Over the past few years, EV charging stations have been popping in all sorts of places – from office buildings to shopping centers, and now airports. And as EVs continue to grow in popularity, we will continue to see EV charging stations introduced into new and exciting environments. The latest new place to locate EV charging stations is clearly going to score some points for EV-driving sports fans: stadiums.
Stadiums such as CenturyLink Field in Seattle and Dodgers Stadium in LA have decided to locate EV charging stations in their parking lots. And although the link between the EV economy and sports may not be immediately apparent to some, “greening” stadiums is a growing trend in the sports world.
What are the benefits of locating EV charging stations at sports stadiums? Will this trend continue?
This article will try to answer some of these questions by providing a close-up look at the installation of EV charging stations at sports stadiums across the country.
Why Locate EV Charging Stations at Stadiums?
Stadiums are one of those places in the urban environment where thousands of people gather to watch a live event in one place. Such a high concentration of people means that parking facilities need to be accessible and well-planned.
But as EVs continue to grow in popularity, a rising share of event-goers will be arriving (or want to arrive) in an EV. Providing the necessary infrastructure for EV drivers make sense on a practical level, because it (a) give them a place to park and (b) allows them to charge their car while at the event. Since they would likely be at the stadium for a few hours, their EV would greatly benefit by receiving a charge for the duration of their stay.
Aside from the practical function EV charging stations provide, there are a number of other benefits as well.
The Greening Trend in the Sports World
Without a doubt, sporting events are a major cultural icon for the American people – nearly 61% of Americans identify themselves as sports fans. With environmental sustainability becoming a growing concern in economic and cultural activities, many sports leagues are beginning to integrate green elements into their daily operations.
EV charging stations can help reduce the carbon footprint of a sporting event by encouraging sustainable transportation options. And unlike other green endeavours which often go unnoticed by event-goers (such as energy efficiency or water conservation) EV charging stations are a visual indication of sustainability and innovation. They are noticed by thousands of event-goers on their way into the stadium and can serve as a valuable informative or educational tool.
So not only does the installation of EV charging station provide a valuable amenity to a small percentage of event-goers, it also gives the stadium a more green and innovative image.
EV Charging Stations at CenturyLink Field in Seattle
Back in 2011, four Level 2 charging stations were installed at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Since their installation, they have been utilized by EV drivers and commented on by curious event goers. Ford has even named CenturyLink Field as one of the “20 Coolest Places to Charge your Electric Vehicle”.
At the time, US congressman Jim McDermott noted that “Charging stations like the one at CenturyLink Field represent our first step toward a greener, cleaner transportation future. In the not too distant future, Federal investments in public- private projects like this will return immense rewards and really revolutionize the cars we drive and what fuels them.”
Clearly the project has been successful thus far. For EV drivers, they now have a place to charge their car while watching a Seahawks game. But for the stadium, it has raised its public image and established it as a green and innovative place to attend a sports event.
CenturyLink Field provides only one example of the successful installation of EV charging stations at a sports stadium. Since then, many other stadiums have stepped up to the plate and installed EV infrastructure – Dodgers Stadium in LA, Safeco Field in Seattle, and FedEx Field in Maryland, just to name a few more.
This trend will continue to grow as more and more people embrace EVs as a form of transportation. And as green becomes more firmly entrenched in the sports community, the day may soon come where every professional sports stadium will host its very own array of EV charging stations.
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.