One of the biggest questions in hospitality is “Do we charge the guests for EV charging?”.
The real question is not if, it’s how much.
When contemplating offering EV charging as an amenity, the first thought is often to provide the charging to the guests for free. Seems reasonable, after all, it only costs the hotel around $8 in electricity so why not. We keep a guest happy or book an extra room so it seems reasonable. The problem that comes with giving away EV charging is when it really starts to scale. When we start having 10 or more vehicles staying the night and using our chargers it starts to add up.
Don’t Give Away Free Gas!
The good news is, most EV drivers expect to pay something to charge their vehicles when away from home. When we have talked with EV drivers the sentiment is mostly the same, they expect to pay something for getting a charge, they just expect it to be fair and reasonable. This leads us to the real question. What is a fair and reasonable amount to charge a guest for utilizing our EV charging solution?
Establishing Fair Market Rates
An important factor to understand when establishing your EV charging rates is that your guest will have to charge their car at some point. If you do not have charging available, they will have to find a local charger at some point either before or after their stay. So researching the local area to see what others are charging is a good starting point. Be sure to look at the DC fast charging options around your property, not the Level 2 options. A guest will not want to get up in the morning and go plug into a free charger at the library and sit for 5 hours getting a full charge. They will definitely look for a local supercharger location. The rates established in the local supercharger locations can be a great starting point.
Next, we need to consider the convenience factor. When a guest stays at your property and has to charge their vehicle at a local station in the morning they could be faced with lines to access the charger and will have to spend at least twenty to thirty minutes charging their car. This whole process can take an hour or more and talk about a boring start to the morning. So there is a huge convenience factor for your guest to be able to wake up to a fully charged vehicle. What is this worth to your guest? $5? $10? Obviously, this will vary per guest, but for me, I know this would be worth $20 or more.
The third thing we look at is the other local options for charging their vehicle overnight. Are there other hotels offering EV charging services in the area? What are they charging for this service? Are they in direct competition with us? Using this information we can decide how we might want to structure our rates.
We recommend that hotels, where allowable, establish their rates based on consumption or per kilowatt-hour. This is the fairest way to charge since each guest will pay for the amount of energy they consume. Some states only allow electric companies to charge per kWh, so in those areas, we recommend a time-based charge or per-hour charge.
Calculating Your Rate
Calculating what rate you want to charge is a simple process. Start by checking your current electric bill to determine what you pay per kWh for electricity. Be sure to include any add-on fees that may be based on your electricity consumption rate like transmission fees, etc. This is the bare minimum you should charge your guests. Starting with this as the base, you can then consider what you want to add to this like the cost of the chargers, cost of the services, and potential return on investment. Add those to your base rate to determine what you want to charge your guests. Compare that to others in the local area and set your price.
If you have any questions about rates or need some help setting rates at your location, feel free to reach out to one of our team members.