EV charging forecourts: A new asset class and the one to watch in 2022
By Stuart Pratt, Director of Godwin Developments
Over the last couple of years forecourts have undergone a quiet transformation – from petrol and diesel only filling stations to attractive and convenient retail destinations in their own right. Now, as fossil fuel powered vehicles are being replaced by electric cars in ever growing numbers, the real estate sector has an exciting opportunity to facilitate the shift to a greener future – and support the expansion of a new, fast-growing asset class.
The UK Government has committed to banning new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 as a part of their Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which includes accelerating the shift to zero emission vehicles as part of efforts to tackle the climate crisis. On the back of these policies, demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has risen by 86% this year with market share rising to nearly 10%, and the pace of adoption expected to accelerate further in 2022 and beyond.
In sharp contrast, the UK EV charging infrastructure is seriously lagging behind, providing only 1 public charging point for every 11 electric vehicles on the road today. With more than 300,000 EVs in use in the UK, 26,000 public charging devices available to those on the go and only 18% offering fast charging, it is clear that the UK’s infrastructure now needs to expand rapidly in order to make the switch to EVs a viable option for motorists across the country.
This supply-demand imbalance has not escaped the attention of many established energy and fuel providers, who have recently made a host of announcements about their new EV charging strategies. Motor Fuel Group, for instance, has plans to invest £400m into its EV charging offering by 2030, supermajor Shell announced earlier this year that it is planning to install 5,000 chargers by the middle of the decade, and many more opportunities will no doubt be published soon. With other new entrants expected soon to enter the EV charging segment while established players upgrade and expand their portfolios to best serve shifting demand from motorists, EV charging forecourts – whether single or dual fuel – are on their way to becoming a new asset class of their own.
This provides an exciting opportunity for property consultants, landowners, businesses, real estate professionals and many others who can support the procurement of additional land opportunities for the sector, while also generating income from their portfolio and supporting the country’s transition to a more sustainable future.
With the estimated requirement for charging points by 2030 at least 10 times higher than the current national provision, it is not surprising that as a national property business Godwin Developments has already commenced site procurement and development work for a number of well-funded EV charging specialists that are actively seeking suitable sites across the country.
Introductions are invited for sites in urban, suburban and out-of-town locations with close proximity to busy arterial roads and a large population catchment within 3 miles. Both brown and greenfield sites from 1 acre onwards in size will be considered, if they benefit from high daily passing traffic numbers, are visible and conveniently accessible for vehicles. Sites may or may not have existing buildings on them, existing, lapsed or no planning permission, and we also welcome joint venture approaches from landowners and businesses.
Godwin Developments is a well-established residential and commercial property company with previous experience in developing projects across a range of roadside retail uses, including forecourts. As a privately-owned, fast-moving business with an in-house team of property professionals, it is able to deploy funds quickly to secure suitable sites and deliver projects with some of the leading EV charging infrastructure providers in the UK.
With proven demand for electric vehicles, predictions of the need for 25 million charging points by 2040, and both new and established brands hungry for increasing geographical footprint, EV charging forecourts have the potential to be one of the hottest asset classes in property as early as next year.