By Kent Rathwell

A story brought to you by the Founder of Sun Country – Winner of the World’s Best Automotive Solution of the Year and Canada’s Greenest Manufacturer of the Year Award, for electrifying the entire Trans-Canada Highway in 2012 with EV charging stations and virtually all of Canada’s highways in 2013, making Canada the world leader in EV infrastructure many times over!

Airports that offer complimentary EV charging make more money by encouraging EV driving customers to park their EVs while they travel rather than having friends, family or car hires bring them to and from the airport. 

Based on actual facts and experiences, this story will take you through two scenarios that demonstrate how this can be the case for your local airport.  

Imagine this…

It’s winter holidays and I’m relaxing on the beach with my family, stress-free and focused on quality family time with the kids. It’s warm and I’m away from the cold Canadian winter (which I love by the way) … but it is so nice to have a warm holiday! 

While talking to another Canadian I just met at the beach bar, they say a cold snap just hit back home and how lucky we are to be in the warmth, by the sea, with no cares in the world! 

This is where this story goes one of two ways. One of happiness, confidence, thankfulness, and peace for the whole family or … one of fear, frustration, hopelessness, and anger.

The airport where I parked my EV will now determine the rest of my holiday, my family’s happiness, our stress, our memories and if we ever pay to park at that airport again! 

The one story will encourage us to tell all our EV friends and Facebook groups about our experience. The other story will too… however one will be a happy story and the other will be one of misery, stress, frustration and even anger.

1. My Electric Vehicle “is plugged in” at the airport… 

Life is still good!

After a few more hours of having fun with the kids, I get back to my room and open my EV phone app to see in real time how my electric vehicle is doing. The app opens and my EV is happy! I can see on my EV app map, that it is still parked at the airport, still charging up slowly and almost fully charged. I say in my head… “I love my EV… and I love that airport.”

My mind goes into a peaceful state knowing that my EV will be fully charged when we get back to the airport and I will be able to immediately drive the family home, stress-free, after a long day of flying! 

It does not matter how cold it gets back home, my battery will be charged and good to go when we jump into my EV! The seats might even be warmed and the air on if I remember to turn it on when we are collecting our luggage.

I think to myself…although parking is super expensive at the airport, with an EV…. it’s worth it! No waiting on a taxi or Uber, no concerns about Covid in my own vehicle and no concerns about the cleanliness of the hire vehicle to save the expensive parking fees at the airport! Those expensive airport parking fees, which I used to happily avoid by getting others to drop me off at the airport, are now a luxury I’m willing to spend!

I’m as happy as a cucumber in a tropical drink! I love my EV and I love that EV friendly airport!

With a sigh of relief, I close my EV phone app and head out for a wonderful dinner at the resort and a peaceful rest of the holiday! 

2. My Electric Vehicle “is NOT plugged in” at the airport because the airport does not have EV chargers for long term parking…

Upon hearing the news of the cold snap back home from my new Canadian friend at the beach bar, I immediately interrupt the conversation, drop what I’m doing and scurry to my hotel room! 

I arrive at my room, fumbling for my room key with serious panic building up throughout my body. The door opens and I scramble looking for my phone under my kids’ items scattered across the room. 

I find my phone and turn it on. It’s taking FOREVER but finally it turns on and I open up my EV phone app.

The app screen loads up and I immediately look at the state of charge or the range available on the EV. It says….150 km range left… that is enough to cover the 80 km to get home. However, when I parked it, my EV had 200 km range on it. I know the battery is now cold and based on the weather, will be getting colder. Although my app says my EV has enough energy to get home right now, by tonight the range will be less and will drop every day until I arrive home.

I immediately start to think of backup plans if my EV does not have enough range to get home. Are there any other charging stations around? I open another phone app to start looking for other EV chargers that are close to get a charge incase my EV does not have enough power to get me home! I find some that are 10 km away from the airport. Right now, I still have enough power to get there if the weather does not get colder. As the weather gets colder, though, my EV battery losses range and I can travel less distance. 

I head back out to the family and am physically present, but my mind is not. 

We get back to the room late and I immediately open my EV app to see that my range has fallen to 130 km. Not good as I have 4 more days until I fly back. 

When I wake the next morning, I immediately look at the phone app. It says 90 km range left… My body starts to sweat. You see, I have an EV that is a few years old without the new battery management software. If my EV battery goes to zero state of charge, the battery may ‘brick’ which means that it will be useless. I that happens, I now need to spend $30,000 on a new battery! 

My wife and kids know that my mind is far away and will be for the rest of the holiday. This obviously does not sit well with them; however, I’m trying to figure out a solution to the problems that I see facing me such as needing a tow truck to pick up my car when I get home and me sending my family home in a taxi alone while I spend 4-12 hours dealing with the towing company, getting the EV to a place to charge and then driving home. That’s the best-case scenario. If my EV gets too low and it ‘bricks,’ now I’m heading to the service centre to replace the battery, that is if there is a service centre available.

Over the next few days, I watch my EV range drop to 80, 70, 60, 50,40, 30, 20, 10 km. Warning Notifications are constantly being sent to my phone and my blood pressure is rising with each one. Finally, a warning comes up on my app saying, “battery too low to register.”  I immediately think, I’m sending my family home in a cab. I’m dealing with my car upon my return and will likely have get a room near the hotel to deal with the towing company and the EV service centre. I may now have to ship my EV across a few provinces to the EV dealership if there is no service centre close. 

This is going to cost a fortune!

I will never come back to this airport and I’m going to warn every EV owner on the EV Facebook groups that they should not leave their EVs at an airport without being plugged in as it will ruin not just your trip or holiday, but your passion for electric vehicles, your commitment to making a difference and trying to make the world a better place.  Even worse yet….this horrible experience may make your kids think twice about electric vehicles and their efforts in making a difference to help the world. 

Estimated Cost for Long-term EV charging: Level 1 charging

  • Cost of EV charger: $849.00 CDN approximately per EV charger
  • Cost of EV charger install: $0.00 to $1000 per charger
  • Cost of operation per hour: as low as $0.10 per hour or $2.40 per day (Similar to the cost of a constantly charged block heater)
  • Monthly subscription or network fees: $0.00

Complimentary EV charging for long term parking can cost as little as complimentary block engine plugs for gas and diesel engines!

Income Loss Calculation for Airports without Complimentary EV Charging:
Parking days per year: 100 days annually per frequent EV flyer
Loss in Parking Fees per day: $15 per day

Loss of Parking Income for 100 frequent EV flyers:
$150,000 per year loss (presently for many airports)

Loss of Parking Income for 1000 frequent flyers:
$1,500,000 per year loss (presently at some airports)

Loss of Parking Income for 10,000 frequent flyers:
$15,000,000 per year (in the near future for some airports)

For further information on electric vehicles and parking strategies, Kent can be reached at marketing@suncountryhighway.ca

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