SemaConnect Blog


March 21, 2014

Cutting Costs With EV Charging Stations: Sea-Tac Airport Case Study

Image CC Licensed by: Alan Turkus
When the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport elected to install 600 EV charging stations this year, going green wasn’t the only thing on its agenda. As the 17thbusiest airport in the US, Sea-Tac serves 31.5 million passengers and hosts over 20 airlines. In addition to managing its large environmental footprint, it also has to remain a competitive hub for air travel and look ahead towards changing transportation trends.

Part of remaining competitive means providing services that benefit its airlines and travelers. And since electric vehicles are quickly picking up steam as a viable transportation option, looking into the installation of EV charging stations made sense.
Interestingly, one of the primary reasons Sea-Tac will be installing EV charging stations is to help airlines save money while using its facilities. In particular, Sea-Tac estimates its network of charging stations could save its airlines nearly $2.8 million per year in fuel costs. In addition, the airport could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tons, which would be equivalent to taking 1,900 cars off the road.
Having such an accessible EV infrastructure will allow airlines to seamlessly make the transition from diesel to electric power for their ground support vehicles and equipment.
The project is being spearheaded by the Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines, and Western Washington Clean Cities and will be carried out in two phases: phase one will see 296 charging stations at concourse D, C and the north satellite, while phase two will see 300 additional charging locations in the rest of the terminal. Altogether the project will likely be completed in fall of this year.
Alaska Airlines already has 204 EVs on the ground at Sea-Tac airport, with plans to invest in many more.
What Any Property Manager Can Learn from Sea-Tac:
So what is the biggest take-away from this case study?
There are more than just environmental considerations involved in the installation of EV charging stations. 

Indeed, many properties (not just airports) are realizing that providing valuable EV amenities can reduce operating costs and provide a valuable service to EV drivers. Fuel prices are only going to increase into the future, thus making a compelling case for an all-electric vehicle fleet. Plus while making the necessary infrastructure investments, you are also helping the increasing number of EV drivers who also need a place to charge their car.

Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.
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