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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | February 13, 2014

Eco-conscious travelers with a penchant for electric vehicles (EV) now can add Sin City to their list of EV-friendly destinations. Yesterday, gaming company MGM Resorts International (mgmresorts.com) announced it has begun installing a total of 27 EV charging stations at its nine Las Vegas resorts, as well as at its corporate headquarters. What's more, the service will be available to employees and guests at no cost.

"It is important that our guests have the convenience and ability to continue sustainable habits during their time with us," said Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer for MGM. Users of the new charging stations will be able to access real-time information about them -- which ones are open for use, the percentage of charge left in their vehicle, and when their vehicle is fully charged -- via a mobile application. In MGM's estimates, their project, when completed, will be the largest EV installation of its kind in the state of Nevada.

Currently, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Las Vegas and Circus Circus Reno each have four operating charging stations, and the installation of the remaining 15 are expected to be online by the end of this month. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, one million EVs are expected to be on the road by 2015, both individually owned and through car rental agencies, which have been gradually increasing their green fleet numbers in response to customer demand.

MGM isn't the only hotel company taking note of the growing green driving trend. The 428-room Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center (seaportboston.com) in Boston recently added four complimentary charging stations, which can accommodate up to eight cars. And, the 329-room Hilton Concord (concordhilton.com) in San Francisco's East Bay is leading the pack among that chain's eco-friendly hotels: Just months ago, in response to guest demand, the property expanded its EV charging capacity to handle eight cars. The charging stations, says Jack Hlavac, general manager, are '"are not just an additional amenity for our guests. It's what our clients and customers now expect from us as a market leader in sustainability."

According to the Washington, D.C.-based American Hotel & Lodging Association, hoteliers should step up their complimentary EV offering, because the cost to them is practically pennies. "Don't be reluctant to offer the electricity from your hotel's charging station(s) free of charge as a promotional advantage," states a memorandum on the subject to member hoteliers. "To give you an idea of how much the electricity cost will be for charging a Chevy Volt, assuming the U.S. national average electricity rate in 2011 of 12¢ per kWh, you're giving away less than $1 per charge."