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Charge Your Electric Vehicle at an Airport

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Charge Your Electric Vehicle at an Airport
Photo © Nancy Parode. Licensed to About.com.

Drivers of electric vehicles may once have had trouble finding charging stations, but those days are rapidly fading into the past. Today, you can charge your electric car in parking lots, at places of employment and, increasingly, at major airports in the United States.

All over the US, airports are installing electric vehicle charging stations in parking garages. Most charging spots are located in short term parking lots, daily parking garages and valet parking areas. While it might seem almost pointless to place a charging station in a valet parking area, this type of installation allows parking attendants to unplug and move electric vehicles once their batteries are fully charged.

How Much Will I Pay to Charge My Electric Vehicle at an Airport?

In most cases, you will need to pay to park your car in order to use an airport's electric vehicle charging station. Parking rates vary, depending on which garage or parking lot you use. For example, you will pay $25 per day to use Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport's DFW Airport Valet service, where the airport's two Level 2 charging ports are located. At Baltimore / Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Level 2 charging stations are available in the Daily Garage ($12 per day) and the Hourly Garage ($22 per day). Nearly all airports offering electric vehicle charging services provide the electricity for free.

Some airports, such as New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport, provide ChargePoint charging stations in one or more parking areas. You can use a Charge Pass card, available from ChargePoint for $10, or a swipe-free credit card to activate the charging station. Other airports, including Denver International Airport, have installed Juice Bar charging stations. Still others have installed charge ports made by SemaConnect and other manufacturers.

Which Charging Levels Are Available at My Airport?

Typically, electric vehicle charging stations offer Level 1 and Level 2 charging options. You are more likely to find a few charging stations with Level 2 charging capability than a multitude of Level 1 charge ports.

If you wish to use Level 1 charging, plan to bring your own cable; the airport does not provide them.

What Happens if Every Charging Station Is Occupied?

The answer to this question depends on the airport you are using. At some airports, you can go to another parking garage or lot and use a charging spot there. At others, you can use the valet parking service, and the parking attendant will charge your car's battery as soon as a charging station comes open.

Unfortunately, you may discover that every charging station is occupied. In this situation, you will have to park your car and head to your departure gate anyway.

You may wish to leave a set of car keys with a friend before your trip begins. Then, if every charging station at your airport is in use, you can call your friend and ask him or her to move your car when a charging spot becomes available.

If your airport uses ChargePoint stations, you can download the ChargePoint mobile app and use it to check charging spot availability before you leave home. SemaCharge's website allows you to search for ChargePro charging stations and check their status. Recargo.com also offers you the ability to find charging stations – just type in the airport name – and, in some cases, check charging station availability.

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