How do you explain EVs to hotels to ask for 110V access?

How do you explain EVs to hotels to ask for 110V access?

There are a couple places within a 250-mile range that I'd love to take road trips to for 1-week vacations, but no convenient charging stations nearby. For example, I'd love to take my Model S to Wildwood, NJ. It's around 90 miles from the Delaware supercharger, so I'd definitely need to top off in town. They're very old-fashioned though, and I wouldn't be surprised if they've never seen an electric car before. Does anyone have any experience explaining to mom-and-pop shops that you'd like to plug into their external outlets while you park your car? It seems to me that they'd be taking a big leap of faith on how much you're costing them, and there isn't a convient system in place for them to charge you even if they wanted to. How do you explain it?

DFibRL8R | July 6, 2013

I have taken a few trips. Best option is to find a hotel that has real chargers or is located near a garage or other business with one. Assuming that wont work, I call the hotel and explain that I am considering a reservation at the hotel and explain what I want/need. Keep in mind, most hotel managers are big on customer service so they seem to be a pretty accommodating lot plus if they aren't booked up, they want your business and you have that leverage. Of course you never know if the person answering the phone has some sort of hatred for EVs or whatever. If you get a yes, make sure you get the name of the manager that authorized so you can drop the name if you show up and get resistance. Also doesn't hurt to get some rough numbers of what the electricity would actually cost if they ask.
Good luck!

michael1800 | July 6, 2013

I've made calculations a couple of times (using 308 for the 85kW battery) using high and low electricity rates for my own situational awareness, but I do not have experience explaining it to hotels/motels/inns/B&Bs. I imagine it is still applicable though. You could walk them through the calculations but that won't likely turn out well and would be weird. They may not even know what their own commercial rate is. Best bet would probably be to just calculate a high and low number (for me, it was $0.07 and $0.32 for a low/high) then tell them it will cost them between xx and xx dollars to fully charge your car. Even if you are not fully charging your car, they'll find the cost ridiculously low. No sense in making it a more complicated ordeal. If they want to know the hard math, by all means, hook them up. But the other 99% will be fine.

Although, keep in mind at 120V20A you're not exactly going to be filling up the car or making much progress on the charge unless you're just hanging out for a day. My $0.02.

Brian H | July 6, 2013

Just tell them how many kWh you will need. They surely know their own rates.

bfranks273 | July 6, 2013

At the higher rated places, they have a concierge. Hilton for example. At the Hilton in Ocean City MD they were great and the guy went around the parking lot and found the 110 outlets. He parked his car by one spot to hold it for us and explained where all the others were. That was great service. But we could not pull more that 5 amps from the one socket. The circuit was probably not top notch. It did not blow the breaker but we just could not get good current. We had to go out and forage for other feeds. So even with 110 you cannot be sure of getting all 12 amps, and that is not really great anyway, so be sure to have 2nd and 3rd backup plans.

drp | July 6, 2013

I have a suggestion for all of us. Whenever i pass a major hotel such as Marriott for a major restaurant that is around the country such as Cracker Barrel and so forth, I called them to ask if they have EV chargers. Although I have no need for them in the places that I see these establishments, I call them anyway. I figured that eventually they will realize that they are getting several calls, presumably from different people from their perspective, and hopefully they will start to install some serve charging system. I would suggest that we all do this from time to time even in our local area. I am doing it locally so that those of you who pass through the Chicago area or in northern Illinois in the future, have several options to stop and grab a bite to eat or a place to sleep and charge.

DFibRL8R | July 7, 2013

+1 drp

The fact is we personally need chargers when we're away from home but have the most influence in our immediate communities. I agree with encouraging adoption if EV tech by supporting businesses that have already adopted and enlightening those that haven't especially in our own backyards. When I do stay at another, I make sure to write a note to their manager or leave a comment card etc about the experience good or bad. In most parts of the country, EVs are still pretty rare so we have to be a bit more vocal IMO.

Bighorn | July 7, 2013

Tell'em it's no different than using their complimentary hair dryer. Omit this part-->(for twelve hours;0)

cybrown | July 7, 2013

@bfranks I'm looking for charging solutions in Ocean City. What else did you wind up using?

Philip2 | July 7, 2013

You may also ask if they have a 220 or 240V outlet (used with dryers or electric stoves). It may be a good idea to check for campgrounds in the area, they may have 50A hookups you can use

AmpedRealtor | July 7, 2013

I would just ask them where their laundry facilities are, unplug one of their dryers and plug in your car. If they say something, tell them you prefer to dry clothes in your car.

stevenmaifert | July 7, 2013

At least one industry association is trying to get the word out:

Bighorn | July 7, 2013

Just forwarded that to our Travel and Tourism board and the mayor.

Brian H | July 7, 2013

The talk of "charging stations" is a bit misleading re Teslas; they need outlets, not chargers as such. Cheaper than the GE charger, etc., I assume!

KendallPB | July 8, 2013

Just call and ask; what's the big deal? "Hey, I have an electric car--do you have an outdoor outlet (or can I park in your garage) where I can plug in? My cable's X feet long."

But also, do you have to charge there? Can you charge to/from? E.g., you said the Supercharger's 90 miles away...well, if you range charge there, is there anywhere else you could charge, close by but perhaps not right there--take a little break from your week-long trip to charge somewhere near-but-not-at-your-hotel? (Just trying to think outside the box.)

Shoot, Google is your friend. Avalon's 25 miles away and has chargers:

Could you charge there a few times? Maybe you should stay there instead of in Wildwood. ;-) (Kidding--I'm sure you have reasons for Wildwood.)

stangel | July 9, 2013

For what it's worth, I just had the following exchange with Sycamore Springs Resort and Spa near San Luis Obispo:


My wife and I will be staying three nights (July 19-22) to celebrate our anniversary. We'd like to bring our electric vehicle, a Tesla Model S, however we wouldn't be able to do so unless we had a place to charge it while in the area. Is there any chance your parking accommodations would include access to an outlet, preferably 240 volts? Electricity typically costs about 15 cents per kWh, so my 60 kWh car costs about $9 for a full charge; we'd be happy to cover that cost, if it meant we could leave the gas-guzzler behind!

Thank you in advance for considering my request. We're very much looking forward to our stay!

Kind regards,




Unfortunately we do not have any outlets that would accommodate this request on our property.



Please consider this for the future. Many upscale hotels are competing for the luxury traveler business, and this is one factor I'll consider when choosing where to stay. Tesla in particular is producing 2,000 cars each month, many of which stay right here in California. With on-board chargers, there's no complicated charging station for you to install -- just provide the electricity (at cost, if necessary) and we'll do the rest!

stimeygee | July 9, 2013

I'm at an old hotel in Maine as I type this. Its relatively upscale so they're more apt to try to accommodate. But I - stupidly - came without asking (forgot), so when i got here I politely but firmly said: I need a 110 volt outlet to charge my car. Point me to a good one. And they did.

I have extension cords so its minimal hassle for them. They mainly wanted to be sure I wasn't parking on the grass.

If anything they were apologetic that they weren't more "with the times."

I think it gets trickier if you start asking for 240 volts. Freaks people out. Just tell them its like charging a computer or phone, it just needs to stay plugged in for a few days. And give em $20 or whatever for electricity and/or their time.

Now, we had to stop overnight mid-trip to do a full recharge. For that I did a lot of research and picked a hotel midway that has a chargepoint station. Called to make sure it was operational and available. Getting stuck mid trip would have been much more problematic.

TMS P85 | July 9, 2013

This was something GREAT about Hawaii. I just came back from a 2 week trip to Hawaii and wow I was surprised how green they are there. We stayed at two different hotels and I walked through a few parking lots and ALL of the ones I saw had chargers for electric cars.

Of course all of them (except for 1 time) were empty. There must be some initiative in Hawaii for electric cars which is wonderful.