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Article by HNS
Posted on 01 June 2019
The result was outstanding as we've seen the entire region adapt and invest in its infrastructure to welcome a growing number of EV drivers. With the support of Tesla, we tested douzens of routes from every Scottish city and discovered empirically the power of Scottish Tourism in the future of transport too.
The number of Tesla EV charging points doubled during our 12 months campaign, over 40 hotels and tourist destinations have installed recharging points and another 20 have improved the system they already had.
We lost count how many times we have heard people say that Scotland isn't ready for electric vehicles. Considering Scotland is our passion and focus, we decided it was time to act on it to check how much of it was true and how much was misinformation.
Scotland is one of the regions in the UK that most benefits from Tourism. The number of people that travel to Scotland to experience the North Coast 500 or just drive through the Highlands is truly staggering and has been growing year by year. Not having enough recharging points for electric cars is an important issue, like many Scandinavian countries, Scotland prides itself on investing on and relying on green energy. Government grants and schemes encourage residents and businesses to be greener and embrace a lifestyle that is kinder to the precious environment and natural beauty that the country is so well known for.
Scotland was the one of the first countries in the world to harness electricity from its waters, it is reponsible for 25% of all Europe's offshore electricity generating capability and renewables are the single largest contributor to electricity generation (higher than both nuclear generation and fossil fuel generation). This background information is of great importance to understand how and why the country has embraced EVs more than other regions in the UK. Culturally speaking, it fits the region's ethos as well as political and financial targets.
The first phase of our work was identifying how safe we would be travelling to the most remote areas of Scotland completely unaware of the location of the recharging points. We wanted to have the same experience a petrol or diesel car driver would have, but in an electric car: to simply drive and find recharging points when needed, allowing ourselves enough time and distance to look for one. During the first process of research, we relied on Tesla's online map and different apps to look for recharging points, but what we found out in our first couple of journeys is that although there were plenty of different types of recharging points on the way, a number of them were faulty and others were so slow that even recharging overnight was not long enough for a full recharge.
We began the process of contacting staff at hundreds of hotels in Scotland to find out if they either had recharging points available on site or if they knew of the closest recharging point where their guests driving EVs could recharge. What happened after that became one of the most inspiring experiences we’ve had to date.
Whilst not every hotel had recharging points installed at their property, all of them were aware of the nearest location where a recharging point was functional, which they would then direct their guests to if needed. Our interest in their EV charging facilities was taken very seriously by all hotels, as a result, during a period of 10 months, an overwhelming number of hotels not only welcomed us on different occasions to try their charging points and give them feedback on how to improve them, but also did all they could to improve the actual experience of EV drivers before arrival, during their stay and at checkout.
We very quickly realised that the network of hotels is directly linked to the success of a region’s full implementation of EV charging points. The link between transport and tourism couldn’t be stronger in relation to EVs as well. Scotland was and continues to invest on the installation and improvement of recharging points one hotel at time, from guesthouses to five-star hotels, every new recharging point installation meant the possibility of attracting more EV drivers to the location to recharge, enjoy food and drinks or stay overnight.
When we began our 12 months journey of research and discovery, there was already a good number of luxury hotels that had acted a few years before by installing one or several Tesla Superchargers (Destination Chargers) in their car park. Speaking to other fellow EV drivers while we travelled on test routes, we found out that pretty much all EV drivers were aware of the luxury hotels that had a Tesla Supercharger or was a Tesla Destination site. The drivers themselves were already relying on luxury hotels to recharge and knew that it would be more likely to find them at luxury hotels. Such knowledge became vital to us as the link between hotels and recharging points was already being exercised daily so the hotels that did not have recharging points were indeed missing out on a very important opportunity as they were not being considered by EV drivers.
It was then that we began a low-key campaign to encourage all Scottish Hotels and the tourist attractions around them to act fast and install recharging points if they didn’t have one. A number of hotels simply did not have a budget available to invest on an appropriate location within their grounds where an EV recharging point could be installed, others had great difficulty with their electricity as they would notice that they would lose out on electricity inside the property while EVs were recharging outside. To several small hotels that welcome a large number of visitors in rural locations on a day to day basis, the problem wasn’t the willingness to embrace EV drivers, it was in many cases, their building and infrastructure. In these cases, what we’ve seen happen was that the hotel would then partner with other local businesses so that they would all use the same recharging point nearby and make sure it was always in perfect working order. A truly beautiful example of how businesses can rely on other local businesses and their own community to provide a better experience to visitors.
Twelve months on, what we see is something both inspiring and unbelievably rewarding, we see every region in Scotland with at least one EV recharging point within 15 to 20 miles, in a few of the most remote regions there were none. Many of these are at hotels, tourist attractions, shops as well as of course, service stations. Some hotels have several Tesla Superchargers, every hotel and guesthouse will know of the closest point if they don't have one and there are several in place in the cities right now. It's also important to point out that in the booming city of Dundee EV drivers don't need pay for parking anywhere in the city. The city is encouraging drivers to embrace EVs.
We've driven to every possible direction all the way North, West, East and South. We covered all regions without problems, all we recommend is that you check the maps and ask the hotels you visit where the closest EV recharging point is, so you always know where to stop.
Our twelve months journey is evidence that it has taken Scotland 12 months to significantly raise their game and fully embrace EV drivers. We are not even talking about government grants or incentives, we are talking about many businesses’ willingness to be greener and to make those who embrace a greener lifestyle enjoy their time in Scotland better.
Every country is defined by its people, it is the people who make change, every small change creates a bigger change. When businesses and industries work together for the overall improvement of their sector, this is the result.
We hope Scotland can inspire other regions and countries to embrace the future that is already here, one hotel and tourist destination at a time.
We thank Tesla for their support and invite you to help our research by letting us know:
1) How many and what type of EV charging points the hotel you work at has
2) How often guests are using them
If you need marketing support for your hotel or tourism business please visit our partners tourismmarketing.agency
Article by HNS
Posted on 01 June 2019