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Why this JV is taking a ‘real-estate-first approach’ to establishing EV charging hubs

EV Realty plans to build as many as 20 charging hubs in the coming years, largely in California, CEO Patrick Sullivan told Tech Brew.

By Jordyn Grzelewski

If you build it, they will come.

That’s the strategy behind a new joint venture between EV infrastructure development company EV Realty and venture capital firm GreenPoint Partners, which recently announced $200 million in funding to build charging hubs for medium- and heavy-duty commercial fleets.

EV Realty CEO and co-founder Patrick Sullivan told Tech Brew that while there aren’t many electric commercial trucks on the road today, the company is getting ahead of what is expected to be a significant increase in EV trucks in the coming years as tighter environmental regulations go into effect in California and across the US.

The joint venture “allows us to buy property today,” Sullivan said, “not have the property purchase contingent on somebody signing up today to put 100 trucks on it, because those 100 trucks don’t exist.”

EV Realty is taking what Sullivan described as a “real-estate-first approach” to building charging hubs. The firm uses proprietary software to identify what it deems to be ideal properties, with an emphasis on finding large industrial sites with built-in energy infrastructure, Sullivan said. The strategy is then to build charging stations that can serve multiple fleet customers near their operation centers. The hubs will be dubbed “Powered Properties,” and EV Realty will operate them.

“This is really the idea of finding places with a lot of power and then stacking as many customers in smart ways into that scarce resource as we can,” Sullivan said.

The JV’s funding should support the construction of between 15 and 20 charging hubs “over the next several years,” mostly in California, according to Sullivan.

The JV expects to be able to take advantage of the Biden administration’s recently released National Zero Emission Freight Corridor Strategy. The strategy calls for a four-phase rollout of a charging and refueling network by 2040, initially by establishing charging hubs along the country’s busiest freight corridors, as Tech Brew previously reported.

The administration’s goal is for 100% of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to be emissions-free by 2040.

Sullivan agrees with this approach of prioritizing hubs in the near term before establishing a larger charging network: “We need to really focus on the areas where there’s a concentration of both the vehicles, the emissions, and frankly, the grid constraints.”