Summer road trippers in the United States be warned: electric vehicle charging stations are rare at the average hotel or inn.
They may be becoming more commonplace in other public and private spaces in the U.S. and Canada—and more are coming soon to gas stations. But EV chargers remain “still largely absent” in traveller accommodations, reports Bloomberg, citing [pdf] a 2020 survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA).
Of 17,000 hotels surveyed, just over a quarter (26.6%) had EV charging stations on their properties.
The report also reveals a link between the wealth of the paying guests and whether EV charging stations are present onsite. “Luxury hotels have the highest uptake rate of 89.6%,” while mid-range hotels run between 30 and 40%. Hotels located on motorways and in small metro or town areas are far less likely to have EV chargers, with prevalence at 20%.
Bloomberg’s own anecdotal research verifies the trend: “Calling around to more than two dozen Super 8s and Days Inns across the country, not a single one had a charger.”
The hotel industry is aware of this lapse as EV ownership grows. “It’s something we’re going to be very focused on in the years ahead,” said Geoff Ballotti, CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the largest hotel group in the U.S. and the company behind the Days Inn and Super 8 brands. “We’re partnering with some of the nation’s leading EV charging companies and we have a series of models that we’ve offered to our franchisees.”
Another obstacle for EV owners trying to plan their trips is the lack of any standard communication practice for hotels to indicate charger access on their various promotional platforms. Some hotels provide no information at all about charging stations, while others offer filters on their mobile apps, but not on their website.
Travel booking websites like Expedia, Kayak, and Airbnb are currently filling this gap, allowing users to apply a “charger access” filter to their accommodation search. According to Airbnb, as of February 2022, some 850,000 properties were listing EV charging as an amenity.
With EV sales rising, savvy hoteliers will want to move accordingly, said AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “The demand is coming,” he said, and hotels that can get ahead of the curve will have an edge with customers.