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Charging from a power point in our unit at the Bunya Mountains. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Clean Transport

Charging Etiquette at Holiday Accommodation

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Increasing numbers of electric vehicles bring new problems. As New Zealand heads towards an EV market share of 20% (or as any country does), what should one do when travelling and staying at AirBNBs and motels? This question was recently asked on the NZ Electric Vehicles Facebook page. How do we manage charging at holiday accommodation? The most common answer and practice was to ask first, and always offer to pay. Most venues don’t mind and most won’t add an extra charge to the bill.

However, some interesting stories were shared. Some respondents thought that if it was OK to plug in other devices to charge, then one needn’t ask to plug in the car, but these were in the minority. With a mind to the future and the ever increasing number of EVs on the road, one person wrote:

Giving a small amount to pay for the electricity consumed can help the motel feel more comfortable with future EVs coming to stay. $5 to $20 helps them with the costs to the motel (you likely know the cost of your house charging — a 24kWh LEAF could cost $5 to charge up and a larger battery might cost $20). However, even if you’re there from 2:00pm check-in to 10:00am check-out and charging the whole time, it won’t cost more than $7 in electricity.

After all, you might be their first guest with an EV, but you certainly won’t be their last. When EVs become so popular that their affecting motel profits, motels will increase their prices accordingly. Motels have to provide you with a heat pump, but they are under no obligation to provide you with the next day’s travel.

Some venues have a fixed $8 per night BEV cost or $5 per night PHEV cost for charging. Others have signs saying “NO EV CHARGING.” It’s better to book ahead. You might have to stay somewhere else or find a public fast charger.

And some just can’t make up their minds: “We asked on the phone and got told no problem. Plugged in before bed and were woken by the other motel owner who had just got back from the pub. Got soundly abused and made to unplug. Needless to say, we won’t be going there again!”

It seems people are still stuck in the “travel is expensive because petrol is expensive” mindset. In my own travels I have often offered to pay, but when the motel owner or caravan park manager checks the small cost, they realize it just isn’t worth the paperwork. Then again, I have also been told that there was no accommodation available when I asked if I could charge my car. This turned out to be an obvious lie. 

When we travel, we only book places that have chargers. It’s a no brainer these days. That’s why we have no problems charging at holiday accommodation.

Featured image: Charging from a power point in our unit at the Bunya Mountains. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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