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Powering the Transition to Electric Airports

Posted 04/10/2024

Airports are pivotal in driving the United States’ transition to electric vehicles (EVs), with flight hubs globally seeking ways to reduce aviation’s environmental footprint while keeping pace with evolving automotive trends.

Let’s explore which airport operations can shift to electric vehicles and identify the necessary electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to enable this transition.

Which airport operations can be electrified?

In short, any airport operation utilizing a motorized vehicle can transition to electric power. Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, it’s foreseeable that even airliners may become electric in the near future!

However, currently, apart from planes and jets, all other vehicle types at airports can be replaced with electric alternatives.

Airside and landside transportation

Airports consist of two distinct sections: airside and landside.

The term “airside” encompasses activities and areas at the airport where aircraft operate, including the tarmac and runways.

Conversely, “landside” refers to areas on the opposite side of the airport where aircraft operate. For instance, when you drive up to the airport to drop off someone, you are in the landside area. Similarly, passengers remain landside until they proceed through the boarding ramp onto the plane, at which point they transition to the airside.

Many airports offer shuttle services, whether operated directly by the airport or through third-party contractors. These shuttles, along with other vehicles used both airside and landside, have the potential to be EVs. Learn more about EV charging for fleets.

Ground support equipment

The large aircraft we rely on for global travel rely on a multitude of smaller ground support vehicles for their operation. These include baggage carts, fueling vehicles, pushback tugs, and occasionally emergency response vehicles.

It’s worth noting that any of these smaller vehicles can be electrified, and in fact, many of them already have been.


Many airports utilize third-party security services to patrol both landside and airside areas, ensuring safety around the perimeter, parking lots, buildings, and runways. These security vehicles, operated by third-party firms, have the potential to be EVs. To promote the adoption of EVs among security firms, airports can implement a requirement for these to exclusively use EVs in order to qualify for airport security contracts. This initiative serves to incentivize the transition to environmentally friendly transportation solutions within airport security operations.

Where should EV chargers be installed at an airport?

To advance the electrification of airport vehicles and support the use of EVs by the public, the installation of EVSE is imperative. This raises the question: Where should EV chargers be strategically placed within airports?


As the primary structures at airports, terminals offer ample space to install EV chargers. These chargers can serve employee parking areas and accommodate the charging needs of the numerous landside support vehicles crucial to airport operations.

Other buildings

Airports comprise numerous buildings serving various functions. Any building accessed by EV users, such as warehouses and hangars for cargo shipping companies, can host EV chargers. These chargers cater to employees and company fleet vehicles.

Parking lots & garages

The most apparent location for EV chargers is in parking lots and garages. Long-term parking areas, where vehicles remain for a day or more, can accommodate travelers' Level 1 (L1) chargers, typically brought from home and requiring a standard 120-volt electrical outlet. For shorter stays, such as employee parking or short day trips, Level 2 (L2) chargers, capable of charging a vehicle in four to eight hours, are suitable.

For vehicles requiring rapid charging, such as security vehicles or airport shuttles with tight turnaround times, DCFCs are essential. These chargers can fully charge a vehicle in under an hour. It's important to note that Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and some smaller ground support equipment may not be compatible with DCFCs.

By strategically installing EV chargers across terminals, other airport buildings, and parking facilities, airports can significantly contribute to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles while meeting the diverse charging needs of their stakeholders.

Note that Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) cannot utilize DCFCs, and there may be compatibility issues with smaller ground support equipment as well.


Many airports boast on-site hotels, making them ideal locations for EV chargers to cater to guests. Learn more about EV charging at hotels.

What type of chargers should an airport provide?

Given their extensive operations, airports stand to benefit from a variety of charging options.

In addition to standard 120-volt outlets for travelers' L1 chargers, L2 chargers like the Blink Charging Series 8 Commercial Level 2 EV Charging Station are suitable for employee and short-term traveler parking.

These chargers can also generate revenue for the airport. For swift charging needs, DCFCs such as the Blink Charging Series 9 30kW DC Fast Charging Station offer rapid and effortless charging.

Public fast charging options, such as the Blink Charging 60kW-360kW DC Fast Charging Stations, accommodate multiple payment methods and simultaneous charging for two vehicles.

Blink Network 

Opting for Blink Charging ensures that all installed chargers become part of the Blink Network. This allows for enhanced visibility on popular EV charger location services, aiding drivers in locating chargers.

Moreover, connectivity to the Blink Network provides fleet capabilities, comprehensive control over chargers, enabling real-time monitoring and generation of usage reports, including environmental impact assessments. Additionally, the Blink Network facilitates flexible pricing structures, incentivizing off-peak charging and offering tiered pricing for different user groups.

Battery Electric Storage Systems

Airports could benefit from integrating battery electric storage systems, serving as large-scale batteries to optimize energy usage by charging during off-peak hours and providing power during peak demand periods. 

Getting help with airport electrification funding 

Various federal programs, such as the Airport Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) and Infrastructure Pilot Program, offer funding support for EVSE installation, particularly relevant to airports. Additionally, state and municipal funding opportunities can be explored with assistance from Blink's Commercial Incentives tool


As major transportation hubs, airports play a crucial role in accelerating the transition to electric vehicles. By electrifying their fleets and providing strategically located EVSE for employees and the public, airports contribute significantly to the nationwide adoption of electric vehicles. For guidance on airport electrification initiatives, reach out to Blink Charging for expert assistance.

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