E-mobility and real estate operations

How e-mobility affects real estate operations

E-vehicles are experiencing a real boom due to rising gasoline prices and the political goal of CO2 neutrality. But there is still a lack of the appropriate infrastructure at public buildings, offices, company parking lots and at the place of residence.

The topic of e-charging infrastructure is very complex, as many aspects have to be taken into account, from technical building equipment to energy requirements and legal frameworks to billing. The search is therefore on for solutions that are practicable and economically justifiable.

By Florian Günther, Authorized Signatory and Team Leader TGA, CANZLER GmbH


Ohne Landeinfrastruktur keine Mobilitätswende

Thanks to longer ranges and government subsidies, one in four (26%) newly registered vehicles is now a climate-friendly electric vehicle. 356,000 new passenger cars with purely electric drives were added in 2021. In 2020, there were still 194,163 and 63,281 in 2019. The Federal Network Agency reported an increase in publicly accessible charging points of around 11,600 in 2021; as a result, a total of 50,901 charging points were available at the end of the year. According to the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), an average of 17 electric cars shared a charging point in Germany on 1 January 2021 - by October, the number had already risen to 21. This glaring disparity shows that the most immense challenge remains the charging infrastructure.


Where is charging capacity needed?

To make charging more convenient for the growing number of e-car drivers, they expect charging facilities at their place of residence, preferably right on their doorstep, at their workplace or at busy public facilities such as hospitals, sports and leisure centres, universities, retirement, and care homes. Property owners and the public sector are therefore called upon to create the appropriate infrastructure.


Where is there demand?

But how is the demand for e-charging points for a property calculated? The easiest way to find out is to ask tenants and users whether they own an electric car or intend to buy one. It is important to clarify how long the car will be parked for and whether it will be parked for a short period or the entire working day. How many kilometres is the journey and the resulting charging time for the return journey or the next destination? Current trends should also be considered so that demand can be planned accordingly.


Legal framework and regulations

With the installation of e-charging points, property owners must fulfil many new operator obligations. The Charging Point Ordinance defines the connections, the minimum technical requirements for safety and interoperability, as well as the notification and verification obligations. According to this, operators must guarantee point-to-point charging - i.e. payment without a subscription and without a flat rate. Meanwhile, the calibration law regulates the equipment of the charging infrastructure regarding meters and the billing of electricity according to consumption and time.

The Building Electromobility Infrastructure Act (GEIG) came into force in March 2021. This means that the infrastructure with empty conduits and cable routes in residential properties (with more than five parking spaces) must be provided at every car park. However, it does not regulate how the energy supply is to be ensured. And this is precisely the crux of the matter: in the worst-case scenario, the housing industry invests in infrastructure that is not used or becomes obsolete after ten years because a different standard is required.

The ideal location

Parking space planning can be derived from the needs of tenants and users, their charging behaviour, parking duration, number of vehicles and the relevant regulations. Where the location is located on the outdoor area or in the underground car park of a property is in turn dependent on the available space capacities. The energy supply, communication systems and the load management system for balancing the peaks must be designed accordingly. External environmental factors such as rain or solar radiation must also be considered. For security reasons, appropriate lighting and video surveillance may also be required, depending on the location.


Billing and management

Publicly accessible charging points must allow spot charging, i.e. spontaneous and open-system charging. The billing and administration effort is greatly reduced if the operation is outsourced either by an energy supplier or a third-party provider. This is because the operator requires an electricity supply licence and must consider the obligation to report the EEG levy and electricity tax.


Thinking ahead ecologically

If the electricity comes from renewable energy sources, an ecologically sensible cycle is created. This can be achieved, for example, by installing a photovoltaic system on buildings, which either supplies the energy directly to the charging points or stores it in batteries. If the heating technology in the building is replaced, it should be checked whether it is worth converting to a combined heat and power plant in order to utilise surplus energy for operating the charging stations. To be able to guarantee the required energy demand at all times, the installation of the e-charging infrastructure requires an overarching energy concept that is harmonised with the technical building equipment.


Opportunities for owners and operators

With an intelligent solution for the e-charging infrastructure, owners and operators can make their property fit for the future. On the one hand, they fulfil the legal requirements for expanding the charging infrastructure. On the other hand, they can meet the increasing demand from their users and tenants and thus offer them a concrete additional benefit. In addition, the costs remain manageable if operation and management are completely outsourced to third-party providers.