the end user experience which puts me in a good position to advise prospective clients about the best networks they should consider installing at their holdings. This is particularly important as I’ve found there is a huge swing in performance and service levels offered from one network to another.

What are the site requirements?

There is not a specific site requirement that the EV charging networks are looking for. Generally, they need to be in areas where there are strong road communication links, and ideally close to facilities like retailers, snack bars or coffee shops so that drivers can do some shopping or grab a coffee while their car is charging. This benefits the retailers as drivers spend more time at the site and are more likely to spend money there. The site also becomes more attractive to EV drivers, which is of benefit to the landlord as well as boosting green credentials.

As well as retail parks, good sites for EV charging include places of work, business parks, country parks and visitor attractions, ideally close to major road networks.

Demand for sites is strong and growing, with many EV charging providers actively seeking to expand their portfolio.

What is a typical lease like?

Deals are typically structured with 15 to 20 year leases with an indexing mechanism, or rent reviews linked to inflation. Alternatively, some lease deals are structured to a turnover provision. Cost and access to grid connections from the candidate site is crucial to the level of rents achieved.

For those of us who haven’t got an EV vehicle, what might the typical charging time and cost be?

A typical charging time will depend on the car’s ability to take a rapid charge, whether the car has a preconditioned battery, and the charging infrastructure on offer at the destination. For example, if you shop at Tesco or Asda, they have slower 7 KW chargers which can be accessed for free while you shop, so by the time you’ve done your weekly shop you’ll benefit from the equivalent of an additional 30 miles range. Faster chargers will range between 50 KW per hour to 350 KW per hour. Not many, if any cars currently on the market can take a full 350 KW charge, but many of the chargers currently being installed are higher-spec to prepare for when cars become capable of receiving a higher charge in the not-to-distant future.

What’s your verdict as an EV car driver? Can you convince the unconverted?

Without sounding too much of a fan, EV’s are excellent and the cost savings over petrol and diesel are hard to believe! It’s estimated that the average UK car commute is a 25-mile round-trip, so much of the apprehension around ‘range anxiety’ is misplaced. Mechanically speaking they are relatively simple machines, battery to electronic motor, and thus many EV’s do not require expensive servicing.

The lion’s share of cars on the market will comfortably do 200 miles. I recently had to conduct a property viewing in Aberystwyth. Depending on varying traffic conditions and other factors, this is just about on the edge of my car’s range. On arrival, I plugged the car straight in at Tesco at their 22 KW chargers and by the time I returned, the car had been fully charged on a free public charger. Granted, for longer trips you need to plan ahead a bit more than you normally would with a petrol or diesel engine car, but so far, I have yet to experience a problem.  

Please contact Ryan and the team with any candidate sites if you would like to explore the potential of locating EV charging points on your property holdings. We would be more than happy to discuss and explore all your options.

Cooke & Arkwright have looked after our property assets in South Wales for many years. Their knowledge of the South Wales market coupled with enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile has ensured we keep ahead of the market.

James Rodge, Rockspring