flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

Some AEC firms are plugging into EV charging market

Industrial Facilities

Some AEC firms are plugging into EV charging market

Decentralized access is broadening recharger installation to several building types.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | November 14, 2023
One of Blink Charging's 3,500 charging stations. The company has seen sizable revenue gains from commercial, governmental, and residential clients.  Image credit: Blink Charging
Blink Charging, one of the nation's largest EV charger providers, is helping multifamily developers decide how many chargers they need to install now and in the future to meet growing demand. Image credit: Blink Charging

Despite the recent decisions by leading automakers, in response to demand shifts, to temporarily slow their production of electric vehicles, the federal government remains committed to the electrification of transportation, and some AEC firms have been exploring avenues to capitalize on this market sector’s expansion.

Through the first half of 2023, sales of electric vehicles in the U.S. rose by 49 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. But that increase compared unfavorably to the 63% gain in calendar year 2022. Carmakers like Ford, General Motors, and Tesla have announced they were curtailing or delaying production of certain EV models during this period of what one sector analyst referred to as “growing pains.”

This market’s perceived uncertainty hasn’t tempered the Biden Administration’s support of electric vehicles as part of its larger strategy to reduce carbon emissions. The White House foresees a national network of 500,000 EV chargers nationwide, in anticipation that electric vehicle sales will rise to at least half of all new car purchases by 2030. Year-to-date EV sales through September reached just over 873,000 and were on track this month to surpass 1 million units for a year for the first time ever.

Some AEC firms are jumping on this bandwagon proactively.

Full service charging stations, in design and construction

The engineering firm Kimley-Horn recently launched TREDLite EV, a software solution for retail chains and local governments to select the best locations for their new EV chargers. Kimley-Horn also partnered with Drive Electric Tennessee, an awareness and implementation program that in September released its “Multifamily Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Guide,” for developers and occupants who wish to install chargers.

Driver SPG, a division of the general contractor C.W. Driver Companies, is building what will be the first full-service electric vehicle charging station for Rove Charging, which plans to open 20 locations by 2026. The first station, on 1.2 acres in Santa Ana, Calif., is slated to open next summer. Designed by Peruzzi Architects, the station will be able to recharge 40 vehicles simultaneously via high-powered fast chargers. The station will include an on-site market operated by Gelson’s Markets, restrooms, and free Wi-Fi for customers who use the station’s lounge and outdoor patio. Some Rove stations will offer a car wash.

Rendering of full service EV charging station for Rove Charging
Driver SPG is building Rove Charging's first full-service EV charging station. Image credit: Peruzzi Architects


The Santa Ana station will be able to generate renewable energy through on-site solar panels and battery storage that supplements the city’s electric grid.

Last month, The Chicago Athenaeum and The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies bestowed its International Architecture Award on The Sunflower Station, an EV station of the future designed by Beijing-based Sanyou Architectural Design and commissioned by the fuel distributor and retailer Parkland Corporation, which is based in oil-rich Calgary, Alberta, and has operations in 25 countries. This station design—which reimagines a typical highway gas station as a recharging oasis—has 24 EV charging spaces, and other areas where drivers and passengers can rest, watch movies, or meditate. The design also featues solar panels and a rainwater collection system.  

Recharging everywhere

The number of EV chargers continues to proliferate. Earlier this month, EVgo, one of the nation’s largest public fast-charging networks, revealed that it would start using a prefabricated approach that cuts the install time for fast chargers in half and reduces construction costs by an average of 15 percent.

EV chargers in general are more likely to be installed in parking lots of shopping centers than within dedicated standalone structures a la gas stations. An EV station concept study that Gensler and BMW Designworks conducted a few years ago has yet to find a willing adopter, confirms a Gensler spokesperson. The developers behind the Stack Charge EV station concept, who previously stated their plans to open 10 stations in Southern California by the end of 2023, now say their first station with 40 fast chargers, in Baker, Calif., between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, will open early next year.

“As the country transitions to electric vehicles, it is moving to a distributed fueling model, where a vehicle can be recharged at the gym, at the supermarket, or on roadways like gas stations,” says Mike Battaglia, COO of Blink Charging, one of the country’s leading EV charging providers, with more than 3,500 charging locations and nearly 12,000 connectors.

He says that Tesla has done a good job expanding its network of supercharging stations, of which it has nearly 2,000 with close to 22,000 supercharger ports, according to Department of Energy estimates. But Battaglia cautions that DC fast charging stations are expensive, which makes calculating the return on investment for such projects dicier.

While Blink also wants a bigger piece of the fast-charger pie, it is targeting the multifamily sector for installation of level 2 charging equipment, whose cost is a fraction of DC fast chargers, and offers higher-rate AC charging through 240-volt electrical service for residential applications, and 208-volt service for commercial applications. Level 2 chargers can charge an EV to 80 percent from empty in four to 10 hours, and a plug-in hybrid in one to two hours, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates.

Citing research by McKinsey and other sources, Battaglia says that, despite all the media hype around fast chargers, 90 percent of all kilowatt hours of electricity dispensed for EV charging will come through level 2 equipment. And more multifamily developers are interested in installing EV chargers as a competitive amenity that meets growing tenant demand.

For multifamily clients, Blink conducts a site assessment to determine the number of stations needed and whether the building has sufficient electrical service. Battaglia says that, on average, a multifamily complex would require one charger per five to seven EVs on site. Level 2 charging equipment costs between $5,000 and $6,000 per unit, and another $8,000 and $20,000 to install.

The biggest driver of cost is the distance separating the building’s electrical panel from its bank of EV chargers. That’s why Blink advises its multifamily clients, when choosing the location for chargers, to plan ahead for the likelihood of increased demand. Blink will  soon offer a dual-point charging station that can recharge any electric vehicle including Tesla’s, whose charging standard has been embraced by several carmakers.

  A customer using a Blink Charging charging station
Blink Charging is advising its multifamily clients thinking of installing EV charger banks to plan ahead for future tenant demand. Image credit: Blink Charging

Production slowdown an aberration

The publicly owned Blink Charging reported a 151 percent increase in revenue, to $97.9 million, for the nine months ending September 30. The company expects to be earnings-per-share positive by December 2024, says Battaglia.

Blink recently signed a seven-year agreement to become the official EV charging provider for the city of Miami Beach, its headquarters city. Blink is also partnering with the connected car and parking service provider Parkopedia to integrate more than 4,000 EV chargers onto Parkopedia’s platform in North America, giving its subscribers access to Blink’s charger network. Blink’s products are now prioritized by the state of Utah for government, nonprofit, K-12, and higher education agencies. The company is also the EV charging supplier for the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide charging solutions for public and commercial fleet applications.

Blink emphasizes its flexibility. It will be adopting Tesla’s charging standard and incorporating plug-and-charge technology that simplifies the payment process for EV drivers. Blink also provides energy management services.

Battaglia isn’t too worried about slowdowns in EV production, which he sees as a temporary aberration. “Look, electric vehicles are now 7.7 percent of car sales, and were 25 percent [of sales] in California” in the first half of 2023. “We never thought this was going to be a linear rocket ship.”

Related Stories

| Aug 11, 2010

And the world's tallest building is…

At more than 2,600 feet high, the Burj Dubai (right) can still lay claim to the title of world's tallest building—although like all other super-tall buildings, its exact height will have to be recalculated now that the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced a change to its height criteria.

| Aug 11, 2010

Manhattan's Pier 57 to be transformed into $210 million cultural center

LOT-EK, Beyer Blinder Belle, and West 8 have been selected as the design team for Hudson River Park's $210 million Pier 57 redevelopment, headed by local developer Young Woo & Associates. The 375,000-sf vacant passenger ship terminal will be transformed into a cultural center, small business incubator, and public park, including a rooftop venue for the Tribeca Film Festival.

| Aug 11, 2010

Nation's first multistory green industrial facility opens in Brooklyn

The $25 million Perry Avenue Building at Brooklyn Navy Yard is the nation's first multilevel green industrial facility and the first building in New York to incorporate building-mounted wind turbines. The wind turbines, along with rooftop solar panels, will provide electricity for the building's lobby and common areas.

| Aug 11, 2010

Construction under way on LEED Platinum DOE energy lab

Centennial, Colo.-based Haselden Construction has topped out the $64 million Research Support Facilities, located on the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) campus in Golden, Colo. Designed by RNL and Stantec to achieve LEED Platinum certification and net zero energy performance, the 218,000-sf facility will feature natural ventilation through operable ...

| Aug 11, 2010

NASA plans federal government's greenest building

NASA is set to break ground on what the agency expects to be the highest-performing building in the federal government's portfolio. Named Sustainability Base, the building at Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, Calif., will be a showplace for sustainable technologies, featuring some of the agency's most advanced recycling and intelligent controls technologies originally developed to support NASA...

| Aug 11, 2010

Stimulus funding helps get NOAA project off the ground

The award-winning design for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s new Southwest Fisheries Science Center replacement laboratory saw its first sign of movement last month with a groundbreaking ceremony held in La Jolla, Calif. The $102 million project is funded primarily by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

| Aug 11, 2010

Robotic storage facility protects exotic automobiles, fine wines, artwork

Miller Construction Company, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has completed construction on a high-tech robotic storage facility designed to store and protect valued possessions such as exotic automobiles, fine wines, artwork, and jewelry. Designed and built to resist Category 5 hurricanes, the RoboVault facility features automated storage retrieval, biometric recognition, private access with 24/7 securi...

| Aug 11, 2010

Research Facility Breaks the Mold

In the market for state-of-the-art biomedical research space in Boston's Longwood Medical Area? Good news: there are still two floors available in the Center for Life Science | Boston, a multi-tenant, speculative high-rise research building designed by Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, Boston, and developed by Lyme Properties, Hanover, N.

| Aug 11, 2010

Special Recognition: Triple Bridge Gateway, Port Authority Bus Terminal New York, N.Y.

Judges saw the Triple Bridge Gateway in Midtown Manhattan as more art installation than building project, but they were impressed at how the illuminated ramps and bridges—14 years in the making—turned an ugly intersection into something beautiful. The three bridges span 9th Avenue at the juncture where vehicles emerge from the Lincoln Tunnel heading to the Port Authority of New Yor...

| Aug 11, 2010

American Tobacco Project: Turning over a new leaf

As part of a major revitalization of downtown Durham, N.C., locally based Capitol Broadcasting Company decided to transform the American Tobacco Company's derelict 16-acre industrial plant, which symbolized the city for more than a century, into a lively and attractive mixed-use development. Although tearing down and rebuilding the property would have made more economic sense, the greater goal ...

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

Giants 400

Top 100 Industrial Construction Firms for 2023

ARCO Construction, Clayco, Walbridge, and Gray Construction top the ranking of the nation's largest industrial facility sector contractors and construction management (CM) firms for 2023, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2023 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400

Top 90 Industrial Sector Engineering Firms for 2023

Jacobs, IPS, CRB Group, and Burns & McDonnell head the ranking of the nation's largest industrial facility sector engineering and engineering/architecture (EA) firms for 2023, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2023 Giants 400 Report.

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021