Rocky Mountain Institute releases “The Case for Fast-Charging Depots at US Airports”

The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has released a new brief, “The Case for Fast-Charging Depots at US Airports”, explaining why airports are uniquely positioned to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption, particularly by providing fast-charging hubs.
Rocky Mountain Institute releases “The Case for Fast-Charging Depots at US Airports”
Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).

Airports are uniquely positioned to significantly strengthen EV charging infrastructure by installing large-scale public charging hubs which can: 

Power the broad range of passenger and commercial vehicles coming to and from the airport. Airports have a high volume of traffic, including people dropping off and picking up friends and family as well as taxi drivers and those working for ridehailing companies like Lyft and Uber. 

Improve equitable access to charging. Many airports are located in or adjacent to what are called charging deserts, places where there is little to no access to public charging stations. If people living in these areas, who tend to earn low incomes, can charge their cars near their homes or workplaces, they’re more likely to purchase an EV. Ridehail drivers, who also tend to earn low incomes, will benefit as well: they need to able to rapidly charge their cars in order to pick up as many passengers as possible. And trips to and from the airport often constitute a critical source of revenue. 

Future proof airports’ operations. EVs are expected to have 50 percent or more market share within the next decade; while investment in large-scale public charging efforts may strike some as a risky gamble today, in the near future even ambitious efforts may prove to be insufficient.

Reduce emissions significantly. The US transportation sector will need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030 to avoid a 1.5-degree Celsius increase in global temperature, which would result in widespread devastation on an unprecedented scale. 

“Our research proves these fears can be mitigated with appropriate utility coordination and campus-wide energy management” said a spokesperson at RMI. “We found business model options that can result in an investment payback period of fewer than 10 years for both LAX and a future EV charging service provider. Airports interested in exploring the financial feasibility of installing large-scale public charging hubs will need to evaluate project costs, especially utility upgrade costs, then understand what scale of depot is possible while keeping rates cost competitive. They’ll also need to analyse existing grid capacity; establish an upgrade plan based on future forecasted demand; identify potential upgrade costs and allocate the expense over the expected energy sold; and, after determining the electricity capacity upgrades required, start the process with the utility. A more detailed step-by-step plan can be found in the briefing.”

For additional information:

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

“The Case for Fast-Charging Depots at US Airports”

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