There are just shy of 50,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the United States, according to Department of Energy estimates. But with anywhere from 35 million to 44 million electric cars and trucks expected to be on the roads by 2030 (compared to around 3 million today), the U.S. will need 1.2 million public chargers and 28 million private chargers to keep pace with demand, according to a recent McKinsey & Company report.
The federal infrastructure bill includes $7.5 billion for EV charging infrastructure, and President Biden has committed to adding 500,000 public chargers by 2030. There is also a slew of companies—including Tesla, ChargePoint, Electify America (which is partly owned by Volkswagon and Siemens), EVgo, and Volta—that’s building networks of Level 3 fast-charging EV charging stations, to say nothing of the partnership between General Motors and Bechtel to build thousands of fast charging stations.
Amid this jockeying for position, the startup LL Development plans to begin construction this fall on The StackCharge, an EV charging station that aspires to enhance the user experience with a quick-service restaurant, 24/7 restrooms, WiFi, and an outdoor lounge area. LL Development is led by entrepreneur Lawrence Fung and real estate investor Lester Ciudad Real, who spoke with BD+C about their concept and plans.
BIDING TIME WHILE RECHARGING
Fung and Real, both military vets, met as students enrolled in the Masters of Business program at the University of Southern California. They stayed friends but took circuitous career routes before forging their development company. According to LinkedIn.com, Fung also earned a degree in dentistry, and was a consultant for a clinical 3D printing app provider. Real spent two years with Goldman Sachs before shifting into real estate management and development.
Fung said the notion for The StackCharge can be traced to his own experiences using existing stations to recharge the Tesla he purchased 18 months ago. He observed that EV chargers, in the main, seemed to be set up to serve the shopping malls whose parking lots they were located in, rather than motorists waiting for their cars to recharge.
How to fill that time was the question. “Maybe the answer,” he recalled speculating, “was quick service food and other amenities” that might elevate the charging experience.
At the time, there were some concepts for EV charging stations floating around, including one conjured by Gensler and BMW Designworks that suggested ways to convert conventional gas stations to EV charging meccas. But Fung said he wasn’t convinced that most gas station operators were ready yet to change their business model, at least not until there was a lot more electric vehicles in use.
A CROWDED FIELD
The first StackCharge station, with 40 universal fast-charging ports, will be located on 1.29 acres in Baker, Calif., a pit stop between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The nearly 2,500-sf retail pad on site—that once was a Starbucks—has a vacant existing drive-thru building that will be renovated and leased to a quick-service retail tenant. (LL Development has been working with the Los Angeles-based designer Side Studio.) The chargers will be able to recharge vehicles within 30 minutes for up to 200 miles of driving distance.
Baker is already served by Tesla Supercharger, EVgo, and Electrify America, so StackCharge will be entering an already competitive market. Fung quipped that electric vehicles are “iPhones with wheels,” and that his company plans to deploy digital marketing that targets drivers directly.
The first StackCharge is scheduled to open sometime next Spring. It will be the first of 10 stations in southern California that Fung and Real plan to open by the end of 2023. (The general contractor had not been selected at presstime.) Real said that the location of each site is seminal to its success. “We are looking to acquire sites that have strong retail real estate fundamentals and benefit from high transit traffic as we anticipate demand to skyrocket as EVs continue to dominate the market.”
StackCharge is being funded by co-development partners and family-office advisory firms. Eventually, Fung and Real plan to expand the concept to northern California and to other states.
Urban Planning | Jun 2, 2023
Designing a pedestrian-focused city for people to live, work, and play
What makes a city walkable? Shepley Bulfinch's Omar Bailey, AIA, LEED AP, NOMA, believes pedestrian focused cities benefit most when they're not only easy to navigate, but also create spaces where people can live, work, and play.
Urban Planning | May 25, 2023
4 considerations for increasing biodiversity in construction projects
As climate change is linked with biodiversity depletion, fostering biodiverse landscapes during construction can create benefits beyond the immediate surroundings of the project.
Urban Planning | Apr 17, 2023
The future of the 20-minute city
Gensler's Stacey Olson breaks down the pros and cons of the "20-minute city," from equity concerns to data-driven design.
Urban Planning | Apr 12, 2023
Watch: Trends in urban design for 2023, with James Corner Field Operations
Isabel Castilla, a Principal Designer with the landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, discusses recent changes in clients' priorities about urban design, with a focus on her firm's recent projects.
Sustainability | Apr 10, 2023
4 ways designers can help chief heat officers reduce climate change risks
Eric Corey Freed, Director of Sustainability, CannonDesign, shares how established designers and recently-emerged chief heat officers (CHO) can collaborate on solutions for alleviating climate change risks.
Urban Planning | Mar 16, 2023
Three interconnected solutions for 'saving' urban centers
Gensler Co-CEO Andy Cohen explores how the global pandemic affected city life, and gives three solutions for revitalizing these urban centers.
Affordable Housing | Mar 8, 2023
7 affordable housing developments built near historic districts, community ties
While some new multifamily developments strive for modernity, others choose to retain historic aesthetics.
Multifamily Housing | Feb 21, 2023
Watch: DBA Architects' Bryan Moore talks micro communities and the benefits of walkable neighborhoods
What is a micro-community? Where are they most prevalent? What’s the future for micro communities? These questions (and more) addressed by Bryan Moore, President and CEO of DBA Architects.
Augmented Reality | Jan 27, 2023
Enhancing our M.O.O.D. through augmented reality therapy rooms
Perkins Eastman’s M.O.O.D. Space aims to make mental healthcare more accessible—and mental health more achievable.
Urban Planning | Jan 18, 2023
David Adjaye unveils master plan for Cleveland’s Cuyahoga Riverfront
Real estate developer Bedrock and the city of Cleveland recently unveiled a comprehensive Cuyahoga Riverfront master plan that will transform the riverfront. The 15-to-20-year vision will redevelop Tower City Center, and prioritize accessibility, equity, sustainability, and resilience.