the future of hotel parking with SmartEv

Posted in Business, People on 12 September, 2017

The number of people driving electrical cars is increasing, much due to governments and cities facilitating it through charging stations, free parking zones and dedicated driving lanes. Hotels need to play their part in this, not only for environmental reasons, but to make it easier for the growing number of hotel guests driving electrical vehicles. Tonje Odegard spoke to Greg Cooper, one of the Directors of SmartEv, an EV charging company, to find out why hotels ought to invest in more EV-friendly solutions…

People stay in hotels for a variety of reasons, but whether it’s for business or pleasure, they are largely there to recharge their own personal batteries. Today, a large proportion of hotel customers travel by car, and if they arrive in their electrical car only to find there is no way they can recharge their car’s battery, the consequence is that the guest will not even consider booking accommodation in such a location.

Prior to any trip, an EV owner has to be meticulous in their planning as they will need to charge their car ideally overnight, which will enable them to maximise their time doing what they intended to do during their stay and not waste precious time worrying about where the next charge will come from.

If a charging facility is not available at your hotel, they will simply move onto the next one and not take into account any other amazing facilities that the hotel may offer.

“Once the investment in chargers has been made, the hotelier has opened up a new market for potential customers that is growing month on month,” Greg tells me. “The investment is two-fold, though; after the customer has arrived, checked in and plugged in, additional revenue can be made from applying tariffs to any electricity used to charge an EV.”

Greg and his family already own an underfloor heating company that has a fleet of vehicles that incorporate a number of EV’s, so while researching EV chargers, they unearthed a market with uninspiring design, questionable customer service, poor quality and limit on choice. To fill this gap, SmartEv was born.

An evolving market

“As a company, we want to open up opportunities for hoteliers to maximise their attractiveness to potential customers in the quickly evolving EV market,” Greg explains. In June 2017, 4,444 new EV’s were registered, whereas in 2013 there were only 3,500 registered EV’s in the UK in total. This really demonstrates the speed of which this market is expanding in comparison to petrol and diesel cars. Currently, sales of petrol and diesel cars are down by 2.2 per cent compared to 2016 figures, whereas EV’s sales are up by 50 per cent over the same period.

Says Greg: “Having spoken to a number of people who have worked within the hotel industry, they spotted similarities between the installations of EV chargers to the installation of wireless broadband.

“In the first instance, business customers would seek out the hotels that provide Wi-Fi. Over time, more hotels introduced Wi-Fi so they did not lose out on potential customers, and I can safely say that now I don’t even look at a hotel that does not provide Wi-Fi access. It will be the same with EV charging stations.”

Part of the design

The above confirms the need for EV chargers at hotels, but how do you integrate it into a beautiful, design-led hotel without compromising on aesthetics?

“It is first and foremost the look of our charging units that sets us apart from the rest,” Greg says. “We have designed our units to be elegant and stylish so that they are not only functional but aesthetically pleasing. They will not detract from the overall design of the hotel, it will only enhance it.”

“Our products are constructed of anodised aluminium where its module-based construction allows for different configurations of equipment components, be that the output of power of the units, application using GSM/Wi-Fi/Ethernet communication, RFID card reader of mobile connectivity.”

The green wave

More and more hotels opt for more environmentally friendly solutions when it comes to construction, energy, water, material and food. Facilitating for EV users is a huge part of keeping emissions down and your guests happy.

“The reduction in emissions from EVs will only increase as the UK power grid decarbonises,” says Greg. “We are now at a point where anyone can select an energy supplier that only provides electricity from renewable sources.”

The future

“Put simply, EVs are the future!” Greg says.

In the latest Queen’s Speech, the Government said they will introduce legislation banning the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars before 2040. The same has happened in France, but Norway has gone even further by banning the sale of all new fossil fuel-based cars by 2025.

“Some people will say that this won’t happen by 2040 if at all, but in my opinion it will be long before 2040. If we just look at vehicle manufacturers for a second, it takes years and millions to develop and produce a new car.

“Development will stop a long time before 2040 and we are already seeing this development moving towards EVs. That means the hotel industry needs to adapt to new technologies, facilities and ways of working that ultimately is what every business needs to do to survive.

SmartEv is the first company of its kind to exhibit at The Independent Hotel Show at Olympia London in October. Flick to our SHOWTIME preview on page 118 to see what they’re planning to do and for more information on the show.

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