The nationwide issue surrounding the limited accessibility of EV charging points has led to an emerging concern amongst drivers labelled ‘charge anxiety’. As electric vehicle adoption grows, for business like hotels ‘charge anxiety’ is becoming an increasingly influential factor in where guests choose to stay, and make return visits. Our latest blog takes a look at the phenomenon, and how hotels looking to invest in EV chargepoint infrastructure can avoid the common charging pitfalls that detract from the hotel guest experience.
Since electric vehicles hit the market more than a decade ago, so-called ‘range anxiety’ – the fear that your EV will not have enough battery to reach its destination – has been a recurring nightmare among drivers. That’s largely down to two reasons:
1) The limited battery capacity of early EV models, and;
2) The limited availability of EV charge points across the country.
With newer models of electric vehicles now having much greater battery capacity and efficiency –‘range anxiety’ as a general issue has begun to fade. However, the availability of charge points continues to present one of the major roadblocks to the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles and remains an endless source of worry for drivers.
For private businesses like hotels, this challenge poses a huge opportunity, not only to play a critical role in developing the national EV chargepoint network, but to attract and retain guests.
Due to rapidly growing investment in EV charge point infrastructure across the public and private sectors (including many hotels eager to capitalise on this enormous commercial opportunity), the issue of charge point availability is gradually being addressed as more and more EVs join the road.
Yet – for these forward-thinking businesses – there remain certain challenges when it comes to effectively serving the fact-accelerating EV driver market – a growing number of whom make up the 30 million guests who stay in UK hotels each year.
Charge anxiety is the new range anxiety
With the ever-expanding EV charge point infrastructure and the higher battery capacity of newer electric cars, range anxiety is stepping aside to a new growing concern: ‘charge anxiety’. This term derives from the feeling of uncertainty that EV drivers experience when looking for a reliable, accessible, and convenient EV charger, either as a planned stop on their journey or at their end destination.
New reports show that this issue is not just down to individual concerns, but has become a nationwide problem. Understandably, potential charging destinations like hotels have a central role to play in addressing these accessibility concerns by providing convenient and reliable charge point facilities for their guests.
Let’s begin by looking at the main reasons for charge anxiety.
The causes of charge anxiety for EV drivers
Limited access to EV chargers in convenient places
For an EV driver, there’s nothing worse than arriving at a charge point to find all bays occupied – or finding you’ve been “ICE’d” – the term used when a charging space is taken by an internal combustion engine (ICE). The lack of EV infrastructure in private premises, such as hotels, is consequently increasing the wait time at public charging stations and largely contributing to charge anxiety.
Unreliable EV chargers
After finally finding an unoccupied charger, the last thing an EV driver wants to see is an out-of-service sign. Unfortunately, broken or damaged chargers are a common sight for public EV charging users. Hardware and software outages can also cause charge anxiety – especially if there is no customer support line available.
Expensive idle fees
‘Idle fees’ are penalty fees for exceeding charge time. In rapid chargers, idle fees are charged per minute of idling and can be very costly if left for too long. EV drivers don’t want to be bothered by text alerts to move their vehicles or face hefty fines – they want flexibility to plug in and charge at a time that works for them and their schedule, such as overnight at their hotel.
Complicated payment processes at public EV charge points
Many EV drivers struggle to understand how to compare prices and navigate complicated payment processes at charge stations. Instead, drivers want to see clear prices, a variety of tariff options, and a simple check-out process that includes both in-app payments and contactless options.
How SMS can help your hotel improve the charging experience for guests
Say goodbye to charge anxiety as our pre-booking system allows guests to pre-book charging at the same time as booking a room, so there’s no need to worry about finding a charge station along the way – that’ll make guests think twice about cancelling a reservation…
Guests can rest easy knowing we provide fast-charging EV bays which accommodate five times more vehicles than rapid chargers and offer cheaper charging options. There’s no need to worry if they haven’t reserved a parking spot, they can still access a charge point without booking ahead.
We help you provide a hassle-free guest experience – with fast overnight charging, guests avoid late-night text alerts and penalties asking to move their vehicle once fully charged. They simply plug in at the reserved time, leave the vehicle to charge overnight, and sit down, relax, and enjoy the rest of their stay, safe in the knowledge that when they leave, the vehicle is fully charged for the next journey.
Worry not, on arrival when you allocate your guest their room, we’ll allocate an exclusive charging facility with a 24/7 customer service help desk available with our smart EV chargers, so if any issues occur we’ve got it handled – leaving you to concentrate on running your hotel.
We provide guests with a stress-free stay allowing them to start, stop and monitor their charge in real-time, as well as view their charging history. Guests can also relax knowing they have access to an easy-to-use checkout system.
The verdict – should hotels invest in EV charging facilities for guests?
While it is understandable that businesses feel hesitant about EV charging – the fact is, by 2030 all new vehicles sold in the UK must be electric, so hotels must prepare for the future. The good news is that as more hotels take the leap and invest in EV infrastructure for their premises, charge anxiety will eventually melt away.
Currently, under 8% of charging devices in the UK are associated with hotels . Since the pandemic, we know that the most successful businesses in hospitality are the ones seizing new opportunities to reattract guests. If your hotel can respond to this consumer need, you are not only increasing your service offerings and competitiveness but ensuring the same experience for all customers, regardless of what car they drive. Additionally, the provision of EV charging gives hoteliers the ability to generate additional revenue whether through utilisation or drivers paying a service fee to book charging in advance.
Mark Winn, Head of EV at SMS, says:
“To ease drivers’ concerns about EV charging, we need to ramp up the installation of commercial EV charging stations in places that are convenient for drivers – starting with the hospitality sector. Ultimately, drivers just want convenience – especially business travellers. If your hotel can provide that, you will not only build a positive brand reputation, but will become the go-to hotel to stay with each trip.
It is no secret that hotels have struggled to return occupancy rates to a pre-pandemic level. With the introduction of EV charging infrastructure, hotels have a huge opportunity to gain a competitive advantage, generate additional revenue, and most importantly, contribute positively to their own sustainability goals.”