The number of EVs sold in the United States is exploding, along with the number of miles driven on vacation. The convergence of these trends gives vacation rental owners a new way to attract and satisfy guests—and potentially to generate revenue.
EV growth of 108% in 2021 doubled the global EV market share year over year to 8.3% and 6.75 million vehicles sold, according to Seeking Alpha. In the United States alone, drivers purchased 735,000 EVs in 2021, almost double the year before. By 2040, zero-emission vehicles will account for 70% of new passenger models globally, says a Bloomberg New Energy Finance study. According to Transportation Safety Administration data, road travel is approaching levels only slightly lower than before the pandemic.
Many short-term rental booking platforms like Airbnb and booking.com list EV charging among property amenities. The vacation rental market continues to expand as major rental companies like Airbnb report record growth. Recently, Airbnb reported that more than 850,000 listings include chargers among their amenities for EV owners and tenants. Also, more than 500,000 unique searches for EV chargers between June and December of that year were counted in 2021. In a recent Enel X Way survey, over 1500 JuiceBox customer participants shared their electric vehicle and electric vehicle charging preferences for driving-distance travel. Over 52% of respondents use Airbnb for their vacation rental plans, and additional findings include:
- If rental properties could guarantee a Level 2 charge for their guests, 74% of respondents would drive their EV on more road trips.
- 81% of respondents shared that access to Level 2 charging points influences their travel plans.
- More than 67% of respondents stated that access to a DC fast- charging station on route was very important for road travel that is more than 200 miles.
- 44% of respondents shared they drive their electric vehicles on road trips and 22% of respondents shared they sometimes drive their electric vehicles on road trips.
- More than 76% of participants took up to 4 vacation road trips in the last year.
- Let’s take a closer look at the benefits, requirements, and potential earnings from installing EV charging at your short-term rental.
The anxiety of EV charging away from home
Consider an EV driver who is also a government worker living in Northern Virginia near the nation’s capital. On a three-day holiday weekend, the family decides to visit the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains for golf or skiing. The trip is only 175 miles—but long enough that most EVs will need charging to allow outings and the return home. That creates a dilemma: finding an accessible and operable charging station in a rural area known more for its wineries than its EV charging infrastructure.
This quandary opens the door for vacation rental owners to attract EV drivers, provide a great experience, and generate a new revenue stream. More than 80% of EV owners charge at their EV home charging station, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. So, most EV drivers already enjoy the convenience of being able to charge where they sleep.
Owner benefits of vacation rental charging
Providing EV charging at your vacation rental sets your property apart, especially when there are no hotels with EV charging available. As EV adoption grows, so will the need for EV charging at rental properties—but few owners provide it yet.
EV drivers represent an attractive demographic for your rental, especially if your property is upscale. Although EV ownership has grown exponentially for the last decade, drivers still tend to be mostly males aged 40-55 years, with annual household incomes of more than $100,000, according to the Electric Vehicle Council EV Consumer Behavior. More than 70 percent are college-educated, says CarMax.
Providing Level 2 charging can also entice guests concerned about climate change, especially environmentally conscious Gen Z and Millennial drivers. By offering this amenity, you may even be able to raise the rates for your property. But typically, EV charging at vacation rentals is an amenity charged at a daily flat fee. That leaves open the potential to generate revenue by giving authorized guests access to EV charging if your charging station can handle payment processing.
Various platforms offer software capabilities that let owners authenticate a guest who selects EV charging and collect payment directly. Activation occurs when either the property manager enables charging, or the guest does via a QR code on the charger or in an email. Recently, Enel X Way and Ok2Charge announced a partnership under which Enel X Way will provide Ok2Charge with co-branded smart electric vehicle charging stations to be installed across vacation rental properties in the U.S. As the first solution designed specifically for the vacation rental market, the Ok2Charge smart EV charging platform integrates with major property management systems to provide an industry-first fully automated EV charging solution as a property amenity and can be deployed across a portfolio of managed properties. The agreement delivers a turnkey charging solution for managers and owners of vacation rental properties to provide an important amenity to the growing number of EV drivers who take their vehicles on vacation. The Ok2Charge platform provides charging based on guest and reservation data to fully automate access and control. User-friendly reports can be exported for each location or portfolio wide, enabling property managers to monitor usage, energy consumption, and financial performance.
Whether you’re planning to install Level 2 chargers, Level 3 chargers, or both, having the information and control only smart chargers offer is critical to getting the most value from your EVSE. “Smart” chargers, like Enel X Way’s JuiceBox Pro and JuiceBox, are distinguished from the rest by charging platforms like JuiceNet, which give operators clear lines of sight into how much energy they’re using, when they're using it, and what it’s costing. User-friendly apps powered by the platform also offer EV drivers visibility into their charging progress from wherever they are, taking the guesswork out of charging.
Installation and incentives for charging station infrastructure
If you don’t have a Level 2 charging station on your property, EV drivers may be tempted to plug into your 110 V wall outlets, which will charge their EVs sufficiently but at a painfully slow rate. To make the reach from your driveway inside your home easier, they may be tempted to use an extension cord. All EV manufacturers warn against this practice due to the risk of electrical shock and fires. Your EV-driving visitors may be savvy enough to realize they can charge faster by unplugging your gas range or dryer, another undesirable scenario.
EV charging should use a dedicated circuit that runs directly from the panel to the receptacle and is rated for continuous-amperage duty. Installation of a hard-wired Level 2 charging station that runs on a 240 V circuit requires a licensed electrician, especially if the existing panel needs an upgrade to accommodate the new high-amperage circuit. Hardwiring also provides a watertight connection capable of handling rain, snow, sleet, and ice, making it a solid option for outdoor use.
To subsidize the costs, utilities across North America are offering thousands of incentive dollars to residential and business customers who purchase and install Level 2 charging stations. Enel X Way’s incentive and rebate tracker provides a constantly updated list of available opportunities by state.
Supporting electric mobility provides an exceptional guest experience that will help attract EV drivers to your property and turn them into repeat visitors. To learn more about installing an EV charging station at your vacation rental property, contact us here.