The landscape of America’s roadways is undergoing a monumental transformation, and Prologis, the world’s largest owner of warehouses, is at the forefront of this change. With a keen focus on electric vehicles (EVs), Prologis is set to build one of Southern California’s largest electric vehicle charging stations, designed to serve commercial trucks. This ambitious project, situated near the bustling ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, represents a crucial step towards supporting the growing adoption of commercial electric vehicles.
Prologis’ executive, Henrik Holland, recently announced a groundbreaking partnership, although specific details remain under wraps. However, insiders suggest that the deal involves Danish shipping giant Maersk and will utilize a property on Denker Avenue in Torrance, California, located just over 10 miles from the major ports. This state-of-the-art charging facility is expected to accommodate up to 120 trucks simultaneously, making it one of the country’s largest dedicated charging depots for commercial vehicles, according to a report in Business Insider.
The Prologis-Maersk collaboration is just one example of a rapidly expanding trend in the EV charging sector. The transition to electric commercial vehicles necessitates a comprehensive network of large charging facilities, capable of powering numerous vehicles simultaneously. This shift has captured the attention of real estate investors, existing property owners, and EV-charging businesses, all eager to tap into the potential of this emerging asset class.
According to John O’Leary, the CEO of Daimler Truck North America, an estimated $52 billion of investment in charging infrastructure is required to support the growth of electric commercial vehicles by 2032. This figure accounts for necessary electrical transmission upgrades and increased energy generation, not the costs of acquiring or leasing the real estate for charging equipment installation.
Henrik Holland envisions a substantial portion of Prologis’ vast logistics and warehouse properties incorporating EV charging capacity in the near future, suggesting that “20 to 30 percent” of their 1.2 billion square feet of properties will follow suit. As the logistics transportation industry undergoes this significant shift, opportunities for innovation and investment abound.
Government regulations play a pivotal role in accelerating the transition to electric commercial vehicles. California, for instance, recently adopted regulations aiming to eliminate the sale of diesel- or gas-powered trucks by 2036 and mandate zero emissions for all commercial vehicles registered in the state by 2042. Similar mandates at major ports are set to take effect as early as 2024.
These regulations are poised to electrify over a million trucks and vans in California alone, significantly impacting the logistics industry’s landscape. As California often sets the tone for nationwide policies, these rules are expected to propel the transition to electric and hydrogen-powered trucks and vans across the United States.
With strict deadlines approaching and a surge in demand for charging infrastructure, investor confidence in the EV charging sector is on the rise. As a result, real estate investors may seize opportunities to acquire properties and transform them into electrified charging sites. The potential for investors to generate revenue from land leases, electricity sales, and additional services has become increasingly appealing.
Electric charging sites are no longer exclusive to industrial outdoor storage (IOS) properties. Companies like Gage Zero are actively converting IOS sites into charging locations across multiple states. This innovative approach to repurposing existing properties aligns with the growing demand for electric fleet charging.
Tesla’s anticipated expansion of its heavy-duty electric truck, the Semi, is poised to further ignite the EV charging industry. Charging sites designed for longer-distance routes, such as the one Chateau Energy Solutions is planning in California’s Inland Empire, could play a pivotal role in facilitating the widespread adoption of electric commercial vehicles.
Despite the growing interest and investment in EV charging infrastructure, the availability of sufficient electrical power remains a significant challenge. Property owners and investors often encounter a “chicken-and-egg” scenario: tenants are hesitant to commit without adequate electrical capacity, while utilities are unwilling to invest in upgrades without a proven demand.