A pent-up population is poised to explore the world following the past pandemic years, with all statistics pointing to a new travel boom. Whether driving, flying and then renting a car, these trips increasingly involve electric vehicles (EVs).
This makes the latest hot hotel amenity an available EV charger for hotel guests or visitors with an electric car. Here’s information about how hotels with EV charging stations can attract guests, along with our experience working with the hotel industry to find the correct EV charger and charging program for them.
Travel trends and the relationship to EV chargers at hotels
Cox Automotive reported that the tally for the auto sales for the first quarter of 2023 is in the books. The US market is projected to surpass sales of one million EVs for the first time this year. In addition, car rental fleet firms have stated their intention to transition to EV fleets, with the EV portion of rental fleets projected to grow at a steady 12% per year for the next few years.
This dovetails with travel trends. Domestically, AAA forecasts a 6% bump in travelers taking road trips in the summer of 2023, with total travelers a single percentage point behind figures tallied pre-pandemic in 2019.
While the number of public chargers is growing, the total number and availability are still lacking consumer demand and geographic penetration. The World Economic Forum calculates the number of public chargers in the US at 140,000, distributed among 53,000 charging stations.
Travelers will be looking for stops with EV chargers. And what could be more effective to reducing “range anxiety” than planning an overnight stop at a location with charging, possibly overnight charging, available? Customers will appreciate the opportunity to charge their EVs at their accommodations, and it might be the first filter they put into their search.
Winning customers with commercial EV charging stations at hotels
While there are several reasons to install EV charging stations at hotels or motels, here are the top three:
- Travelers plan their routes based on the availability of EV charging stations. There are numerous apps that help drivers find charging stations, including one specifically for hotels called EVHotels. Go to any major hotel chain and see a symbol for EV charging stations as part of your filtered search.
- Drivers are used to an overnight charging routine. According to the US Dept. of Energy, an average of 80-90% of EV owners charge their vehicles overnight. Home habits that transfer to a traveling location help increase the consumer’s comfort level.
- Hotels can earn extra revenue from the charging station. Hotel owners or chains can decide the payment type and amount accepted for these charging stations. When not in use by hotel guests, the charging station can act as a revenue stream for other visitors or travelers. Once your location has a charger, expect local drivers to find it on apps, Google searches or other ways.
Different approaches to EV commercial charging stations at hotels
Hotels can consider different options for the charging stations, especially when the charging stations offer flexibility for the payment method. For example, many hotel owners and operators prefer a charger that can accommodate a room passkey for hotel guests or a credit card option for visitors.
Here are some ways we’ve seen hotels offer EV charging to guests and visitors.
- Complimentary – Hotels can also consider offering EV charging as a complimentary amenity for guests.
- Added fee – Others might charge a fee for any user, whether guest or visitor, similar to how some hotels charge for parking.
- Bonus for members – Some might offer charging in exchange for hotel points accrued by frequent visitors or as a benefit to members.
- Valet service – Some hotels are devoting a valet to monitoring and rotating EVs through the charging stations so guests find their vehicles fully charged and waiting for them when ready to check out. This would also help if there were a line of owners waiting for their turn.
- Limited time – There might be free charging for a limited time or a designated level of energy used, with an additional fee for usage that goes beyond a courtesy amount. These separate fees can be added to the guest’s bill at the end of their stay.
Either way, price and availability should be clear up-front so hotel guests know the fees associated with this service. Different plans can be affected by the type of EV charger you choose.
Leveling up—should you install an L2 or a DC fast charger?
|L3 DC Fast Charger
A hotel might need to make some changes to its infrastructure to install Level 2 EV chargers, depending on the existing electrical system and the locations of the charging stations. Level 2 chargers typically require a dedicated circuit and a 240-volt power supply, which may require upgrades to the hotel’s electrical wiring and panel. In some cases, installing a new electrical sub-panel might be necessary.
Work with a qualified electrician to ensure the infrastructure is compatible with the charging stations and to meet local electrical codes and regulations. An installer can also help determine the best location for the chargers and provide guidance on any additional upgrades necessary.
A Level 3 DC fast charging station requires the hotel to have a 480-volt three-phase electrical service capable of providing at least 60 amps of power to the charging station. This is significantly higher than the requirements for a Level 2 charging station and takes up more space.
A DC fast charger is more expensive to install upfront. However, if the hotel has an attached restaurant, for example, the Level 3 stations could be posted in an area for visitors with a shorter dwell time and Level 2 chargers in a different location for hotel guests.
Each hotel will be different depending on its location, types of facilities, and guest preferences. A mixture of Level 2 and Level 3 chargers can serve both overnight guests and other types of visitors, such as those attending meetings, events, conventions, or banquet halls.
In fact, any location that has the type of traffic that parks a vehicle for extended periods of time can consider this style of EV charging layout, with a mixture of Level 2 chargers and a few Level 3 chargers for short-term visitors.
Government funding for DC fast chargers
Government funding is available under the NEVI program for businesses which is particularly attractive to hotels. One of the requirements is that the location must be within one mile of an alternate fuel corridor, and with several hotels located at highway exits, this is one program to look into.
NEVI funding was created to develop an “Alternative Fuel Corridor” with DC fast charging stations. The goal is to create a network of charging stations across the country. The funding primarily covers Level 3 DC fast chargers, but also some Level 2 ports as well.
BTC Power is a US-based EV charger manufacturer offering several options for Level 2 or 3 chargers. We have a touchscreen and payment flexibility that suits the hotel model for card swipes. Our L2 30-40 Amp Dual Port is an excellent solution for destination locations, such as hotels, offices, factories, or other locations where drivers will be parked for extended periods. Ask about NEVI-compliant products and configurations (National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure). Or, call to ask which chargers and what type of setup will best service your location. Contact us today.