A Guide to Electric Vehicle Charging at Your Holiday Cottage
Back in November 2020, the UK Government announced that the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans would be prohibited after the year 2030. This ‘deadline’ has been brought forward twice now – such is the urgent need to reach the target of 100% zero emissions from these motor vehicles.
You’ve probably already noticed the growing momentum towards drivers choosing an electric vehicle (commonly known as EVs) or hybrid car as more consumers become environmentally conscious and the cost of fuel continues to rise.
As a significant proportion of guests will travel to a holiday cottage in an EV, there’s a rising demand for holiday home owners to offer guests the facility to charge their car whilst on holiday.
So, could it be the right time for you to provide an electric vehicle charging point at your holiday let to attract EV owners? There are lots to consider. In this post, we’ll take a look at the benefits of having an EV charging point, and how much it could cost to install and run.
The benefits of offering an electric vehicle charging point at your holiday cottage
Here are several reasons for investing in an EV charging device for your holiday let:
It will attract more bookings
It’s reasonable to estimate that potential guests who own EVs are more likely to book a holiday let that include a charging point. Most holiday cottage booking websites now have to option to filter holiday cottages with an EV charging point.
EV drivers are also ‘connected’ to numerous apps that indicate exactly where available charge points are located so that they can plan trips. Imagine a guest with an electric car is staying in a holiday cottage near yours which doesn’t have a charger, but they can see via their app that yours does. That would likely choose your property should they return to the area due to your charger.
The convenience of an on-site charging point at your holiday let is a great selling point, will make your property stand out, and increase its appeal to a wider market.
It’s more convenient for your guests
There may indeed be some charging points near your holiday cottage, but it’s not the most convenient option for any EV-owning guests as the charging process can take some time. Guests don’t want to spend their holiday time sitting in a supermarket car park charging their vehicle.
Installing a charger is also especially worthwhile if your property is in a particularly rural location with few, if any, public charging facilities, that involve a detour for guests. This can cause ‘range anxiety’ if guests fear they are going to run out of battery before they get to a charger. Not a great start to a holiday.
Research suggests that 90% of EV charging takes place at a home, and not at a public site. So, the ability to leave an EV on charge overnight at your holiday property is always going to be most convenient for your paying visitors. This convenience can help you stand out from the local competition.
Your competitors already offer a charging point
There’s no getting away from the fact that many holiday letting businesses have already been quick off the mark and have been offering this as a service to guests for some time already.
Premier Cottages, for example, currently offers around 318 holiday homes with EV charging points.
Holiday letting businesses like these have been able to reap the benefits of attracting new and repeat bookers by being early adopters of EV charging technology. This, no doubt will have granted them the edge over some of their competitors.
Charging points at holiday lets will eventually be ‘the norm’
Due to climate concerns and the incoming ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles, the number of guests with an electric vehicle is expected to surge.
Just as guests will always expect the essentials in a holiday home; wi-fi, smart tv’s. In the near future guests will come to expect a charging point for their EV ‘as standard’ – as traditional fuel becomes ever more unpopular.
You’ll be positively contributing toward a greener planet
You may already be providing solar energy or eco-friendly products at your holiday home, in which case, supporting the use of electric cars is a natural next step to help cater for eco-conscious guests.
Whether you’re already eco-conscious as a holiday let owner or not, there’s no denying that now is the time for us all to ‘do our bit’ towards saving the environment.
How much does an EV charging device cost to buy and install?
It all depends on the type of charging device you choose (standing or wall-mounted, single or dual-socket, speed of charge) and your existing electricity supply capabilities.
Typically, a 3kW charging unit will cost between £250 to £500 and a 7kW charging point costing between £450 and £800.
It is also worth remembering that any costs incurred installing an EV charger at your holiday home will be tax-deductible. Check with your accountant.
What grants are available for the installation of an EV charger
It’s a good idea to check for any available government and local government EV schemes as you may be able to apply for a grant towards the cost of your new EV charging point.
Small holiday accommodation businesses can apply for a grant of £350 per charging unit if they can meet the criteria (correct at the time of writing). The criteria details are here:
Securing a grant could mean that, ultimately, you’re only paying a fraction of the cost you first expected.
How much does it cost to charge an EV?
EVs use power that’s measured in kilowatts (kWh), with batteries that have a capacity ranging from 17kWh to around 100kWh. kWh is the same unit that your regular electricity supply at home is measured in.
The average cost incurred for fully charging an EV will vary, depending on the charging point’s speed capability, the size of the car battery and the tariff. According to Podpoint, the cost to charge a typical electric car with a 60kWh battery and 200-mile range costs about £15.00 for a full charge.
To get an accurate cost per kWh, shop around. At the moment, many utility companies are offering tariffs and deals targeted at EV drivers (with some of these suppliers also being able to supply renewable energy as part of their offering).
Should your charge guests to charge their EV at your holiday let?
When deciding whether to charge, it’s a good idea to look at what someone might be paying to stay at your holiday home versus how much electrical energy they could potentially use charging their car.
A large group with several EVs paying £300 to stay over a weekend in the low season could reduce your income by 10-20% due to car charging costs and increasing energy prices. However, charging a one-car family an extra £20 for EV charging who is paying £2000 to stay at your cottage could be considered ‘penny-pinching’.
You could factor EV charging costs into your rental rates. Increasing your rates by £20 per week may cover the cost depending on your tariff and the battery size of the car. Alternatively, offer it as an option on your booking form (just some do for dogs) and charge a fee.
Some charge points have a linked app so that you can see exactly how much the guest is using, so you can bill them. Alternatively, guests install the app and pay based on the charge – like the “pay at the pump” option at fuel stations
Whether to charge or not is your choice but considering the current volatility in electricity prices, it may not be viable to offer it for free.
Installing an EV charging point at your property
First, you need to establish whether your property can have a home charging point installed. The main criteria are usually:
- You have sufficient power to support EV charging
- You have off-street parking available
- You have a strong Wi-Fi signal at your property or a mobile signal so the unit can charge guests via an app.
Make sure you check before ordering that your holiday home is suitable.
Charging point options
You’ll need to choose between:
- A freestanding or a (wall or post) mounted charging point
- Different charging speed capabilities (e.g. ‘rapid’ vs ‘ultra-rapid’)
- One or multiple sockets on your device
- Will you have tethered or un-tethered charge points
- Do you want to monitor guest usage and charge them? Speak to an EV charge point specialist about this, as they can help you decide the best option for you.
- Whether you’d like a key switch fitted to prevent unauthorised use when your accommodation is empty (or an RFID card, key fob, etc.)
Installation for the charging point can be done through either your energy supplier or a specialist company, that is a certified professional.
EV charging points health and safety considerations
Did you know that 26% of accidental fires in the UK are attributed to faulty electrical equipment and their leads.
It’s essential that your charging point is installed by a professional, certified installer, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Failure to do this can mean that you’re putting your holiday home and guests at risk.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires that all electrical systems shall be of such design, construction and installation as to prevent danger.
A really helpful resource to read regarding EV charging point health and safety guidance is RISC Authority’s RC59 Fire safety when charging electric vehicles document.
Note: If you have an EV charge point it should form part of your property risk assessment, with all the correct safety features put in place. Guests should also have clear instructions on how to safely use it.
Make your EV charging rules clear to your guests
Your terms and conditions should explicitly forbid the charging of EVs via a regular three-pin plug into a domestic socket or using an extension lead trailing across your property or through windows. Make this clear, especially if you do not currently offer professionally installed charging options. Note, many insurance companies will not cover you for guests plugging their EV into your domestic sockets.
Your guests should also be aware of whether you have a tethered or untethered charge point so they bring the right cable with them.
Inform your insurer
Before you purchase or install a charging device, inform your insurance provider to let them know that you’re thinking of adding this feature to your holiday home. They will advise whether this will affect your cover or if any endorsements apply. Installing an electric vehicle charging point without notifying your insurer could leave you without cover should something go wrong.
What if you can’t or don’t want to offer EV charging?
If installing an EV charging point isn’t possible or you’ve decided you don’t want the added expense or hassle, make sure your guests know the location of local charging points. There are a growing number of charging points across the UK which guests can also access.