EV Charging Stations are Coming to Your Hotel

Each year there is an increase in the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1 million EVs are expected to be on the road by 2015.  These vehicles will not only be individually-owned, they’ll also be available through car rental agencies.  Car rental agencies have been increasing their EV fleets each year because more people looking for a greener approach to traveling.  So, whether your guest has rented an EV or is traveling in their vehicle, green fueling options are becoming necessary.  These green fueling options come in the form of EV charging stations.

An electric vehicle is an automobile that is powered by an electric motor.  The motor uses electrical energy that’s stored in the car batteries.  When the batteries need to be recharged, it is done at a charging station.  Thus, an EV charging station is a structure that supplies electric energy for recharging electric vehicles.  An individual who owns an EV will have a charging station in their home.  They’ll also want and need to “top off” their energy source at outside locations.  You’re starting to see charging stations pop up in store parking lots, hotels, and garages.  Some charging stations have the ability to e-mail or text users when their vehicles have finished charging.  And, there are also sources to help EV owners locate a charging station.

The two most common types of charging stations are a Level 1 Charging Station and a Level 2 Charging Station.  A Level 1 Charging Station is most commonly found in a residential environment and requires a 120-volt, single-phase outlet.   Depending on your vehicle make, fully charging an EV at a Level 1 Charging Station takes between eight to fourteen hours.  A Level 2 Charging Station is more often found in commercial settings with a 220-volt service and is the only charging station that can be used on EVs produced in 2010 and after.  Because the voltage is higher, a Level 2 Charging Station charges the batteries five times faster than a Level 1.   A typical full charge is between four to eight hours. 

The cost for a Level 2 EV Charging Station is approximately $5,000 per unit.  In addition to purchasing the EV unit, you’ll also want to consider where it will be located on your property.  The closer the unit is to a 220/240 volt, 40 amp circuit, the less expensive it will be.  Conversely, the farther away the unit is, the more expensive it becomes to supply the power source and install lines to carry the charge.  A federal rebate is currently available to help offset the cost of a charging station and many local utility companies are also offering incentives.  So, be sure to check out the federal rebate along with any local incentives before you make a purchase.

Don’t be reluctant to offer the electricity from your hotel’s charging station(s) free-of-charge as a promotional advantage.  To give you an idea of how much the electricity cost will be for charging a Chevy Volt, assuming the U.S. national average electricity rate in 2011 of 12¢ per kWh, you’re giving away less than $1 per charge.

When your hotel guests start requesting a charging station, will you be ready?   If prospective guests search for venues with charging stations, will your hotel be listed?

Resources
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/electricity_locations.html
http://www.doe.gov/articles/energy-101-electric-vehicles
http://hotelexecutive.com/subscribe/2366/
http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2012/01/31/are-electric-car-charging-stations-new-must-have-hotel-amenity/
http://energy.gov/articles/facts-electric-vehicles-interview-pat-davis