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Vehicles / June 27, 2016

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Officials ceremonially plug a Tesla into an electric vehicle charger at Hartsfield-Jackson's international terminal. Credit: Henry Taylor

Hartsfield-Jackson International has installed 102 electric vehicle charging spaces, a $1.3 million investment that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called part of his effort to have “one of the greenest airports in the world.”

The Atlanta airport plans to install another 200 electric vehicle charging spaces over the next couple of years.

“These stations reflect Hartsfield-Jackson’s great commitment to sustainability, ” said Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Roosevelt Council.

Electric vehicle drivers must pay regular rates for parking, but do not have to pay extra to charge their cars. “We see it as a service, ” Council said.

But Hartsfield-Jackson is behind other airports in electric vehicle charging. Major airports around the country have had electric vehicle charging stations for years.

The much-smaller Savannah Hilton Head International Airport, for example, has had electric vehicle chargers since 2012, and also has Tesla superchargers.

“It’s a customer convenience, ” said Lori Lynah, director of marketing and air service development for the Savannah airport.

San Francisco International has more than 150 spaces for electric vehicle charging.

Electric vehicle drivers have long pushed for charging stations at the world’s busiest airport, but Hartsfield-Jackson was slow to prioritize electric vehicle charging.

Meanwhile, off-airport parking lots around Hartsfield-Jackson had installed dozens of electric vehicle charging stations, drawing some of that business away from the airport.

The airport had delayed the installation of charging stations as it developed a master plan for renovation and expansion, to avoid investing in infrastructure that would have to be torn down and replaced. The equipment installed now can be re-used when the airport demolishes and rebuilds its parking garages, and installation of electric vehicle charging stations will be part of the construction costs of those garages, according to Council.

The goal of installing 100 electric vehicle charging stations was an initiative of Reed’s that fits into the city’s goal to reduce vehicle emissions 20 percent by 2020. The city has also rolled out electric vehicles as part of its municipal fleet of cars.

“What it really speaks to is an attitude, ” said Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols. “Atlanta is committed to business and to sustainable practices.”

The electric vehicle charging stations include 22 spaces at the domestic terminal South parking deck, 24 spaces in the domestic terminal North parking deck, 16 spaces in the international terminal hourly parking garage, 30 spaces in the international terminal park-ride deck, and other spaces in airport employee lots.

The spaces have either level 1 or level 2 chargers. The airport qualifies for $500 Georgia Power rebates for each of the 32 level 2 chargers it has installed.

However, the airport’s parking lots do not have any DC fast chargers, which can recharge electric vehicles in under an hour in many cases.

Source: airport.blog.ajc.com