You hear about electric vehicles in the news, park next to them at the grocery store, and your friends may even own a couple. This new technology is taking over the US and if you haven’t already implemented an EV charging station, it may be time to start looking into the benefits and costs of installing a charging station at your property.
In general, most electric vehicle drivers are willing to pay more for accomodations in order to avoid having to figure out where they’ll charge after the spend the night. It is a massive part of doing any lengthy road trip in an electric vehicle.
Domaine Madeleine in Port Angeles, WA decided to take the plunge and install EV chargers while prices are cheap instead of waiting for demand to increase the prices later. With multiple car manufacturers pledging to not only increase the number of electric vehicles produced, but to discontinue their internal combustion vehicles, the demand for EV charging stations is expected to grow exponentially.
So how many people actually stay with an inn for their EV charging stations?
Carson Ridge Cabins in Carson, WA reported that they have had about 30 guests since 2017 stay with them for access to the EV charging station. Domaine Madeleine mentioned that they usually have at least 1 guest per month find their property and stay with them for their EV station. This number is expected to grow due to the growth of the electric vehicle market.
How to Install an EV Charger:
1. Decide which EV charger is right for your property.
There are 3 types of chargers that you can install at your property. Level 1 Charging Stations utilize the same voltage as a standard wall outlet. These are very versatile and on the more affordable side, but take longer to complete a charge. Level 2 Charging Stations utilize the same power as a dryer outlet. These chargers will shorten the time it takes to charge a car but will not be able to plug into a standard wall outlet without an adapter that will slow down charging to a level 1 rate. DC fast charging will charge a car to full in an hour, instead of 5 hours, but will raise the startup fees by quite a bit. For inns and B&Bs, DC fast charging isn’t a necessity as your guests are planning on staying the night and do not require ultra fast charging.
Most of these chargers come in two types of units; a hardwired and a plug in unit. A hardwired unit is a more permanent installment that will require an electrician to set up and can be installed both indoors and outdoors. A plug in unit plugs directly into an existing dryer outlet and is better suited for indoors. For an inn, a hardwired unit will most likely be the best option for ease of use for your guests.
When shopping for chargers you may have to choose between a Tesla specific charger and a standard level-2 plug. Tesla chargers can only charge Tesla cars, but every car (even a Tesla with an adapter) can use the standard level-2 plug.
A standard level 2 charger using 220 volts will add around 25 miles of range per hour, therefore this configuration makes the most sense for inns and B&Bs where people generally leave their car parked for more than 8 hours.
2. Determine the costs to install a charger at your property.
An EV charging station has 3 main costs, the hardware costs of the physical charger, the installation cost paid to a local electrician, and the cost of electricity.
- Physical Charger Cost: You can purchase the charger directly from a retailer, or even off of Amazon! Prices range from $300 to $1000 depending on the brand and charging level. To market to the most guests, you could get one Tesla specific charger and one universal charger that charges all other electric vehicles.
- Installation Cost: This cost varies greatly depending on your electrician’s hourly rate, your existing electrical load, and the ease of implementation at your property. Before committing to purchasing a charger, get a quote from an electrician to ensure the installation costs are affordable.
- Running Cost: You do have to pay for electricity to charge your guest’s vehicles. The amount depends on your local cost for electricity and how often your charging station is actually being used. Carson Ridge Cabins in Carson, WA noted that the cost to complete a full EV charge is usually around $3 per vehicle.
3. Search for rebates & subsidies in your area.
Some municipalities offer special tax incentives to help with the cost of implementation. You can contact your local electricity utility company or city government to ask if they offer any rebates or subsidies in your area. A good place to start is on Plug-In-America’s online Incentive Finder. Search by zipcode and you can see any tax credits and rebates as well as electricity discounts. You can also look for partnerships through associations and manufacturers. Carson Ridge Cabins capitalized on an amazing offer through Select Registry & Tesla in 2017 where Tesla covered the cost of 2 chargers and installation as long as they did not charge customers extra to charge their cars. These great offers surface from time to time so keep your eye out!
Promoting your EV Charging Station:
1. Add to your amenities page.
Add a little section to your amenities page about your EV charger. Make sure to describe the type of charger that you have (Level 1 or 2), the voltage, and mention that it is complimentary to your guests. Another recommendation is to suggest that your guests call ahead to ‘reserve’ the charging station for their night. You wouldn’t want multiple guests needing to use the charger at the same time.
2. Update your Google My Business listing.
Updating your Google Business listing is one of the best ways to ensure that potential guests looking for accommodations with EV chargers find your inn in google searches. (In Google My Business see Info > Hotel Attributes > Parking & Transportation > Electric Car Charging Stations)
3. Create a blog post & share on Facebook.
A blog post is one of the simplest ways to let your guests know about your latest installment. Share your post to Facebook and showcase in your monthly newsletter to help get the word out!
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Get on the listing sites.
Tesla’s Destination Charging site, Plugshare, and Chargeway are all apps well known in the electric vehicle community. People use these resources to plan their vacations and road trips. To become a Tesla destination charger, you have to have a Tesla specific charging station and will be automatically added to their list of approved sites after installment. For Plugshare and Chargeway, you have to manually add your property to their site for it to be showcased on their maps. Plugshare is an absolute necessity for promoting your EV charging station. This app is the equivalent of Google Maps for EV drivers. To maximize your listing on these sites, add a little bit about your inn to entice guests to stay with you. Domaine Madeline’s listing reads, “Stay at our lovely inn and contribute to a better environment; guests have access to a Level 2 charger powered by 7.8 Kw solar panels for a carbon-neutral vacation” instead of plainly stating their charging capacity. These links to your site also offer a great SEO benefit. To learn how links help with your SEO head read our blog post How to Level up Your SEO with Links
The times are changing and electric vehicles are taking up a larger portion of the car market each year. You can capitalize on this growing trend and draw more guests to your property because of it! There are several outstanding resources to determine the right charging station for your property, estimating monthly costs, and promoting your new EV charging station. Forth, a nonprofit group advancing the implementation of electric vehicles through advocacy, education, and industry development is an excellent source for information. Plug-In America is another great resource to learn about local tax incentives for installing eV charging stations and compare different brands of EV chargers. If you’re looking for that competitive edge to take your property to the next level, then consider installing an EV charging station at your inn.