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Best way to convince a hotel to add chargers?

Discussion in 'North America' started by PeterK, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. PeterK

    PeterK Model S Owner

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    I just got off the phone with the Assistant Director of Engineering of the Omni Bretton Woods Resort (hotels, condos and Alpine and Nordic ski areas - golf, tennis and horses in summer) by Mount Washington in New Hampshire. He was directed to call me after I left a message about charging infrastructure with the General Manager's assistant. They have previously provided 120V for charging but he was interested in what I had to say about installing real charging infrastructure.

    It's about 160 miles north of Boston, mostly uphill, and my last two trips there were in snowstorms, so without proper charging a trip there in my March-delivery Model S would be a challenge. The nearest charger is at a Nissan dealership at least 20 miles further from Boston in Berlin, NH according to recargo.com, and that's about the only charger in the northern half of the state.

    We go there to ski regularly (this week will be our third trip this season) and I try will meet him in person tomorrow. I want to sell him on installing a couple of J1772 chargers at the main hotel and a couple more at the ski area base station.

    I need help from this forum on a few fronts:

    1) What are the selling points you have used with hotels, that you have found most effective?
    2) What is the simplest/cheapest option for a hotel? Chargepoint? Others?
    3) What information sources would you point him to? I would like to send him an email with links for his education before I meet with him.

    Thanks in advance - want to do my part to build out the charging infrastructure, particularly in cold, mountainous New England!
     
  2. dailydriver

    dailydriver Member

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    I've been working on the American Club in Kohler, WI. Here is what I sent their GM:


    "Christine –

    Thanks for taking the time today to discuss the possibility of upgrading the amenities you already provide to accommodate electric vehicle charging at The American Club. The simplest and easiest (least expensive too) thing to install would be a basic Level 2 station with a J1772 standard interface. This will accommodate the widest range of vehicles including most plug-in electric hybrid vehicles like the Chevy Volt, Fisker Karma, and fully electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla. This type of equipment requires a dedicated 240 VAC, 30 amp circuit. Ideally, you would install at least two of them.

    Here is some information on products available from Square D/Schneider (there are several others):
    http://products.schneider-electric.us/products-services/products/electric-vehicle-charging-stations/outdoor-electric-vehicle-charging-station/
    http://products.schneider-electric.us/support/technical-library/?event=detail&oid=090089268064afd7&cat=0b008926806b2bf0

    Some info on the Level 2 standard and the SAE J1772 interface: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_J1772

    Here is some additional information from Plug In America: http://www.pluginamerica.org/accessories

    You could also just install a NEMA 6-50R receptacle that would provide a 50 amp 240 VAC circuit. This is the cheapest solution and provides quicker charging than a Level 2 station, but not all cars have adapters to plug into this type of outlet.

    I would be happy to provide additional information to help you decide what, and if, you would want to install and assist you in any way.

    Thanks."
     
  3. Mark Petersen

    Mark Petersen Model S EU P71

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    Hi

    the best you can do is to give them some really good advice
    when I look at charging, I believe this is important

    the charger need to scaled in relation to parking time
    if you have a location where the car only will be parked for 1h you need a supercharger
    if the car will be there for 12h you need a J1772
    but this sound like it is a ski resort where most users will come friday and leave sunday 36h, then you can probably just use normal 110/220v
     
  4. Zapped

    Zapped Model S - PURE EV

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    #4 Zapped, Feb 19, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  5. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    Most RV parks have NEMA 14-50 connectors, which are supposed to be good for 240V/40A. These were the Roadster Owner's best friends for long roadtrips before the J1772s even really started to appear. There must be RV parks around Mt Washington somewhere. Your UMC should come with the correct adapter automatically, unless you ordered something different.

    Two gotchas, though:
    1. Make sure you contact the park in advance. They don't necessarily know much about electricity. Say "50 Amp outlet", because there are also NEMA 14/30 outlets that won't be useful to you unless you have bought or made an adapter. Ask how much they charge for just a few hours of day use; $10 was typical a few years ago.

    2. Don't just plug in and walk away. Sometimes the socket is not wired well, and might heat up or trip a breaker after a few minutes. I guess, with the phone app, you can (now) just walk away, but check it for the first 15 minutes or so.
     
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    While never having done this, I would think that playing to their competitive advantage might be a tactic to employ. Are there other hotels/resorts in the area that you may otherwise consider? Tell them you're reaching out to all of the hotels and resorts in the area, and that you (and the burgeoning EV community) would be most likely to patronize those with EV charging facilities.
     
  7. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Tell them you enjoy staying at their facility but will go where the chargers are. Calculate how much you spend there a season and tell them that by you staying there X number of nights, they'll already have broken even on the cost of the hardware and install.

    The simplest is probably for them to tie the charger access in with valet parking. You can tell them they'll cover their charging costs with the extra money they get from valet parking and basically force people who want to use the charger to valet park as well. It also allows them to shuffle multiple EVs through the chargers then having someone tie up a charger for a day when they are done charging in a few hours.

    I'd point him to
    EV | Volt | Electric Vehicle Charging Station | ClipperCreek, CA

    They have access control as well which means they can charge people via their credit card directly or I believe tie it to their room (not certain exactly what it does though).
     
  8. smartypnz

    smartypnz Member

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    I believe there is a Tax incentive for businesses to install charging stations.
    (One more selling point)
     
  9. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Some of the tax incentives cover 100 percent of the install. This is huge for them.

    I also recommend suggesting 4 to 6 parking spots. those Volts will fill two spaces reeeeal quick.
     
  10. Ardie

    Ardie Member

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    #10 Ardie, Feb 26, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
    Oboy. Just what a hotel (or store) manager wants to hear. Another hare-brained scheme that will increase costs by a huge amount and (maybe) attract a couple of customers.

    *That* is what is probably going through the manager's head as you say "bla-bla-bla install a charging station bla-bla-bla increase revenue bla-bla-bla installation costs bla-bla-bla free." Waita minnit. Did I just hear the word "free?"

    I believe that you will have to use the time-honored sales tactic of presenting a problem, and then presenting the solution.

    THE PROBLEM:
    "Where can I charge my electric car?" is a suitable opening gambit.

    If he replies something like "In our parking structure, spaces 201A and 201B," then your problems are over.

    If he replies something like "Down the street, hang a left, go two more blocks, and there's a charging station at the train station parking lot," then at least you can skip the educational part and go directly to the charging station sales pitch.

    If he replies something like "Huh?" then you will have to first explain electric cars, that they are the future (like it or not), that their owners are constantly on the prowl for charging stations, that providing them is a good thing, and they may even be inexpensive to install and operate, and that having them might even generate some revenue.


    EDUCATIONAL PART:
    Explain that you have an electric car, that it goes for XXX miles on a charge, and you charge up at a charging station the way ordinary cars fuel up at a gas station. (You may want to skip mentioning that you *could* charge on an ordinary 110v electrical outlet, because you would be derailing yourself.)

    A charging station is not a gas station or a train station, but a name for a relatively simple box about the size of a briefcase that hangs on a wall, feeding 220v electrical power into the car to recharge its battery. Sort of like recharging your cell phone, only bigger. The electric car's battery is really big, so it takes several hours to do it. That's just the way it is, given the current state of technology.

    There all kinds of types of charging stations out there, but so far the most common ones use a connector plug called "J1772" (think 'shape of the plug'). They are used on the Nissan LEAF, the Chevy Volt, The Toyota Plug-in Prius, the Ford Focus Electric, the Honda Fit Electric, the BMW ActiveE, and more are coming. (The Tesla Model S can use it with an adapter that they carry with them.)

    It will take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours (or longer) to charge such a car - it depends if its almost full, or almost empty. So the owner will probably be staying that long, shopping and spending money, while the car charges up.


    THE SOLUTION:
    Install a charging station. It won't be that expensive to install, it will be practically free to operate, it will lure more well-heeled customers to your place of business, and you get to tout yourself as a progressive green company.


    THE BENEFITS:
    Currently, electric car owners are already using smartphone apps to root out charging station locations; they plan their trips around those charging station locations, they shop where they can charge, and they come back.
    {Although it will be difficult to prove, the conventinal theory is that the owners will probably choose to dine at your restaurant, or at least park here and shop nearby.}

    As more electric cars are getting on the road, having a charging station (or stations) will become more of a selling point. You can list the availability of a charging station on your website as an added plus to your establishment.


    HOW TO ACHIEVE IT:
    You'll have to install a charging station. As long as you're at it, you may as well install several. (The costs for installing the successive units go way down after the first one.) Its probably less trouble to install a charging station than the trouble they went through when they had to upgrade the equipment in the computer server room.


    THE COST:
    The costs are in three basic categories:
    There's the planning and permitting stage (and this is rather unpredictable, given the wide range of requirments based on city, county, state, and Federal electrtical codes and regulations).

    There's the cost of the charging station. It may be FREE! There are a number of state and Federal incentives (i.e. grants, rebates, tax breaks) to install these charging stations. {It is up to you if you want to push him toward a specific model like the Coloumb, ChargePoint, or Blink solutions.}

    And finally, there's the cost of the installing the unit on your premises. The cost will vary from place to place, but you may be able to justify the expense as an item in the building maintenance and upkeep budget.

    {I think that the manager's eyes will start glazing over if you start talking about electricity rates, meters, junction boxes, conduits, circuits and amperage rating at this early point in time. And if this is the manager you're talking to, that kind of detail isn't in the "big picture" anyway.}


    OPERATING COST:
    There are no real "costs" to a charging station if it isn't in use. It isn't like the ice machine that runs day and night whether anybody get a bucket of ice or not. Its like a vacuum cleaner thats either on or off.

    So it only needs electricity when its charging a car. The amount of electricity it uses to charge a car is about 10 kilowatts per hour; that costs out to about a dollar an hour - probably less if you get lower industrial electricity rates.


    POSSIBLE PROFITS:
    It is up to your own decision-making process on whether to charge for the almost-free electricity, or, like so many other places, they are offered to the electric car customer at no additional cost (glad to have you shop here!), and the operating costs are simply folded into the advertising budget.
    Or, you may wish to add a small surcharge to the parking to cover the expense.


    WRAP IT UP:
    * The installation costs of a charging station are relatively minimal in the grand scheme of building upkeep.

    * The operating costs are probably going to be so low you won't even notice it, and if it is, you can bill the electric car customer for it.

    * The are benefits (intangible tho' they may be) in advertising yourself as green and progressive, and there is (again, hard-to-quantify) an expected increase in customer traffic and resulting sales in attracting the more affluent electric car owner/customer.


    In a nuthsell, this is what I believe we have to do when we want to encourage someone to see the light and want to install a charging station (at their cost) and operate them (at their cost) so we can go there and use them (for our benefit).


    -- Ardie
    So, let me just have my installation man call on you, say, next Tuesday.
     
  11. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    I'd recommend a 70A J1772 off a 90A circuit. These have become standard across Canada thanks to Sun Country Highway. Charging a Model S is painfully slow at 24A. Installing a 70A ESVE would be a competitive advantage for the hotel relative to other charge stations and would future-proof the investment.
     
  12. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    @djp: At hotels, 30A (delivered, 6.6kW) is fine. Your customers are, by definition, spending the night. I would rather see 2 30A chargers than 1 70A.

    Now at restaurants, malls, etc., I completely agree that the higher rate would be welcome. It's hard for me to spend more than 4 hours at a mall, and there's a material difference between getting 25kWh or 40kWh in that time. (If you have twin chargers, the difference is even more pronounced.)
     
  13. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    If they've got the capacity, 2 70As would be even better. :smile:

    I can think of a few of scenarios where a higher speed charger would be useful at a hotel. If you arrive in the afternoon a 70A would let you use the car again that night to go into town. With a 30A you could be stuck until morning. For travelers stopping for a meal at the hotel restaurant a 70A would give a reasonable recharge. And battery packs are only going to get bigger in the future. The more we can do to promote 70A as a standard the better.
     
  14. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    I'm working on a hotel right now ... when you say 70amps, what are you referring to?

    1) 30 amps J plug, 2) NEMA14-50 socket, or 3) HPWC (100). What is 70?
     
  15. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    72A on a 90A circuit is the peak charging rate for a Roadster, so it's probably not the right conversation starter. My sense is that the conversation will be better if you pitch a J-plug, which can be used by a broad range of current and future plug-in vehicles. Then work on getting as much power per plug as possible; 80A on a 100A circuit is best. 40A on a 50A circuit is a decent fallback. ClipperCreek is one good supplier, but there are other reputable suppliers.
     
  16. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    The J plug or J1772 format is designed for up to 80 amps, and UL certified for 70 amps so far. There are may units available from Clipper Creek and Eaton that can supply the increased amperage through the J1772 format. It is useful in a commercial setting as it can service many different cars. The 70 amps is only able to be used by Tesla vehicles so far however. Convince them that Telsa owners should be the target as they will likely spend more.
     
  17. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    I was referring to J1772 70 amp on a 90 amp circuit, which is the Sun Country Highway standard in Canada. As Robert mentioned, 80A on 100A is even better. The advantage of J1772 over NEMA or HPWC is it's a standard any electric car can use which widens the customer base for hotels.
     
  18. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    Thanks for the replies and education ... I really should have bought a Roadster first ... but simply couldn't justify a two seater.

    In my email to the hotel, I have recommended 14-50, J Plug and HPWC in that order; least expensive first (and Tesla!); followed by universal connection, and lastly "la creme de la creme".
     
  19. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I actually think that the 90 amp J1772 should be the first choice for the hotel since it will work with just about anything (including Teslas with their J1772 adapter that comes with the car). I'm not sure how many other EVs can make use of a 14-30, and the HPWC is ONLY going to work with the Model S.
     
  20. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    This is the kind of charger I have in my garage for the Leaf (now use 14-50 for S) ... can it handle the stated 90amps? Or does that need different hardware?
     

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