I recently completed a 3,000km (1,800 mile) business road trip from Toronto, through Chicago to northern Wisconsin in consistently -25C (-10F) temps. I plan to do a full write up of the adventure but for now…
I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Wausau Wisconsin with a final appointment 100km further north the following day. Having read the reviews on Plugshare, I was prepared for a $15 fee to use their Tesla charger. They upped that to $20 because I asked to plug in on my way back later the same day.
On one hand, it’s not unreasonable to charge for any service. On the other, most establishments are happy to let you plug free whether you stay or not. I liken this to the early days of Wifi when hotels billed internet while the coffee shop offered it free. I was mostly annoyed they didn't mention the cost upon reservation or check-in. They prefer to keep it a check-out surprise.
Anyways, I tweeted Courtyard Marriott asking if this was policy from head office. They quickly replied: “Thanks for contacting us. The fee for various services can differ from one location to another depending on their own policies. All charges hotels have in place are first approved by Marriott Intl.”
I left a negative review on Expedia for this and other reasons. The manager replied with the following:
“Dear Guest. When Tesla reached out to us for help connecting the charging dots for drivers hoping to venture further north in Wisconsin, we were happy to support the company's vision and make the investment into the charger station. There is a cost associated with installing the charger and the energy required to recharge your EV. With Telsa’s support, we treat this as a very special amenity that the guest using it should support in the cost and the guests not using it do not support the cost. We are glad we could make it possible with this charging station to extend your trip to another 100km north. General Manager”
I assumed Tesla subsidized installations and this timely article would confirm that. (EDIT: Specific quote. "Tesla has largely picked up the tab for the cost of both the charging hardware and the installation" at hotels.)
I was going to reply to the Marriott manager but was curious to see if Tesla should be aware too. It seems odd that Tesla insists Superchargers remain free but would allow billing on their proprietary ‘slow’ chargers… especially if the equipment and installation were subsidized.