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.
And you’ve probably already noticed the growing momentum towards drivers choosing an electric vehicle (commonly known as EVs) as their car.
The RAC estimates that there are already more than 330,000 zero-emission battery EVs on the UK’s roads – with more than 125,000 registered so far in 2021 alone (along with 320,000 plug-in hybrids and over 700,000 conventional hybrids).
What’s more, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, almost one in seven new cars sold in the UK this year are expected to have a charging plug (this is an increase from one in 10 in 2020 and one in 30 in 2019).
And the impact on you, as a holiday let owner? A significant proportion of your guests will travel to your property by car – perhaps even all of them.
In these cases, being able to park easily (and preferably for free) will always be important to them – but as well as ease of parking, now that electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, they’ll expect that they can charge their car at your holiday cottage too.
So, could it be the right time for you to provide an electric vehicle charging point at your holiday let to attract EV owners? Here’s what you need to know…
Why you should install 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 includes 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.
Having an electric vehicle charger installed at your holiday let is a great selling point.
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 offer around 227 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 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 towards a greener planet
You may already be providing solar energy or eco-friendly products at your holiday property, in which case, supporting the use of electric cars is a natural next step. But, 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 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 and the size of the car battery. According to Podpoint, the cost to charge a typical electric car with a 60kWh battery and 200-mile range costs about £10.00 for a full charge (calculated at 17p/kWh).
It’s worth shopping around for an alternative energy supplier too, if it makes sense to switch and save. 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 guests pay 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 EV’s paying £300 to stay over a weekend in the low season could reduce your income by 10-20% due to car charging costs. However, charging a one-car family an extra £10 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 £10-£15 would probably cover the costs.
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.
Whether to charge or not a choice for you, as a holiday let owner, to make.
How much does an EV charging device cost to buy and install?
Organisations like the RAC cite that a home charging point typically costs around £800, whilst EDF Energy is offering a smart home charger, fully installed from £549. It all depends on the type of charging device you decide on and your existing electricity supply capabilities.
Check with your accountant if the installation costs are tax-deductible.
Check for any available EV-related grants
It’s a good idea too, to check for any available government and local government EV schemes as you may be able to apply for a grant of up to 75% (correct at the time of writing) towards the cost of your new EV charging point.
For example, there’s the OLEV Grant, also known as Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), which could reduce the cost of your home charger by up to £350.
Securing a grant could mean that, ultimately, you’re only paying a fraction of the cost you first expected.
Installing an EV charging point
First, you need to establish whether your property can have a home charging point installed. The main criteria are usually:
- You have dedicated off-street parking available
- There’s a Wi-Fi connection at your property or a SIM router with a 3G or 4G SIM
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
- 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.)
EV charging points health and safety considerations
Did you know? 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. Guests should also have clear instructions on how to safely use it and your terms and conditions should explicitly forbid the charging of EV’s through windows or using an extension lead.
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.
Is it time to take charge of the situation?
Despite an initial outlay for the equipment and installation, there are many potential benefits to having an ev charging facility at your holiday cottage – one of the biggest being another chance to delight and impress your paying guests.