According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 31% of consumers either plan to go electric with their next vehicle, or are considering it. Many forces — including surging gasoline prices, tougher climate policies, and rising automaker adoption — are leading to a rapid transition to e-mobility. Globally, electric vehicles represented 8.6% of light-duty vehicle sales in 2021, up from 2.5% just two years prior.
As EV adoption rises and drivers place greater importance on charging options, businesses and developers must plan to meet the exponential demand. But with few buildings currently equipped to charge EVs, property owners risk alienating the growing (and passionate) customer base that sees EV charging as an essential amenity.
Modernizing Existing Properties with EV Charging Capabilities
“You can see the challenge for engineers and manufacturers. Building retrofit, for example, is one of the key challenges for electrification,” says Nathan Yang, Vice President and Chief Product Officer at FLO, a leading North American charging network and a major provider of EV charging software and equipment with more than 60,000 charging stations deployed. “Put simply: none of these existing buildings were built with charging electric vehicles in mind. Add to that delivering the necessary power and the intelligent equipment critical to succeed in real estate, and you start to appreciate the value of a company like ours. We engineer almost every component of the entire charging solution from the ground up to ensure ease of installation and use.”
In an exclusive interview with The Real Deal, Yang discussed what differentiates FLO from other EV charging providers and how they make it easy for developers to partner with them.
How FLO Seamlessly Integrates EV Solutions for Property Owners
Yang noted, “In a competitive real estate market, property managers are always looking for an advantage. And while many know that EV charging would make their properties stand out, some are hesitant to transition their buildings to new technology. FLO eases that transition with a complete, end-to-end EV charging solution. And with our power management knowledge, rugged and versatile equipment, and ever-evolving software, our EV solutions create a value-add for tenants and a closing tool for owners.
Flattening the Peak Usage Curve
FLO designs its products to eliminate obstacles property owners face when incorporating EV charging solutions. One common obstacle for property managers with shared charging stations is peak usage. Because most people charge their cars around the same time (such as in the morning arriving at the office, or around lunchtime for example), these time periods cause strain on utilities and create prohibitive costs.
How does FLO ease these energy concerns for property managers? Yang explained, “By using AI-powered flexibility software, we’re able to flatten the peak usage curve, elevating uptime and customer experience while significantly reducing costs. Plus, our online dashboard provides managers with detailed reporting for full transparency and control. Limiting peak usage offers huge savings for property managers.”
Rugged, Yet Versatile
The last thing property managers need is to install new equipment that is fragile and needs expensive, inconvenient repairs. FLO builds all its products to withstand harsh, rugged conditions. With durable materials and expert manufacturing, the units are designed to be used in any climate or environment.
And when a unit does need repairs, its modular architecture means the equipment is field repairable and upgradable. While other companies build chargers in one large piece that must be shipped out for repairs, FLO’s versatile design means property owners can repair units quickly and maintain maximum uptime.
Optimized by Software
The founding team at FLO started creating EV chargers at a time when EVs had not been broadly adopted. As the EV industry matured, the team realized the critical role software plays in the electric vehicle market.
FLO is constantly seeking ways to make EV charging more accessible to customers, and software is a huge part of that. FLO software gives managers a secure online portal where they can:
- Easily configure charging station settings
- Control usage policies like pricing, billing methods, and access rights
- Monitor station usage
- Access detailed data reports
- Track energy consumption
By optimizing every aspect of the EV charging process — from design to deployment to management — FLO breaks down barriers holding developers back from adopting sustainable vehicle technology.
Looking Ahead with Collaboration
Because EVs will be a staple for many years to come, it’s imperative that the charging technology adopted now can grow and evolve with the changing ways customers interact with it. So the provider that owners choose not only matters now, but in the future.
Along with durability and versatility, the collaboration will be essential to long-lasting benefits. Yang explained, “There are several key collaborations necessary for future-proofing charging solutions, such as the coordination with utility companies and technical integration with vehicle manufacturers. Strong collaboration with automotive companies will be necessary to offer a seamless customer experience, and FLO already has these types of collaborations with major US automakers.”
The Future is Here
The EV market is not only growing, it’s poised to explode in the next few years. Even internal combustion giants like GM see the writing on the wall. Their website states, “GM is on its way to an all-electric future, with a commitment to 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025.”
FLO is prepared to help developers and property managers get ready for the seismic shift. Yang pointed out, “Today, EV charging is just a product. But the industry is evolving, and FLO is creating turnkey EV solutions that are simple to implement, easy to manage, and future-proofed. We’re excited to continue our expansion across North America and deliver our comprehensive EV charging solutions to New York and other major US markets.”