Vroom! Get your motors started – your electric motors that is. While it comes as no surprise that the hotel business is among the most competitive and fast-paced industries in the world, the latest trend in customer satisfaction may have some hotel owners shifting into higher gears than ever before.

Electric charging stations – driving change across the country

According to Fox News, providing customers with the ability to charge their electric vehicle is the latest trend making its way through the Canadian hotel industry. In support of the claim, charging stations are popping up across the country, funded by some of the biggest names in the business.

In British Columbia, all three of the Fairmont hotels, including the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, and the Fairmont Empress in Victoria have adopted electronic charging stations. Tourist hotspots in Ontario like Niagara-on-the-Lake are also seeing a rise in hotels, like the White Oaks Resort and Spa, offering the service, free of charge. The Hilton Garden Inn is the latest to have installed a level 2 EV charger, offering guests a free charge at one of two “green” parking places (the spots are also appropriately painted green in colour) reserved for electric cars. Managing Director of Marketing and Sales of the Hilton Garden Inn, Frank Vismeg, suggests that the spread of EV charging stations is one trend that isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon: “I assume two years from now, almost every hotel will have at least one electric charging station,” said Vismeg in a statement published by the St. Catherine’s Standard,

Hotels leading the charge in welcoming the EV

Vismeg isn’t the only one who foresees a rise in demand for electric chargers. Having caught wind of the growing demand in electric charging stations, which has increased due to the popularity of vehicles like the Chevy Volt, cities are also working to provide visitors with the option to re-charge. “We had a Tesla (car) here the other day … and also a hybrid electric pickup truck. It’s free to use. We’re paying for the power,” says Phil Ritchie, owner of several buildings located in the downtown Niagara Falls district.

The city hopes to see over 500,000 electric vehicles on Canadian roads by 2018, a predication made by a research agency of the federal Natural Resources department, seen in the Niagara Falls Review. Cities in the U.S will want to start making preparations even sooner as the U.S Department of Energy suspects over 1 million drivers will be using EVs by 2015.

The ins and outs of the EV

There’s a lot of hype around the electronic car, but what makes it so much more energy efficient than your regular gas guzzling automobile? With the help of fueleconomy.gov, we’ve tried to sum up why people are making EVs their transit method of choice.

Electric vehicles are propelled by electric motors, powered by rechargeable battery packs. This means that these cars emit no tailpipe pollutants. While some argue that the factories producing the electricity that “fuel” these cars do emit pollutants,if that electricity is drawn from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants, no air pollutants are emitted – at all.

There are two types of charging stations available for EVs: Level 1 and Level 2. According to the AHLA, Level 1 is normally found in residential areas and requires a 120-volt single phase outlet. Charging with a Level 1 charging station can take between 8-14 hours, depending on your vehicle.

Level 2 charging stations are more often found in commercial settings, since they demand a 220-volt service. These are the only stations that can be used on EVs produced from 2010 onwards and provide a much faster charge (between 4-8 hours for a full charge) compared to the Level 1. As a hotel operator, you would look at investing in a Level 2 EV charging station, for which the cost hovers around $5,000 per unit. Unlike traditional gasoline vehicles that convert 17-21% of energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels, EVs convert about 59-62%, making them intensely more energy efficient.

While EVs are about a dime a dozen on Canadian highways, hotel operators across the country are taking proactive steps to meet the growing demands of thousands of Canadians looking to drive clean. Join the ranks, and visit the Sun Country Highway website for more information on EVs, including how to go about installing charging stations at your hotel.

Are you a hotel that recently installed, or is considering installing, an EV charging station? We want to hear from you! Leave your comments, or success stories, below!

image credit: Sky Noir