November 11, 2021

The opportunity for hotels and vacation rentals to add EV chargers

EV parked outside an apartment building

As the government, utilities, automakers, and EV charging station manufacturers invest in meeting the growing demand for electric vehicles, more convenient access to EV charging stations will be needed. In spite of COVID-19 production challenges, the first two quarters of 2021 represented the strongest quarters of EV sales growth on record, with sales nearly doubling those of the previous two quarters.


By September 2021, there were around 110,000 Level 2 and 3 public electric vehicle EV chargers servicing the more than 1.6 million EV drivers across the United States. In order to hit President Biden’s 2030 target of EVs representing 50% of all new car sales, the number of public EV charging stations needs to increase tenfold in the next eight years. That stands to benefit a number of businesses like hotels, which can take advantage of state and utility incentives to bring EV charging to their locations and save over 90% on total project costs.


The opportunity for hotels and vacation rentals to add EV chargers

With the announcement of Hertz purchasing 100,000 electric cars from Tesla, the EV rental car market just got a bit brighter. Typically, drivers could find an EV rental on Turo, but this announcement signals additional widespread electric vehicle adoption. Vacation rental vehicles will represent an increasingly large percent of EV drivers on holiday. Giving those drivers the option to charge their vehicle at their hotel or a vacation rental could be a meaningful advantage in attracting guests.


What’s more, 56% of EV buyers had household incomes over $100,000 when last measured in 2019, well over the $68,703 median household income that year. This increased spending power could translate to longer stays, higher tier room selection, and more upgrades.


Taken together, hotels and vacation rental properties are offering electric car charging stations as an amenity to cater to the evolving customer needs. Stand to gain in several ways: they can attract more footfall and higher-income guests, futureproof their business at a subsidized cost and improve sustainability metrics.


Hotels with EV charging are ahead of the curve (for now)

In 2020, British Columbia had the highest rate of EV car sales across North America, hovering at 10%. Reading the tea leaves, its capital Vancouver has now mandated that 100% of parking spaces in new hotels have EV chargers. While it’s the first mandate for hotels in North America to require 100% of parking spaces have EV supply equipment (EVSE) installed, other cities have adopted similar building mandates.


EV drivers can filter hotel based charging stations on PlugShare to plan their next EV road trip. See examples below.


 Location  Hotel-Based Charging Stations  Hotels  Market Penetration 
Phoenix Metro10850022%
Kansas City Metro3232010%
New Orleans172836%


These estimates reveal a unique opportunity for hotels to set themselves apart because less than a quarter of hotels in these major cities have EV charging stations installed today. With so much untapped potential, how do hotels select EV equipment and make an installation plan?


Vacation rentals

Enel X Way, partner, OK2Charge, dominates a big piece of the vacation rental market and is white labeling our JuiceBox smart EV charging stations for its thousands of weekend rental properties. What differentiates OK2Charge from roadside charging statons is that it meets you at any travel destination, making you and your EV feel at home anywhere. Plans and packages are avilable for any size property or function to meet the growing EV driver demand.


How to get the best EV charging setup for your hotel

For hotel operators and vacation rental property owners ready to invest in EVSE, incentives are often available. Utilities across North America are offering thousands of incentive dollars to commercial businesses to purchase and install EVSE. Enel X Way’s incentive and rebate tracker provides a constantly updated list of available opportunities by state.


EV infrastructure ownership gives hotels agency over how they’ll price charging, whether EV owners and drivers will pay per use or it will be complimentary for guests, diners, or everyone. While offering EV charging as a complimentary amenity to paying guests may make estimating ROI more complex, the new business it drives may be well worth it. Already Expedia and filter hotels with EV charging available. As Google Maps, Kayak, and other leading search engines offer an EV charging filter for hotels, it will only become easier for EV drivers to find you.


What type of EV charging station is right for your hotel

Level 2 EV chargers are the most common charging stations used at hotels and vacation rentals, given the dwell time of most guests. The charging stations use a 240V outlet to push through up to nine times as much electricity as Level 1 charger. While they use more kW than Level 1 chargers, they still offer a good balance of energy use per unit cost. Level 3 chargers use direct current (DC) as opposed to the standard alternating current (AC) to optimize for speed. They charge up to 16 times faster than Level 2 chargers, routinely taking a car’s charge from near empty to 80% within 45 minutes, which has earned them titles like “supercharger” and “DC Fast Charging” or DCFC.


While every hotel’s needs are different, being able to offer both Level 2 and Level 3 chargers provides the best of both worlds. Level 2 smart chargers perhaps strike a better balance of guest convenience and building energy usage. But Level 3 chargers are ev charging points better suited to the needs of midday roadtrippers who may be looking for a meal or a quick detour. For instance, none of the 69 hotel-based charging stations in San Francisco mapped by PlugShare are DCFCs.


Why smart chargers are essential for hotel EV charging

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.


Smart chargers also serve cost-conscious hotel operators by:​

  • factoring information about the hotel’s electricity rate structure into performance,
  • throttling pump speeds to avoid costly energy demand spikes
  • and pushing more energy into vehicles at times of day when electricity is cheapest.


This can make a dramatic difference to the cost of operation when hotel guests have their vehicles plugged in overnight.


Between the financial incentives available for EVSE installation and the massive uptick in EV sales, the timing for hotel operators to install electric car chargers has never been better.

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