There’s planned refueling taking place at more than the breakfast stations at Hilton hotels across the U.S., Canada and Mexico in the coming years.
Hilton announced Thursday a plan to add as many as 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Connectors across 2,000 of its hotels in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Despite the Tesla branding, the chargers work on any North American electric vehicle model.
This is a major step forward for both Hilton and the EV sector, as fast charging is a crucial part of the modern road trip. Hilton’s roadside hotel portfolio will likely get a boost in traveler appeal once the chargers are fully implemented.
“Through this expanded agreement with Tesla, we are significantly changing the landscape of universal EV chargers in North America in an incredibly short amount of time,” Matt Schuyler, Hilton’s chief brand officer, said in a statement. “Across Hilton’s family of award-winning brands, this network of EV chargers will offer our guests even more value with the convenience of much-needed overnight charging access in more locations.”
According to a search on Hilton’s website, there are currently 1,150 U.S. Hilton-affiliated hotels with EV-charging capabilities. There are only 67 in Canada and 22 in Mexico.
At full buildout, Hilton’s 20,000-charger network across North America would put the company ahead of Los Angeles County (18,287) for having the most electric vehicle chargers on the continent, per data from car buying platform iSeeCars. It doesn’t appear as though Hilton is necessarily targeting certain parts of North America over others for the EV charging rollout.
A company spokesperson noted Hilton is providing the option for owners of all properties in the North American portfolio to engage with a set of preferred vendors to install EV charging stations on their properties at their own discretion. While it might not be a brand standard across the entire company, nearly all of Hilton’s all-suites and “focused service” brands, including Embassy Suites and Home2 Suites, now have EV charging stations as a requirement on new-build hotels in the U.S.
Hilton did not provide a set timeline on when it would achieve the 20,000-charger benchmark, but the spokesperson noted installation would begin in 2024 and take “over a couple of years” to fully implement.
As for how much it will cost (because there’s often no such thing as a free lunch or EV charging), pricing will be determined by Tesla. Charging prices may vary but will be in line with other Tesla stations in the area. Guests will need to download the Tesla app to reserve, pay and charge their vehicles.
It costs $15.52 on average to charge a Tesla, according to EnergySage.
The need (and opportunity) for hotels to offer EV charging
The announcement comes months after a report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association noted only a quarter of the 17,000 hotels in the U.S. offered some form of EV charging and many of those only had a single charging port. Hilton and Hyatt were specifically cited for offering EV charging at less than a third of their respective U.S. portfolios, per a Bloomberg analysis of the report.
A Marriott spokesperson did not respond in time for publication as to the company’s own North American EV footprint.
Hilton spokespeople did not indicate if there were certain brands that would see more EV-charging rollout than others, but the company announcement did note participating hotels would see at least six chargers at each property. This is a significant boost amid the dichotomy of a broader embrace of electric vehicles across the U.S. but concerns there isn’t yet enough infrastructure in place to charge these types of automobiles.
“To ensure electric vehicle adoption at scale, our joint industry goal must be to vastly improve upon the traditional gasoline vehicle ownership experience, not just meet it,” Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla’s senior director of charging infrastructure, said in a statement. “Installing infrastructure at popular destinations like Hilton hotels enables EV owners to charge where they park, meaning no unnecessary refueling stops along their journey.”
Tinucci indicated Tesla planned to further this charging initiative with “other industry leaders.”
Hilton sees this as a way to better appeal to changing guest demands. The company announcement claimed EV charging capabilities had the fastest search volume increase to date this year of any other hotel search attribute.