Hilton is the second largest hotel chain in the world, with 6,200 hotels and 980,000 rooms in 118 countries. [Marriott is the largest, with 7,887 properties.] In the hotel business, the customer is king and no stone is left unturned in an effort to attract new clients. Today, September 7, Hilton announced it has reached an agreement with Tesla to install EV charging equipment at its properties in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
Hilton To Add 20,000 Tesla Chargers
“Through an expanded agreement with Tesla, Hilton today announced that, beginning in early 2024, up to 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Connectors are slated to be installed at 2,000 hotels in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, making Hilton’s planned EV charging network the largest of any hospitality company,” the company said in a press release.
“With at least six chargers at each of the selected hotels, Hilton will become the first choice for the dramatically increasing number of travelers who drive electric vehicles. This announcement follows the recent launch of Tesla’s Universal Wall Connector, a product designed to seamlessly charge any North American vehicle model, expanding Tesla’s efforts to make great charging available to all EVs.”
Matt Schuyler, chief brand officer for Hilton, said, “At Hilton, we are committed to meeting the changing needs of our guests who are looking for hotel experiences that complement their daily routines while offering exceptional hospitality.
“Through this expanded agreement with Tesla, we are significantly changing the landscape of universal EV chargers in North America in an incredibly short amount of time. Across Hilton’s family of award-winning brands, this network of EV chargers will offer our guests even more value with the convenience of much needed overnight charging access in more locations.”
The Tesla Universal Wall Charger
As we reported last month, the Tesla Universal Wall Connector is now on sale for $595 at its web store. It features a magic dock-like integrated adapter that lets users charge non-Tesla EVs as well as Tesla automobiles. The universal wall connector includes both the North American Charging Standard (NACS) plug and an easy-to-use J1772 adapter.
Tesla’s universal wall connector is set to begin shipping in October. The company says it can replenish up to 44 miles of charge per hour with an 11.5kW/48 amp output. It features a 24-foot cable, can share power with up to six other wall connectors, and comes with a 4-year warranty.
“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 at 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.”
Hilton Gives Customers What They Want
Business is business. The secret to success is to give customers what they want and plenty of it. Hilton reports that more travelers are looking for EV chargers when they travel. So far in 2023, searches for “EV charging” have become the second largest search criterion. “The number one search attribute for our hotels is shuttle access for airports. Number two is EV charging. That’s a dramatic change that wasn’t even on the radar just a few years ago,” Schuyler told CNBC. Those searches are translating into bookings. That’s good for Hilton and good for travelers who drive an electric car.
The Verge reports that many hotels today either don’t have chargers or only have one or two, and like many places in the US, reliability is questionable. A quick search on EV charger location app PlugShare revealed that only one Hilton hotel in Manhattan has on-premise chargers.
Pre-Covid, my wife and I stayed at an upscale hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that assured us in advance that they had EV chargers. What they had was a wall outlet in the valet area. We made our displeasure known to the hotel manager, who had no clue why we were unhappy.
Also, in 2021, Matt Pressman wrote an article for CleanTechnica in which he argued that the time had come for hotels to raise their game and get EV charging equipment on their premises for their guests. His primary reason was to serve the needs of a growing number of EV owners who might choose one hotel over another simply because of the convenience of being able to charge their cars onsite. Now it seems Hilton has listened to Matt and decided the cost of all those 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Chargers will be more than made up for by the extra business they create.
Hilton says it will work with its owners to identify properties alongside roadways and in other key urban locations that would make most sense for Tesla to install its charging stations. The additions will make Hilton’s charging network the largest of any hospitality player, it says.
The EV Revolution Rolls Forward
CNBC has an interesting statistic in its reporting. According to Deepwater Asset Management managing partner Gene Munster, electric car adoption in the U.S. will steadily increase in the coming years, from 2% in 2020 to 22% by 2025. That seems a bit optimistic even for hardcore EV advocates like CleanTechnica, but wonderful news if true.
Rental companies like Hertz are now adding electric cars to their fleets. People who rent cars often stay at hotels. What better way to attract travelers than to allow them to charge their rental cars when they arrive at their destination?
Earlier this year, my colleague and life partner Carolyn Fortuna asked, “Isn’t it time for hotels to start offering EV charging as an amenity for guests? Hotels have generally embraced initiatives to encourage the adoption of sustainable transportation by staff and guests. More than half of all hotels plan and implement carbon reduction initiatives. Over 40% of all hotels measure carbon emissions, and most measure their level of success on a quarterly basis,” she wrote
“Yet only 26.6% of all hotels install electric vehicle charging stations on their property. That’s according to a recent survey of 17,000 hotels in the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Even hotels that are EV-compatible may have just a spot for a single car or only for certain models. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Hyatt Hotels Corp. are slightly stronger, with chargers at less than a third of their US properties — that’s still too low to fulfill demand. It’s not enough to meet the needs of EV drivers on road trips. When are hotels going to step up and provide EV charging for guests?” she asked.
Hilton has the answer — soon! We couldn’t be happier.
If you own an EV, please complete our super short EV charging & safety survey.
I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don’t like paywalls, and so we’ve decided to ditch ours.
Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It’s a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So …