Main Photo: The looming subject of EV charging in hotels
Date: July 2021
Location: Global…Initially in the UK…Rest of the World to follow
Name: EV – Electric Vehicle Charging in Hotels
What’s the Issue? EV – ? Electric Vehicles …The Future! In the UK and most of Europe, governments aim to have net-zero emissions and the end of sales of new petrol and diesel cars by….2030, less than ten years from now. How clued up are hoteliers? How clued up is the average motorist? In our opinion, neither would score much out of 10!
There are three basic ways to charge an electric car: at home, at work, or at a public charging point, including hotels.
Home charging: Want to start each day with a ‘full tank’? Charging each night at home will provide all the daily driving range the average driver will need. You can charge an EV car using a regular domestic UK 3 pin socket ….. and it’s bad enough for hoteliers already with the difference between domestic appliance plugs, UK, Rest of Europe and the USA!, but a dedicated home EV charger is the better option by far.
Dedicated EV home chargers typically deliver around 7kW of power. In contrast, most vehicle manufacturers limit the current drawn from a standard domestic 3 pin socket to 10amp or less, which equates to a maximum of 2.3kW.
How much does it cost to install an electric car charger at home: The typical cost of a home charge point is around £800. Under its Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, OZEV, the UK Office for Zero Emmission Vehicles, currently offers a grant of up to 75% of this cost, capped at a maximum grant of £350.
Workplace charging: Charging points at work help make electric cars viable for commuters who live further away from their homes. If your work doesn’t have an electric vehicle charge point installed, it could take advantage of the Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS).
The WCS is a voucher-based scheme that provides a contribution towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle to the value of £300 per socket – up to a maximum of 20 sockets. Employers can apply for vouchers using the Workplace Charging Scheme application. So apart from your guest, you need to think about your employees, especially for out-of-town rural hotels.
Public charging: Public EV chargers can be found at service stations, car parks, supermarkets, cinemas, even just at the side of the road…..and hotels! Public chargers at service stations fulfil the role of our current forecourts and are best suited for longer journeys, with a rapid charging unit providing up to 80% of charge in as little as 20-30 minutes.
EV and Hotels: Only a small proportion of (UK) hotels have embraced what is coming…of the more than 23,000 charging devices on Zap-Map, only around 2,400 of them, as of April 2021, are associated with hotels or similar accommodation. That’s just 10% of all EV charging devices in the UK. On the Zap-Map “find a hotel with EV charging site” around 1,400 UK hotels (out of 14,000 odd) are listed!
EV charging networks: There are a number of public EV charging networks in the UK, each one taking a slightly different approach to charger access. Polar is the UK’s largest public charging network. Access is granted via an app or membership card, and is available as a pay-as-you-go or subscription service. Ecotricity also asks its customers to register via an app, which is used to control the charging process. Meanwhile, Tesla owners simply turn up at a Supercharger station and wait for their EV to be recharged.
There are regional charging networks too, but many of them also offer access to customers of larger EV networks.
Cost to Charge: To fully charge an electric car at home it costs around £5.
To charge an EV to 80% at a public rapid charger (the level you normally would) it costs around £7 to £10.
Naturally, this varies depending on the location, tariff, energy cost, battery capacity, charging speed and charge level, but we can say for certain that charging an EV far undercuts fuel costs for a petrol or diesel car. The above estimates were calculated using Zap-Map’s fantastic home charging calculator and public charging calculator.
How long does it take to charge an electric car: How long it takes to charge an EV depends on the size of the battery and the type of charger – which is defined by the power in kW.
Rapid charging: Using a rapid charger typically takes around 45 mins – 1 hour for an 80% charge, rising to around 1.5 hours for the longer range EVs with larger batteries.
Rapid charge times are generally quoted to 80% charge because beyond this, the charging speed automatically tapers off to prevent battery damage. However, even when rapid charging on a long journey you often won’t need to charge for this long. For example, 15 minutes of charging typically gives you a 30-40 mile range which you may know would be enough to complete your journey.
Rapid DC chargers usually provide up to 50kW of power, while rapid AC units are rated up to 43kW. There are also DC-only ultra-rapid chargers which can charge at 100kW and above. Usually ultra-rapid chargers are 150kW, but they can get as high as 350kW.
Don’t even get started on adaptors! This is where things get slightly more complicated because there isn’t yet a universal connector for electric vehicles and the different chargers. Each charger type (slow, fast and rapid) have their own set of connectors for low or high power, and for AC or DC charging.
Rapid chargers use what are known as tethered cables i.e. they are permanently connected to and cannot be removed from the charging unit. In the UK most rapid chargers have two cables providing the two most popular rapid charge connectors (CHAdeMO and CCS) so you simply select and use the one that fits your EV.
Many electric cars have sat nav gizmos that recognise public car charge locations and can direct you to those within range.
Can electric cars charge themselves: Not completely, although recently some manufacturers have begun calling non-plug-in hybrid vehicles ‘self-charging’ hybrids because they recharge their batteries via regenerative braking, or a generator powered by their internal combustion engine.
This term has the potential to confuse since all hybrids, whether plug-in or not, and all EVs have the ability to ‘self-charge’ their batteries to some degree when they brake.
Some suppliers specific to hotels: Linda Grave of EV Driver, says “one area which is in urgent need of EV charging is the Hotel sector. Although some independent and chain hotels cut to the chase with purchases of charge units for their guests, most hotels across the UK have an evident lack of chargers.
EV drivers want to charge at their destination and will actively search for places to stay where they can fill up overnight, so now is the time for hotels to really think about getting on board and catering to a whole new customer base. There is a lot to be said about hotels that make the journey easier and less anxiety inducing for EV drivers as they do not have to worry about where their next charge will come from. They can travel with peace of mind knowing that they can fill up on electrons when they arrive.”
A common misconception of EV charging, is that it is complicated in some way to have charge units installed and maintained. This, however, is far from the truth. With many installation, upkeep, and customer services available, having a charge unit installed at your site is easily said and even more easily done. With solutions such as a fully funded model, CaaS (Charging as a Service) and buying it outright, the choice really is yours. EV Driver Consultancy is a UK based Consultancy service to help you demystify charging and find solutions appropriate for your business.
One such client is Ufford Park Hotel, a beautiful country golf hotel in the heart of Suffolk. Out of the way of any town centres or public amenities, this hotel went for it, on the EV charging front and have not regretted it for a single moment. Hotel Manager Max Moussa has said: “We’ve definitely seen an increase in business because of the Charge Point. We have had inquiries of whether EV charging is something that we can offer, in which case we are chosen as the preferable location in comparison to other hotels in the area who do not offer this facility”. Ufford Park has ensured that they are on the map for EV drivers and are frequently chosen as a hotel destination over Hotels that are closer to town centres and amenities.
Premier Inn are introducing the GeniePoint Network of high-powered electric vehicle chargers at Premier Inn hotels across the country, starting in 2021. Launching at almost 300 sites (of their 800 UK hotels, including city-centre locations) their over the next three years. They say “these charge points for electric cars are easy to use – all you’ll need to do is download the GeniePoint app, locate your nearest Premier Inn hotel with points installed, and get charging”
Barrie Roberts of Future PowerGen is spearheading a nationwide campaign to get the hospitality sector back on its feet considering recent government announcements. The Government has mobilised £5 billion for the sector which is available for carbon reduction technologies such as electric vehicle charge points, new interior LED fit-outs and solar technologies to name a few.
Besides hotels, Future PowerGen are working closely with Golf Clubs in this same arena and have a LinkedIn forum going, that is use for both sectors, covering EV, LED Lighting and Solar Energy.
For mainstream hotel groups, they carry out full consumption audits and can implement state of the art, cost reduction technologies such as Demand Response Modules, CHP plants, onsite power generation options and Power Purchase Agreements.
They also have good advice on how HMRC are offering “Super-Deduction” benefits, worth a look at.
Elsewhere: Australia… Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular and mainstream by the day. In fact, it’s predicted that car manufacturers will stop selling petrol cars in Australia by 2027.
As such, EV charging is quickly becoming essential infrastructure for commercial entities, including hotels. Before booking their stay, more and more guests are checking whether a hotel has EV charging facilities. Resolve Technical Solutions can provide cost-effective, turnkey EV solutions for one’s hotel, ensuring they maximise EV patronage, offer the ultimate convenience to your guests and commit to a greener future.
THPT Comment: Well clearly the issue is amongst us, and good to see chains like Premier Inn embracing the solution…We are keen to hear from hoteliers on solutions in countries outside the UK – who’s making the best headway! and who isn’t!
The Hotel Property Team (THPT) is a small group of highly experienced business professionals. Between us, we provide a range of skills and experience which is directly relevant to those involved in the hotel property market.