Airports seem like an ideal place to recharge electric vehicles – the cars sit unused for long periods of time and could benefit from something productive like slow charging. Environmental correspondent Jim Motavalli took an aerial view of the current state of airport electric vehicle charging stations and found charging stations at 11 major US airports.


The most interesting and comprehensive one is San Francisco International Airport. Just like the metro area and Silicon Valley, SFO is more electrified than anywhere else. There's EV preferred parking charging stations at all of its public garages. "Best of all, there no charge for the charge!" according to an airport promotional statement. The best offering is the Domestic Garage – with 15 stalls. There are Level 1 and 2 chargers throughout the airport, and visitors are asked to bring their own charging cable for Level 1.

ChargePoint is playing a big role in charging stations being placed at major airport parking garages. Logan Airport in Boston, John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, and Oakland International Airport offer several of the ChargePoint stations. It's free at Logan and Oakland airports, but costs money at JFK Airport and Reagan, which can be covered on a credit card or ChargePoint payment card. At Denver International Airport (see above), there are two Juice Bars in Indoor Valet within parking garages. There's no charge for the electricity, but you do have to pay for the parking.

What about the possibility that an electric car's battery could get burned out from too much charging? After all, you're probably going to be gone for a few days and the charging will only take a few hours. Since charging can be scheduled and shuts off automatically when the battery is full, overcharging doesn't appear to be an issue. Tesla Motors faced a crisis earlier this year with batteries in its Roadster electric sports cars "bricking," but that had to do with batteries burning out when drivers ran the state of charge so far down that the battery stopped working, not putting too much energy in. As for airports, it seems unlikely that EV car owners will have their battery fried during their trip.


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  • 14 Comments
      Smurf
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think in all fairness, the idea of "pay" EV charging spots, located in long term parking ares, providing Level1 charging is a good idea. While it is nice to offer free charging and a prime parking spot for early EV adopters, we are now heading into the phase where EV's become more main stream. Put EV charging in standard long term parking areas and charge a "fair" rate. EV drivers can take the shuttle bus from long term parking just like everyone else. 120V Level1 chargers are more than sufficient since the EV's will be parked there long enough to charge the batteries, no matter what the charging level...
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smurf
        I agree that the EV spots should be in places where they aren't desirable for ICE cars to park in. And L1, 120V charging is just fine too. They probably only should charge $1 more if they really wanted to.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      They need chargers that are portable for the people working there to swap around. Just put in quite a few outlets. But, it is a good idea.
      • 1 Year Ago
      While it sure is nice to feel the love for us EV drivers, having L2 chargers where a car can sit for days to weeks is ridiculous. The way to do it is with some nearby - but off-airport - parking service that will hold your car and be sure to plug it in a specified amount of time before your scheduled return. You can spread a small number of chargers around to a large number of EVs in this way. Yes, we would have to pay for the service, but just remember what you saved in gasoline and emitted carbon.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, all they really need to do for EVs is install a few normal 120V outlets and provide video security. Just let people plug in their simple 120V EVSEs and trickle charge their cars while traveling. The only worry is that thieves will come steal the EVSEs but I doubt there is that much of a market for them. Perhaps instead of 120V outlets, install really cheap 120V EVSEs. In bulk, they should not be more than a couple hundred bucks and even that price the maker is is making a huge profit on them.
        JPWhite
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        There may not be much of a black market for EVSE's right now, but at $800 for the Nissan EVSE, it won't take long for thieves to focus in on them. The ability to padlock the EVSE to the vehicle is the obvious deterrent car manufacturers should offer.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very interesting article. Sac Airport has several charging stations too and they are free. You should check their website for location. It is also important for each airport to publish their charge station location on Plug-n-share and ChargePoint. In relation to over charging, I have two EV cars and they are always plugged in. Being Pluged In allows for the car to also control the battery temperature. The battery charging shuts off when full. Last but not least if it is plug in, you could warm/cool down the car when you arrive at the airport, without having to use any of your battery power. Almost all EV cars have apps and ways to control them remotely...including climate control.
      noevfud
      • 2 Years Ago
      For airport parking inexpensive and low -load L1 charging will satisfy most needs, allow for more stations and less infrastructure. In addition this company may want to LEARN where the charge port is on a LEAF:)
        • 2 Years Ago
        @noevfud
        I agree that L2 is overkill for the charging needs of most EVs but I wouldn't want to leave my own adapter exposed to theft or damage for a longer term of parking. I'd rather see quick chargers installed, though not every EV can make use of those and there is the damned plug incompatibility issue there.
      EVnerdGene
      • 2 Years Ago
      They had free-charging parking spots, prime parking near terminals, at LAX over ten years ago. Spots always full. Either an EV left for several weeks, or a FUV (no law to keep them out). That worked well. Gov'ment funded - of course.
      atc98092
      • 2 Years Ago
      My concern is a car parked at the charging spot for days at a time, which blocks someone else from using it. Unless it's valet and they can move cars around, doesn't seem like the most efficient use of a charging station. Parking garages at shopping centers make more sense, since you're only going to be there for a limited amount of time, as opposed to multi-day. And if you are parking at an airport garage for multiple days, you are going to pay a fortune. They may not be charging for the electricity, but believe me, you're still gonna pay for it!
        JPWhite
        • 1 Year Ago
        @atc98092
        There is a growing market for EV charging at 3rd party airport parking lots. They can valet park, give you a ride to/from the airport terminal, and charge you less per day to park than the airport long-term and economy lots. The electric cost is so trivial when compared to daily parking fees 3rd party lots could provide this service at no extra cost and pick up a ready market of customers happy their vehicle will be charged and looked after.
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      How much use do the chargers get? I would hope there are time limits for the use of the spots.
        JPWhite
        • 1 Year Ago
        @throwback
        In short term parking that is easy enough to police time limits, but it doesn't make sense in long term parking when the owner is away on a trip. He/she can't very well pop back and free up he spot once the charge is complete. Valet parking would be one option to better utilize the charging outlets. Provide standard 120v outlets in many locations in parking lots, say at the light poles where wiring already exists, doesn't even have to be a covered lot.
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