Airport Planning for Potential Revenue from Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations

There are several emerging trends towards electrification in the aviation industry. Funding available from the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has accelerated those trends, with an increased focus on sustainability, resilience and overall greenhouse gas reductions.

Planning for electrification in airport parking and beyond is a big part of the answer. The experience that airports gain now by offering charging and capturing use data will pay future dividends as electrification revolutionizes the United States. We expect demand for charging infrastructure will be similarly exponential. As demand grows, so will customers’ expectations for EV charging infrastructure.

EV Infrastructure Needs Beyond Airport Parking

Most airports are adding charging stations to their parking facilities as an amenity to encourage use of parking services. The rental car industry has also committed to changing their fleets over to EVs.

Airports should have their own team of planners and consultants review any proposed electrification projects from all airport tenants to ensure the airports long term interests are protected. By conducting an airport wide electrification plan, airports are better able to manage their assets and to position changing stations where needed or revenues dictate.

EV Charging Expansion Strategies

Developing strategies for sustaining the growth and quality of EV charging is the next step. Revenue generation approaches that balance price and convenience can be part of the plan as EVs and supporting infrastructure become mainstream.

Currently, some of America’s largest airports levy fees for EV charging in their parking facilities. Others charge fees through profit-driven concessionaires that install and operate the stations. Pricing strategies vary widely, including simply passing on the cost of electricity, elaborate fee structures designed to influence how long an EV is charged, as well as rates that push the limits of what the market will bear. Fees can include charges for the energy used, charges by the hour, or flat fees for connecting to the service.

Knowing the right combination of these factors begins with an understanding of the options for charging EVs:

Costs to Keep in Mind

New federal grants are anticipated to support the capital cost of EV charging services. But operational costs shouldn’t be neglected. Operational costs include electricity, maintenance, network and administrative fees. These are relatively small on the scale of one station: $3,000 – $5,000 a year per or $40,000 over a 10-year life cycle. These costs can quickly add up as charging infrastructure grows into the tens or hundreds of stations.

EVs will be ubiquitous in the future of transportation and revenue will be needed to maintain those systems to meet demands. Planning and designing a robust but adaptive infrastructure to capitalize on known, and unknown, revenue streams will be a differentiator for maximizing commercialization of an EV charging station network.

Read the full story here.

-Written by Terence Kagler, PE, Electrical Aviation Engineer at RS&H.