Your latest instalment of articles and opinions from across the hospitality sector.
Continuing our focus on the theme of change in the hospitality sector, this week we turn our attention to the rise in electronic vehicle charging points (EVCPs) and what this means for landlords and tenants. Petrol and diesel car sales have fallen dramatically in recent years whilst electric vehicle sales have rocketed – a 125% increase in the UK in the last year. The RAC reports that in April 2021 there were 239,000 zero-emission electric vehicles in the UK. This trend will only continue after the UK Government announced it would ban sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030. There has also been a huge increase in the number of electric scooters with projections of 4.6 million scooters worldwide by 2024.
Whilst electric vehicles require charging, the infrastructure is not currently in place in the UK for all the cars, mopeds, power assisted bicycles and e-scooters. There are only 20,775 public EVCPs available in the UK (as at 4 January 2021) and it is estimated an extra 7,000 are needed every year to meet demand. Another challenge in particular for e-scooters is storage – whilst you can lock up your e-bike, you can’t carry your e-scooter whilst you shop or stick it under your chair whilst you have a bite to eat.
We see this as an opportunity for landlords and tenants. There are multiple benefits of installing EVCPs – from improving your green credentials, driving customer traffic to the retail outlet, shopping centre or restaurant not to mention generating revenue from advertising on the charge points themselves. EVCPs are becoming the hot ticket in town every landlord and occupier will want to plug into! On top of this, local authorities are increasingly imposing EVCP conditions on development sites to improve the charging infrastructure and drive low-emission zones – so EVCPs will be an increasing requirement.
On the flip side, there are a number of commercial and legal issues to consider: maintaining EVCPs requires maintenance of both the charge point and the electrical supply. Digging up a car park to access a cable will likely impact footfall. The market is also pretty fragmented with networks taking a different approach on access – customers need to be signed up to the network provider to use its EVCP. How to select the right provider who will still be around in a few years' time? There are also liability issues to consider e.g. who is responsible if the EVCP causes damage to a person, car or property? What planning and third party consents are needed? Is there a risk of accidents from customers tripping over e-scooters in pubs and restaurants? Should retail parks, bars and shopping centres introduce scooter lockers or drop-off zones?
There are also practical issues. Shoppers leaving the car on charge whilst they shop and perhaps have a bite to eat, may be a time saver, but how do you convince them to come back and move their car when it has finished charging to make way for others?
WTTC predicts a monthly £19.8 billion loss for the UK if international travel is effectively delayed until August.
Marriott International launches Fairfield by Marriot in Europe
(Hotel News Resource)
Marco Pierre White signs with World Hotels