EV Charging: The Future’s Must-Have Hotel Amenity
The EV market is set to explode in the coming years. Why should the hospitality industry care? The U.S. charging network is 460,000 chargers short of meeting the demand for EV drivers – a demand that will only continue to skyrocket. To properly address the market’s demand, alternative charging locations need to be considered and established – quickly. Here’s where hotels come in. The growing EV market poses an opportunity for the hospitality industry to act as a stop-point along travel corridors for guests to both recharge themselves and their vehicles.
Hotels, the Perfect Hub for EV Charging
There are hurdles limiting the potential and adoption of EVs nationally. Notably, the North American gird – one of the first implemented globally – is less powerful and less robust compared to European and Asian counterparts that were constructed later. At a high level, America's grid is long overdue for an infrastructure upgrade. But, in the interim, EV drivers need increased accessibility to charging stations.
Hotels, which are conveniently located near highways, have large parking lots and the existing electrical infrastructure for their facilities. Given this, they would make an excellent location for fast-charging EV stations, if their infrastructure was compatible with EV Charging hardware. EV charging is a real-estate play – though a hotel may be in a great location, the existing infrastructure may be incompatible with most EV chargers on the market. Most hotels are built around 208v/110v electrical systems; however, most direct-current fast chargers (DCFC) require 480v input to function, something that’s much less common at hotels and commercial sites natively.
The issue is that 480v solutions frequently require an accompanying transformer to support grid capacity, drastically increasing installation costs and time to install, which are already pricey to begin with. This high installation cost is often the biggest prohibitor of hotels aiming to implement EV charging solutions. But, utilizing the right level 3 fast-charger, particularly solutions built for the existing 208v service, deployments can be done at a reasonable cost, and businesses can see an ROI as early as within four years.
There are existing, successful use cases of EV chargers implemented at hotels, such as the one located in Wingate by Wyndham Tinley Park or in a variety of Holiday Inn locations. Hotels often have coffee shops, restaurants, and convenience stores already close by, elevating the charging experience for EV drivers.
On the other hand, fast charging can appeal to guests utilizing a hotel’s facilities but are not necessarily checking in for the night, such as those attending conferences and conventions. This poses a great opportunity for hotels to tap into the market of guests driving EVs, which is more important than ever as the electric car rental market is expected to reach $20.42 billion by 2027.
EV Charging’s Secret Sauce
Inspired by evolving consumer needs and demands, the hospitality industry has always been at the forefront of innovation in design, facilities and services, such as implementing contactless transactions during the pandemic or robots for a seamless workflow. By installing EV charging stations on-premises at locations such as hotels or restaurants, consumers can enjoy both their visit and their charging experience.
Aside from hotels, there is another opportunity for hospitality to tap into the EV market. Fast-food franchises are handily designed for customers to drive up and stay for a bit. Adding EV charging stations could capitalize on the growing demand for chargers while increasing traffic to a business.
For example, the popular franchise Sonic Drive-In would make a prime candidate for EV charging implementation. It’s a place where people are going to be with their vehicles for 20-30 minutes, or even longer, which provides plenty of time to charge with a Level 3 charger. These locations are an ideal placement for DCFC chargers, as a business engineered around travelers on the go and a drive-in dining experience. Imagine a fuel station where you can easily charge up your EV while enjoying a slushy and some fries.
Hotels can tap into this same market to appeal to those travelers looking for a shorter break than the ones hotels typically offer. Implementing fast chargers would make room for travelers on shorter trips, conference and convention attendees, those aiming to get to their destinations quicker, or even those in the community looking for a nice spot to relax while charging up their vehicles.
EV Charging – The Amenity of the Future
The hospitality industry has the chance to increase EV charging – and provide travelers with another reason to choose their establishment over the competition. EV charging infrastructure is necessary for travelers on the go, which makes businesses such as hotels or fast-food restaurants the perfect new fuel station of the future.
Over time, guests driving EVs will see this as a decision-making factor while booking their stay and will be able to easily find hotels with EV charging stations, just as they can search for hotels with a continental breakfast or a hot tub.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aatish Patel is the President and Co-founder of XCharge North America, leading the charge to enhance the potential of electric vehicle adoption nationally by improving EV charger accessibility and charging capabilities. Before Aatish became a founding member of XCharge North America, he was an XCharge customer. He previously worked in hospitality, where he installed an EV charging station at one of the hotels he oversaw. Aatish united with XCharge and utilized his engineering and product development expertise to redesign their EV chargers in accordance with the North American grid infrastructure. Before leading XCharge North America, Patel received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New York University and an M.A. in Management from Harvard.