Electric vehicles, otherwise known as EVs, are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. According to nextgreencar.com there were 600,000 plug-in hybrid or electric cars on the road at the end of August 2021 and with the sale of new petrol and diesel cars due to be banned from 2030, this number is set to rapidly increase.
It should therefore come as no surprise that there is rising demand for holiday home owners to offer guests facilities to charge their car whilst they are on holiday. However, before rushing out and installing a charging point there are various factors to consider. For example, how much is it going to cost? How many more bookings are you likely to gain by offering EV charging? Are there any insurance implications? Whilst this article might not answer all your questions it aims to address some of these issues to help you decide whether it is time to invest in EV charging at your holiday home.
How much will it cost?
We have all heard stories of holiday home owners finding guests charging their cars from a regular three-pin plug with an extension lead dangling through the window of a holiday cottage. Whilst it is technically possible to charge a car from a thirteen-amp plug, it is definitely not recommended. It will take anything from eight to twenty-four hours to charge a car from a thirteen-amp socket. This not only puts a huge strain on your electric circuit, but also poses an additional fire risk if the socket over heats. In addition, having guests leaning out of windows and trailing extension leads across the driveway or road, is certainly going to ring alarm bells in any risk assessments and is unlikely to be covered by your insurance. If you are going to offer EV charging at your holiday let it is therefore essential to install an electric charging point.
The initial installation costs can vary hugely but Mark Bennett from Energy Helpline suggests that ‘home charging points on average cost around £800 to install’. You will need to consider factors such as whether the charging point will be free standing or wall mounted, single or dual socket and what speed of charge to provide. Your options might be influenced by several factors including the status of your current electric supply, whether you have a private driveway and how many holiday lets you have on site. It is worth shopping around and getting a few quotes from reputable suppliers.
At the time of writing there were no grants available for the installation costs of EV chargers for holiday homes but this may change. It is also worth remembering that any costs incurred installing an EV charger at your holiday home will be tax deductible.
The question of whether to charge guests or not?
Once you have a charger installed you need to consider the running costs. The average cost to fully charge an EV with a range of 100 miles is about £3, but obviously this will increase for cars with a larger range. Most guests will be using the charger to ‘top up’ at the end of the day rather than charge a completely empty battery.
This raises the question of whether to ask guests to pay for their energy consumption to charge their cars or not. Some chargers can record the amount of kWh that is used, or you could add a flat rate for EV charging in the same way as some owner’s charge for dogs. Alternatively, you could simply increase your rates by a small amount each week and swallow the cost of EV charging yourself. Other factors to consider are whether you own a high-end property with a reasonable price tag for the week, or a more budget holiday let where the extra electricity consumption would erode substantially into your profits. If guests are already paying for a luxury getaway it might appear mean to add on additional charges, whereas charging guests extra during a bargain winter weekend break might be more acceptable.
Regardless of the type of property you own, you might decide that having ‘free’ EV charging is a useful marketing tool. Not only is this likely to attract more bookings, but it is also likely to help create a good first impression before the guests even arrive on holiday.
Will having an EV charging point affect my insurance?
Assuming that you have used a certified installer and approved charging products, there shouldn’t be any insurance implications for offering EV charging. Do make sure that you inform your insurance provider of your plans before you install your charger though, just to double check and allow your policy to be appropriately amended.
It should also be noted that EV charging will need to be included in your Risk Assessment. Guests will need to have clear instructions on how to use the charger and your terms and conditions should include a clause forbidding guests to charge their car from a plug through a window of your property.
What if I can’t offer EV charging?
There will always be cases where installing an EV charging point is too tricky, or simply not an option. If this is the case then it might be worth finding out where the local charging points are and including this in your information file. Whilst it will always be more convenient for guests to charge their car overnight on a private driveway, there are a growing number of charging points across the UK which guests can also access.
Am I likely to get more bookings by offering EV charging?
As electric vehicles are becoming more popular, an increasing number of guests are going to be looking for EV charging points when they go on holiday. Therefore, perhaps a better question to ask is how many bookings will you lose if you don’t offer EV charging? Whilst everyone’s circumstances vary, there is little doubt that offering guests the facilities to charge their car will not only appeal to the more eco-conscious guests but to more and more regular holidaymakers as we continue to make the switch over to electric cars.