BEST WESTERN hotel group pledges electric car charging points across half its portfolio by September.
Britain’s largest group of independent hotels today unveiled a bold eco-friendly plan to install the world’s first network of electric car charging stations at hotels.
Best Western will have 50 of the charging stations – which allow eco-friendly electric car owners to charge up their car’s battery by plugging into the latest, future-proofed power point – installed at its UK hotels by the end of May 2013.
Working alongside Zero Carbon World (ZCW), the acclaimed green charity committed to reducing the UK’s carbon footprint, bosses at the company have pledged that its ‘green’ campaign will roll out to include half of its 270 hotels by September this year.
This will increase ZCW’s network of charging stations by 35% nationally.
Government estimates say there will be 1.2 million electric cars on Britain’s roads by 2020 – and Best Western recognises that there is now a real and increasing widespread demand for ‘green’ transport and the associated means to power the new cars. Electric cars are also available to rent from Hertz, Zip Car and Brand New Forest as an eco friendly alternative.
Guests will be able to drive their electric car into a Best Western hotel car park and plug it in to charge the battery after their visit.
Best Western was the first UK hotel group to offer free guest internet across the entire portfolio and campaigned for it to be offered by all other hotel groups. At the time, the move was questioned by industry insiders, in a similar way to questions being asked about the benefits of electric car charging.
Best Western’s chairman Angela Burns, a longstanding electric car driver, said: “There are currently some 10,000 electric car users on UK roads but that really is the tip of the iceberg – there will, according to the latest Department of Transport figures, be 1.2 million eCars on UK roads by 2020.
“Those cars will each require a charging station – which means there will need to be 1.2M charging stations by 2020 of which 10% must be publicly accessible, like our charging stations.
“What we are seeing now is very much the first wave of a movement which is set to become huge over the next decade. As a company that is forward thinking it is only right that Best Western is at the forefront of this advance towards greener transport.
“We will have charging stations available to use at 50 of our hotels as of the end of May and we plan to roll the scheme out to additional hotels – the first hotel company in the world to offer this.”
Angela thinks that it’s beneficial for hoteliers themselves to own an electric car, as they are great second cars and also a lot of hoteliers live close to their hotels and shop locally so she added: “There is no reason why electric isn’t a genuinely viable lifestyle choice now. Best Western has a strong alliance with the Green Business Tourism Scheme (GBTS), which our competitors don’t. The market for electric vehicles will only increase, electric cars are becoming bigger and better and hoteliers will need to look more closely at how they respond.”
Charles Roberts, spokesman for Zero Carbon World, said: “Best Western’s initiative is a massive thumbs up for electric cars.
“The latest electric cars are light years away from the early models that struggled to impress motoring experts with sluggish handling and poor battery life. Not only do electric cars have low fuel and maintenance costs they also benefit from low tax rates as company cars and have zero emissions.
“With over 50 locations Best Western is the hotel group with the most EV charging stations in its portfolio anywhere in the world. No other hotel brand has such an extensive network or is investing in EV to the same extent as Best Western.”
Investment from major car manufacturers like Renault, Nissan, Tesla, BMW, Mitsubishi, Citroen, Ford, Mercedes, Range Rover and Smart Mini totals billions. Even the UK government has invested a huge amount to help push the boundaries for the modern electric car – £400 million has been ploughed into its Plugged In Places scheme.
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