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EV's And The Parking Industry – Part 2

Clyde Wilson & Dale Denda

July 2023

Clyde Wilson, of The Parking Network, picks up a conversation with Dale Denda about Electric Vehicles and parking. Dale spoke at PIE 2023 on the subject in a well attendedwell-attended session, including a lot of questions and audience discussion. The finer points of Parking Market Research Company’s research and the EV topic are opened up here in an interview. The first part of this discussion ran in the June issue of Parking Today. 

Q. It was reported recently the administration has committed over $30 billion in incentives for EV adoption. How does that square with EV success in the modeling?  

A. Not very well. It would seem that buying the transportation economy of this country is a multi-hundred-billion-dollar proposition, and the amount you just cited is not enough. We have only the modeling to go on at this point, but interestingly, it states that insufficient government subsidies for all manner of EV adoption will result in failure or collapse. I think the important point in that model is it happens after year 10—it takes a decade to get through even the first leg of transition. That’s significant—folks in the Parking Industry are trying to rationalize this question in a much shorter time frame than decades, which is not possible. There’s no question the Parking Industry knows EV charging ought to be addressed in many cases, but there’s not a good understanding of the time frame.

Q. If public chargers are going to play a significant role in curtailing managed-parking charging in the market, as you’ve said, who is going to install those chargers?  

A. That’s a question highlighting the early stage we’re at in this whole process. It seems that state plans funded in part by the U.S. government will, in conjunction with Public Utilities, create a massive public charger deployment program. But the cities apparently aren’t very far along. And that’s significant because it’s at the local level that locating street-accessible properties for charger installation will be implemented. That’s a very, very complex proposition. Consider California is just now thinking seriously about plans for EV charger installations in residential neighborhoods, public parks, commercial strips, standalone businesses, churches, etc. And then they’ve talked about mapping transportation routes and high-usage corridors, or public transit routes for placing dedicated ‘Super-Hub’ charging stations. The case of multi-family housing with onsite parking – not a single-family residence—has its own issues. Should chargers be added to parking spaces? How many? What are the access rules and public enforcement (charging overstay)? Who can park in those spaces? What is the fee structure? How is the electricity provided? What are the rates? And yes, what about enforcement for ADA, or vandalism? This is an immense public policy project and will take time to resolve.  

Q. Do actors in the Parking Industry have a sense of these issues?  

A. There’s no question the Parking Industry knows EV charging ought to be addressed in many cases, but there’s not a good understanding of the time frame or at what scale EV charger demand would occur. There’s a two-fold process playing out here. First, modeling shows this is certainly a viable technology, and EV base growth is tied directly to availability of a sufficient number of EV chargers —except sales trends large enough to change a population take time. As a native Detroiter, I appreciate that perspective.  But while public chargers are being deployed, we are headed into a period of several years, we estimate 9 to 15 years actually, only at the end of which the trajectory of EVS will be known. In the interim, confusion will reign.  The upshot is the more public chargers are available, the less people will seek out managed-parking for anything other than what is known as ‘opportunity charging’ – taking advantage of it when it’s available. In other words, the travel trip destination service model of the Parking Industry doesn’t change, but rather EV charging just becomes a footnote in it, because the role of managed parking will diminish or shrink over time, at least proportionally to all EV charging in the bigger picture. Again, this is due to factors developing outside of the industry. We need to provide an amenity, but realize that EV charging is a necessarily limited amenity.  

   

Q. Okay, so this issue is very early. Doesn’t that also mean there’s time for change, and by that, I mean new technology coming along such as improving battery efficiency and range, reduced charging time, or even in-garage mobile charging units?  

A. Those are the things we don’t understand – the unknown unknowns – if they’re coming at us or when. And the point is well taken. If range increases, then we might see entire segments ‘disappear’ from public charging or even looking for it in managed parking, because while they still park in the garage they have already charged elsewhere. In fact, there may be 4 or 5 groups out there with different habits. So yes, changing behavior is going to make a difference for who ends up charging in a parking garage. But all of that neat technology stuff still takes time – and that gets us up to 9-15 years before we know what will happen next.    

Q. Or should the EV just go to the gas station?  

A. Yea, likely you’ll be able to find an electric vehicle charger at more than one of them.  

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