Airport garages can recharge electric vehicles

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Print this page by M.J. McAteer

Travelers who park and fly out of Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia now can get a charge at no charge.

Four electric vehicle plug-in stations, part of a pilot project that the Washington Metropolitan Airport Authority is conducting in conjunction with the Department of Energy, opened at Dulles on the last day of February. The stations now are available at no extra cost to anyone who pays the normal fee to park at the airport’s Daily Parking Garage No. 2.

Airport authority spokesman Robert Yingling says the no fee-policy will remain in effect at least through 2013. In addition, four charging stations were scheduled to be in operation by this month at one of the daily garages at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. 

The four charging stations at Dulles, each of which can service two vehicles, are located in what Yingling calls a “prime” spot close to the walkway to the main terminal. No signs outside the garage advertise their presence, but electric vehicle owners are, no surprise, a plugged-in lot. They can check on the status of the first-come, first-served charging stations on the Web at or by using a ChargePoint app on their cell phone or hand-held device. Anyone who needs help in operating the stations can call a 24-hour, toll-free number, 888-758-4389.

Philip G. Tearne, a Chevy Volt owner whose license tags read “AMP UP,” was on hand for the stations’ unveiling. The Dunn Loring resident says that locating charging stations at airports, where travelers generally are gone for substantial chunks of time, make sense. A recharge at a 240-volt connection can take about 3.5 hours while a full charge at a 120-volt connection can take as long as eight hours. Dulles offers both options because some of the older electric vehicle models cannot handle the higher voltage.

The charging stations are really a two-fer. After just a couple of weeks of operation, Yingling says that their usage already had been responsible for the aversion of more than 50 kilograms of harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Tearne also points out that in helping keep the environment clean, the plug-ins also are making a modest contribution to resolving this country’s growing energy problem.

“I am not necessarily the greenest of people,” Tearne says, but “I believe in technology.”

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