Off-street parking could help increase electric vehicle uptake

Efficient use of off-street and often under-utilised parking capacity is key to making European cities more liveable and sustainable, according to Werner Paul Boerma, CEO of Netherlands-based proptech firm ParkBee.

Boerma said that as cities become increasingly more populated, space is at a premium. “I find it difficult to accept that a lot of this space is used for stationary cars in streets, especially in our European cities where streets tend to be narrow and pretty,” he told Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts.

Freeing up streets allows for tree planting and social uses such as playgrounds and benches and Boerma said that ParkBee’s business model also seeks to influence driver behaviour.

“We are creating a dense network of garages in European cities and drivers can trust us to offer them a secure and certain parking space near their destination, wherever that may be,” he explained.

“Rather than going from A to B, people would then go from A to a garage near B. The importance of that to the city is that there is no search traffic required,” he said. It also saves individuals 10 to 15 minutes of driving per car looking for a spot. “That is substantial if you added up all the traffic within a city.”

The system also has the potential to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure without massive upgrades to the grid locally. By enabling charging to operate overnight and off-street, EV charging can operate at lower voltages. This will provide city dwellers with the certainty that they have a place to charge their vehicle if they acquire one, a concern which is currently a frequent deterrent to swapping to a greener vehicle and relieves local authorities of the cost burden of upgrading the grid for faster on-street parking.