While most EV owners are well past the ‘range anxiety’ stage, there’s no denying that long-distance travel with electric vehicles can sometimes be challenging. Many charge networks experience reliability and/or charging speed issues, leaving those drivers who really need an electric fill-up left scrambling for an alternative port. For some, it can mean second thoughts about EV vacations.
But the Hilton chain of hotels is trying to change that – and hopefully get you to stay at its hotels in the process. The chain has announced it will add up to 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Connectors at 2,000 of its hotels across Canada, the US and Mexico, beginning next year.
Hilton says the move will make it the largest network of hospitality EV chargers, and will feature at least six chargers at selected hotels. The Level 2 units are built with Tesla’s NACS charge plug, but come with an integrated J1772 adapter for other vehicles.
The move towards building out charging ports doesn’t come on a whim, either; Hilton says its website’s ‘EV charging’ search attribute had the fastest volume of growth to-date this year, jumping from fourth to second highest in converting searches to stays.
“A key priority for Tesla Charging is installing low-cost, convenient AC charging anywhere electric vehicles are parked for more than an hour or two,” said Rebecca Tinucci, senior director of charging infrastructure, Tesla. “To ensure electric vehicle adoption at scale, our joint industry goal must be to vastly improve upon the traditional gasoline vehicle ownership experience, not just meet it.
“Installing infrastructure at popular destinations, like Hilton hotels, enables EV owners to charge where they park, meaning no unnecessary refueling stops along their journey. We applaud Hilton for their leadership in the space and look forward to continuing to ramp this critical program with other industry leaders.”
The Charge’s take: This is a savvy business move on Hilton’s part. And especially because North America’s public charging infrastructure is still in its infancy and a relative mess right now. If I wanted a driving vacation, I’d want to have the reassurance that I’d have a full battery every morning I wake up at the hotel – so I know where I’d be spending my money for a bed. And judging from the hotel chain’s observations on its website searches, other EV owners feel the same.