Almost all Asia Pacific countries have committed to phasing out new internal combustion engines (ICE) before 2050 – and in addition to electric vehicles, zero emission vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells will be introduced in the coming years.

Yet we hardly have the infrastructure to support it – a new report by CBRE on How electric vehicles will impact real estate in Asian Pacific found.

The report found that EV sales in the Asian Pacific totalled $6.3 million in 2022, with annual growth between 2020 and 2022 to reach 85 per cent, accounting for two-thirds of all global EV sales in 2022.

The proposed dates for phasing out the sale of new ICE vehicles in APAC are as early as 2030 for Singapore and 2035 for Canberra, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, and Japan. But to maintain the current rate of one public charging point for every 10 electric cars globally, the Asian Pacific region will need to create 7-9 million more public charging points in the next eight years.

The demand, booming from the need for public chargers in apartments where private chargers are subject to regulatory restrictions and administrative barriers, will rise from 2 million to 10 million by 2030. Despite India and Singapore being Asia Pacific’s fastest-growing EV sales markets, mainland China is estimated to host almost 70 per cent of the new charging points.

This all adds up to a “significant opportunity for real estate owners and investors to gain access to or expand their presence in the EV public charging infrastructure market,” the report found.

And industries need to act

The report identified four key industries where EV chargers should be placed and what kind of chargers they should provide:

  • corporate office and campuses: AC slower chargers for employee cars and fast chargers for corporate vehicles
  • commercial properties and shopping malls: AC level 2 chargers for shoppers and potential for electric vehicle brands for promotion
  • industrial and logistics facilities: DC fast chargers for vehicle fleets and more heavy duty vehicles
  • transportation infrastructure: DC fast chargers for EVs en route to their destination

Additionally, business and science parks in decentralised locations and suburbs also show stronger demand for charging points as more employees drive to work. New office buildings will also boost supply as new regulations in Australia, India, Japan, and Singapore come into place.

Sidharth Dhawan, the regional head of alternatives for automotive and flex in the Asia Pacific at CBRE, said, “From retail malls and office complexes to industrial warehouses, EV charging infrastructure is fast becoming the norm across the Asia Pacific as landlords and occupiers gear up for the electric mobility era.

Dhawan adds that the real estate market needs to jump onto the EV market quickly to navigate the fast-changing and technologically advancing market and not be left behind.

“While opportunities for EV charging infrastructure are growing, technological advances, like battery swapping, mobile charging, hydrogen fuel cars, and wireless charging, may erode demand for physical charging points.”

And then there are challenges

On top of the research, the report also detailed some of the challenges landlords and investors might face in potential risks and building specifications.

They are:

  • power supply and safety
  • long payback period for positive cash flow
  • short product life cycle

Additionally, technological advances that may reduce the demand for EV chargers are:

  • battery swapping and mobile charging
  • hydrogen-fuelled cars
  • wireless charging

Key recommendations for real estate owners and investors

Dr Henry Chin, global head of investor thought leadership and head of research for the Asia Pacific at CBRE, said that planning for EV charging was a complex process and professional consultants should be engaged when implementing EV charging ports.

“Property owners and investors need to consider potential challenges when installing EV chargers, such as the long payback periods and short lifecycle of the charging systems.

“We advise asset owners to engage professional consultants to help simplify the complexity and formulate strategies to expedite the installation of charging points in their portfolios.”

The three key recommendations according to the report are:

  • future-proof real estate by planning ahead
  • seek professional advice
  • partner with CPOs (Charging Point Operators) or electric vehicle manufacturers to ease operation and maintenance and gain a steady stream of rent

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  1. I ask myself, the community and govs, is it really realistic to assume that we can continue to commute in our personal vehicles as populations grow and centres expand forever, adding to the number on roads. Congestion already quite unbearable. Should we not capitalise on the learning from the pandemic years and strive, instead, for PT, localising our lives, ‘plan for people not cars’? Has the entitlement to personal transport come to dominate so much we are ‘blinded’ to better more sustainable solutions…?

  2. Switching to EV will still leave us with a car-dependent society with all the problems of congestion and ever growing need for more freeways and parking places and a massive environmental burden from manufacturing millions of EV. We should be converting existing FF cars and relying more on active transport .

    1. Exactly Don, not to mention public transport! Not so sure about the conversion though: that would need some research.