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Good experience with destination chargers at hotels

I've notice a lot of advice on TMC along the lines of "Don't rely on destination chargers!" especially at hotels, and while I agree that you should not rely on any Level 2 charger, even Tesla brand, I wanted to relate my good experiences with them.

In the last month, I've stayed at 4 hotels with destination chargers, and I was able to charge fully at all of them.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, both my wife and I drove our electric cars to my hometown for my mother's funeral, so not planned, and we stayed in a hotel just a few miles away in eastern North Carolina, and we were able to charge both a non-Tesla on a J1772 plug, and a Model Y on a Tesla destination charger.

Then, my company shut down for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, so I decided to road trip to Chicago to see old friends and clear my head (because of my mother's passing). On the way up I hiked in West Virginia, then spent the night in a hotel with 3 destination chargers (and one J1772) in Mineral Wells, WV. I was the only car charging, and the front desk clerk later told me I hadn't needed to call ahead, because they were never all full. They were not ICE'd either, probably because they were on the side of the building. There is also a supercharger just a few miles away in Parkersburg, WV, so I knew I had a backup plan.

Next three nights I stayed in River North in Chicago. I never saw another car at either of the 2 destination chargers, from Monday night to Thursday morning. (I didn't check the J1772 because it was on another level of the parking garage.) I moved my car the next morning once it was fully charged, and only walked the next day, because they had snow and rain. However, I went to my car a couple of times, and even went to the parking garage once just to check, and never saw another Tesla charging. I did do a little driving the last full day I was there, and plugged in again overnight to top off for the trip back. There was an urban supercharging install a few blocks away, and several superchargers shattered around Chicago, if I had needed backup.

Finally, I came back a different route (because I wanted to try Cincinnati chili at the source :) ). Stopped at another interstate hotel in Barboursville, WV, because I'm too old to do 12+ hour drives anymore, even with Autopilot. Again, 3 Tesla destination and one J1772 plugs, on the back side of the hotel, and I was the only one charging that night. The front desk clerk there said that she had never seen more than one car charging at a time. There is a supercharger a few miles back in Huntington, WV, and one about 45 minutes further east in Charleston, WV, if I had needed one.

I'm not challenging the need to have a backup plan, but you can save time and a little money, just by planning ahead.
 

Sporty

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Apr 20, 2019
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It’s on my list it go to Cape Flattery. I was look at a destination charger in Neah Bay to make that work. That seems like the only risk/difficult part of the trip as there’s now a SC in Forks. There’s an ev park in Neah Bay as well so maybe that’s a backup. But I don’t know if it would get filled up. The peninsula seems crazy busy in the summer given that it’s really out there.
 
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Good report. I have had similar experiences on my three, over 4,000 mile road trips.
PlugShare.com and ABetterRoutePlanner.com are great resources.
...

I forgot to mention, I was able to enter the hotel charging in ABetterRouterPlanner, so that it knew I started the next leg with 90% SOC.

You put the hotel in as a waypoint, and tell it to plot the route an initial time. Then, click to edit the stop. (It was a turndown triangle, but it looks like the edit button has very recently been changed to a pencil.) Then, you can enter the rate of charge in kW, and the percentage you want to leave with. Finally, click have it re-calculate the route.

Here's an example screenshot.
Screen Shot 2021-12-31 at 7.34.55 PM.png
 
I had my first experience with destination charging a
the weekend after Thanksgiving when we went to my sons wedding. We stayed at Landsdowne resort in Virginia. They have 2 Tesla HPWC (1 of which was dow) and 2 J1772 chargers (1 of which wou lock to the adapte). I was pleasantly surprised that everyo that used them made them available when they were done charging.

Driving around for everything that weekend, I put ~450 miles on my MY and only paid for 150 of it.
 
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TomServo

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
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Belleville IL
We stay at the Hampton Inn in Barboursville several times a year, we were just there on Dec 22nd and 27th. I'm Von Zipper on Plug Share. I got BLOCKED once on a trip and once a bad storm tripped the circuit breaker around midnight but by then I had more than enough range to get back on 64 and on my way. When we got up I checked my app and noticed the charging had been interrupted, so I got dressed and when down to the desk and even though I asked if WE could try flipping the breaker I was told she couldn't do that. 3 other EV's were in the same boat. But I always check to see where the closest SCer is and try and ensure I have enough range to get to it should I not be able to charge at the hotel so I was GTG. Not sure about the other folks. When the manager came in as we were checking out and I mentioned this and we both went to an Electrical Room and sure enough, a breaker had tripped.

My fear is maintenance and upkeep as this equipment ages and after-hours support. Just flipping a circuit breaker might fix 90% of the non-working chargers.

But when they work it's fabulous, waking to a fully charged vehicle that you can pre-condition before hitting the road is awesome.
 
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RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,422
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Durham, NC
I've found that you can get an excellent sense for the reliability of a destination (lower-case 'd') charger from Plugshare. There are some hotels that really do care about providing charging as an amenity, and others that really don't (and it shows in the comments).

If you're lucky, you can be selective about which properties to stay at and pick ones that have reliable charging, and call ahead (even if they say you don't need to) so they can block off the spot for you.

Another thing I've noticed is that some of the higher-end (commercial) Clipper Creek units have a "timeout" feature. On a road trip last summer in our ID.4, the charger (or the car--don't really know which) faulted and the unit became non-responsive. The manager on duty offered to come out and reset the breaker, but that only reset the Tesla Destination chargers, not the J1772. However, after 15 minutes, the unit automatically "rebooted" and then worked fine. (This is on a relatively cheap L2 charging station--why can't $50,000 DCFCs do that?) So that's good to know.

I too worry about what this is going to look like in a few years when the number of EVs on the road greatly expands. The era of being able to get by with 2-4 level 2 chargers in the parking lot will soon be over. A large majority of guests at a hotel will need to plug in at least one night of their stay. It will be very interesting to see how this evolves in the coming years.
 
...

I too worry about what this is going to look like in a few years when the number of EVs on the road greatly expands. The era of being able to get by with 2-4 level 2 chargers in the parking lot will soon be over. A large majority of guests at a hotel will need to plug in at least one night of their stay. It will be very interesting to see how this evolves in the coming years.

I think the easiest and most economical way to increase the availability of Level 2 charging, would be for sites to install more dedicated 50amp circuits with outdoor outlets. Then, folks could either bring their own Level 2 EVSEs, or the hotel could keep some portable units behind the front desk to loan (or rent) to guests.

Lowest common denominator for electrical work, and easiest way to replace equipment. Yes, it's a little slower than a hardwired 48amp dedicated Tesla destination charger, but overnight, the difference between a 6-hour charge time, and an 8-hour charge time will rarely matter.
 
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TomServo

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
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Belleville IL
I've still a couple of shakedown tasks to accomplish, notably:
(i) take the Y for a long drive - done
(ii) try out a Supercharger - done
(iii) charge a a State Park campground - done
(iv) take the car on a glamping trip, maybe even sleep in it - done (both)
(v) drive a 3 to compare the two - still to do, though I'm sold on the Y at this point
(vi) take it to a gas station and circle the pumps leaning on the horn and laughing out of the open window - I'm far too restrained, though I have visited a Love's as that's where the Three Rivers SC is in Texas and that's pretty much the last chance before you get to the coast

I think I'll add:
(vii) use the wall connector on a 115v circuit - done
(viii) try using the J1772 adapter and charging on EvGo, or Blink or EA or Chargepoint - still to do
(ix) accept a software download - done
(x) watch Netflix - done
(xi) try out TACC and Auto Steer on the open road - done

Can't think of much else at this point. Is there anything special to note about using the J1772 adapter?

I think the easiest and most economical way to increase the availability of Level 2 charging, would be for sites to install more dedicated 50amp circuits with outdoor outlets. Then, folks could either bring their own Level 2 EVSEs, or the hotel could keep some portable units behind the front desk to loan (or rent) to guests.

Lowest common denominator for electrical work, and easiest way to replace equipment. Yes, it's a little slower than a hardwired 48amp dedicated Tesla destination charger, but overnight, the difference between a 6-hour charge time, and an 8-hour charge time will rarely matter.
Thinking long term I think this is the most cost-effective solution, especially when some of the EVSE hardware starts to fail and need replacing. 2 NEMA 14-50 outlets mounted on a post (supporting two parking spots) would be an awesome solution if the property wants to offer this perk to their customers for a fraction of the cost. And I always travel with my mobile connector and a bunch of pigtails and extension cords.
 
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I’ve had pretty good luck with destination chargers at hotels and otherwise. It is wise to have a backup plan and to use an app like PlugShare when traveling.

I had a round trip day trip recently in an area where superchargers don’t exist (there are plenty of these places/routes and they are usually off interstate like mine was). I was saved by finding a parking garage charging spot in a medium sized city close to a lunch spot. That helped me get back to a supercharger that was actually on the way home to finish my drive. Otherwise I would’ve been forced to drive 40 minutes in the wrong direction to the nearest supercharger.

Interestingly enough my drive would’ve been much easier if I had a CCS adapter since there were about 6 stations on the way.
 

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
8,470
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Clark Co, WA
I only skimmed the thread, but my experience with hotel destination charging has been good. I always call the hotel before staying to make sure their destination charger is working, but so far my luck has been 100%. Often the charger is in a parking spot that is very convenient. On my last trip I found a hotel with a Tesla destination charger that wasn't on the Tesla map. They gave me the room right next to the charger and the parking lot was packed. If I hadn't gotten the charger, I would have had to park on the street and walk about a block.
 
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Earl

Member
Jan 22, 2014
478
630
USA
The problem I'm finding more often these days is that the destination chargers are in use. While, in theory, people moving their car when done helps, in reality, cars need to be parked pretty much all night so it really doesn't help except, perhaps, at resorts where one is spending a long time and driving very little.
Pretty soon, in order to be viable, the hotels will need to implement a reservation system for chargers, just as they do for rooms as otherwise, one definitely needs to have a backup option.
Unfortunately, while roadtripping, especially in the winter, the need to use a Supercharger instead of a destination charger can eat more than an hour out of your trip.
 
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The problem I'm finding more often these days is that the destination chargers are in use. While, in theory, people moving their car when done helps, in reality, cars need to be parked pretty much all night so it really doesn't help except, perhaps, at resorts where one is spending a long time and driving very little.
Pretty soon, in order to be viable, the hotels will need to implement a reservation system for chargers, just as they do for rooms as otherwise, one definitely needs to have a backup option.
Unfortunately, while roadtripping, especially in the winter, the need to use a Supercharger instead of a destination charger can eat more than an hour out of your trip.

I was lucky in December, when I took a 5-night road trip, and I was the only one charging at 3 different hotels with multiple Destination chargers. (I did have relatively convenient supercharger backups in mind that I ended up not needed.)

I just took an almost 2-week road trip across the country (12 nights). I was never blocked from destination charging by other cars charging, but sometimes the only hotels with any Level 2 charging in the general area where I wanted to over-night were booked up by the time I tried making a reservation. (It was a solo road trip, and so I was winging a lot of the schedule.)

Out of 12 nights:
  • 7 nights, I was able to charge at my hotel (either Tesla or J1772)
  • 3 nights, no nearby hotel with charging
  • 2 nights, I waited too late to book a hotel with charging
This was I-10 heading west, and I-40 coming back east.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,422
1,830
Durham, NC
The problem I'm finding more often these days is that the destination chargers are in use. While, in theory, people moving their car when done helps, in reality, cars need to be parked pretty much all night so it really doesn't help except, perhaps, at resorts where one is spending a long time and driving very little.
Pretty soon, in order to be viable, the hotels will need to implement a reservation system for chargers, just as they do for rooms as otherwise, one definitely needs to have a backup option.
Unfortunately, while roadtripping, especially in the winter, the need to use a Supercharger instead of a destination charger can eat more than an hour out of your trip.
Yeah, I think this is going to be one of the biggest challenges as more EVs hit the roads. You can make the argument that many places that host L2 charging stations may not need many of them (and it won't be critical if don't happen to be any available), but hotels are the exception. Almost everyone coming to a hotel for an overnight stay is likely going to need a charge (at least for one night), and yes, it's going to be overnight, so likely won't be unplugged at 3:30am when the charge completes. It's challenging enough to find hotels with one or two stations, but in the next 10-15 years, hotels are going to have to install dozens of stations to accommodate customers' needs. This is going to be a major challenge for them. I hope they are looking at this problem today.
 

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