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What would you do if you could reduce your monthly fuel cost by 70% for the hotel shuttle van? In our August newsletter EcoGreenHotel detailed the progress toward creating a nationwide infrastructure for electric vehicles to be driven on a large scale. The September newsletter detailed how hotels can increase their revenue by being part of a regional approach to electric vehicle introduction. This month we are going to detail how an electric vehicle can dramatically reduce a green hotel's shuttle fleet operation costs.

First lets look at the incentives and rebates that a green hotel will receive when purchasing an Electric Vehicle.

FEDERAL REBATES & INCENTIVES

For Cars and Vans
$2,500 to $7,500 tax credit, depending on size of battery (4 kWh to 16 kWh), for electric-drive vehicles sold after December 31, 2008. The incentive applies to at least 200,000 units per auto manufacturer before it phases out. Essentially, the first 200,000 vehicles of a make and model sold receive a rebate.

Charge Stations
Tax credit equaling 50% of the cost to install an EV charge station (as well as other alternative fuel stations), with a maximum $2,000 credit for each station installed. Applies to qualified equipment installed before the end of 2010.

Note,green hotels are not required to install a charging station for operation of an EV shuttle van. Any 110v or 220v outlet will charge the vehicle. Charging stations are an option that can be used to attract eco-conscience travelers.

In addition there are numerous state and local incentives that can be employed throughout the country to bring additional money to the project. http://www.pluginamerica.org/why-plug-vehicles/state-federal-incentives

For example, Tennessee is offering an additional $2500 rebate for the first 1000 EV sold to in-state businesses. California Offers rebates of up to $5,000 per light-duty vehicle will be available for individuals and business owners who purchase or lease new eligible zero-emission or plug-in vehicles until the funding runs out.

Now for the fun part, get out your calculators and lets do some simple math using the E36 7-passenger Mini-van offered by Electric Mobile Cars with their estimated range of 220 miles. (That is not an error; the all-electric EMC mini-van is rated at 220 miles at 65mph).A full battery charge for this vehicle will cost $6.50 (45 minutes at $0.10 kWh using a 220v outlet). Lets assume the shuttle is driven 15,000 miles in 2011.

Electric Vehicle - 15,000 miles / 220 miles per fill-up = 68.1 fill-ups/year x $6.50
Annual fuel cost = $443

Gasoline Vehicle - Depending on make and model a typical mini-van will get 20 mpg
Annual fuel cost = $2062 (15,000 miles, 20mpg at $2.75/gallon gasoline).

Electric Vehicle savings = $1619. Add in reductions for maintenance (no oil changes for the all-electric motor) $40.00 x 5 = $200. Total yearly fuel and maintenance savings = $1819.

Unfortunately this is not a perfect world and there is the replacement battery cost we need to factor in. The EMC has a 70,000-mile warranty on the battery and a projected useful life of 5 to 7 years depending on driving conditions and climate. Assume $4500.00 in year six.

Pulling all the numbers together lets use a hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee purchasing a new EV in 2011 for a shuttle vehicle as an example:


Cost of EMC EV 7-Passenger Mini-Van $ 37,300
Federal Rebate - 7,500
State Rebate - 2,500
Purchase Price (does not include sales tax and other miscellaneous charges) $ 27,300

Annual fuel and maintenance cost $443
Annual fuel and maintenance savings $1,819
Five Year Projected Savings $9,095

Obviously these numbers are rough estimates, however they do indicate there are potentially substantial costs savings to be achieved for your hotel. EcoGreenHotel encourages you to explore your options when it comes to your shuttle fleet. If you have any questions in regard to electric vehicles or charging stations, please contact info@ecogreenhotel.com

Reference:
Mini-van MPG - http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byclass/Minivan2010.shtml

About EcoGreenHotel
EcoGreenHotel LLC (Robbinsville, NJ), is a privately held company dedicated to helping lodging facilities address a broad spectrum of sustainability issues. The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, http://www.EcoGreenHotel.com. The company also runs an online marketplace for green products and services at http://www.EcoGreenHotelStore.com. In addition to the online offerings, EcoGreenHotel provides customized consulting services tailored to the needs of the hospitality industry in the areas of energy efficiency and certifications, including LEED, Green Seal and Energy Star. For those properties that have reached certified levels of sustainability, EcoGreenHotel assists with marketing services to position the properties within the growing "green" space and enhance revenue. For further information, email info@EcoGreenHotel.com or call 888-229-0213.

About the Author

Jeff Kiec, LEED AP and EGH Sustainability Director, is a veteran of the environmental service industry. His experience includes engineering building assessments, operational sustainability audits, and environmental site assessments. He has project experience in a range of property types including industrial, multi-family residential and commercial office buildings. He is particularly proficient in finding local, state and government programs that offer credits and rebates available to owners, developers and operators of hotels.