The Hampton Inn has brought something new to Sault Ste. Marie beyond its trademark “hamptonality” and passion for a remarkable guest experience. In the fall of 2018, they became the first business in the eastern Upper Peninsula to unveil an electric charging station on their premises, and the first hotel in the region to offer this service as an amenity to their guests.
The addition of these charge points have been good for business, says the hotel manager Khaled Eldisouky, and they equip the Sault for the next generation of transportation. The International Energy Agency predicts electric vehicle usage to increase worldwide from its humble 3 million drivers of today to 125 million by 2030. With these figures, more and more establishments are looking to accommodate this shift to meet the needs of their clients while vehicle manufacturers work diligently to improve the performance of electric vehicles.
Eldisouky says that the idea for the charging station came about through the hotel’s partnership with Smithers Winter Test Center located just outside Sault Ste. Marie, in Raco. Smithers is a popular destination for automobile manufacturers to test product performance amidst the trademark winter weather of northern Michigan. When seasonal employees and clients arrive for winter work, many book long-term stays with the Hampton.
“Vehicle manufacturers and tier suppliers are working hard to continuously improve battery performance. Our winter testing facility provides an excellent laboratory for them to do just that,” stated Sean Connolly, General Manager of Smithers Winter Test Center. “With electric vehicles comes the need for infrastructure to recharge the vehicles while they’re visiting the region. This includes not just the proving ground, but also in town, and along the route from Detroit.”
While charging stations abound in metropolitan areas, they are difficult to locate in more rural regions such as the Upper Peninsula. In order to remedy this situation in the Sault, and to better meet the needs of these seasonal guests, Eldisouky worked closely with Smithers on the installation of the Hampton’s own charging station. Eldisouky says that despite the high initial cost of the project (roughly $10,000), the investment will yield long-term results.
“The new chargers at the Hampton Inn have been extremely helpful for visitors to our facility,” said Connolly.
Access to charging stations is now having a greater impact on travel and destinations. Many individuals who have electrically-powered cars are compelled to limit their travels to areas within range of a charging station. With this in mind, the new charging station not only benefits the Hampton, but that city as a whole as it allows a new demographic of tourists, visitors, businessmen, and more to visit, shop, and stay in the Sault.