Denver Airport To Install Level 1 120-Volt Charging for Electric Cars

By · August 20, 2013

Denver International Airport this week announced that it will soon install 10 electric vehicle charging stations—but with a twist. The charging stations, designed by Telefonix, run at relatively slow Level 1 charging rates (120 volt 16 amps) sometime referred to as a “trickle charge.”

Wait, you're saying, doesn't Level 1 take somewhere between a long time and forever to recharge an electric car? Yes, for example the Nissan LEAF needs about 22 hours to fully recharge on 120 volts. But think about it: Does the charging time matter if the car will be parked for three days while you're on a trip? Airport parking is one of several scenarios where your car is parked for many hours or even days at a time, and a slow charging rate is acceptable because the long charging time has no real impact.

Image 05

The exterior design can be customized any way the customer wishes.

Denver International Airport went with Level 1 because it wanted a better approach to what customers were already doing. “We have seen an increase in the number of customers who drive electric vehicles to the airport and plug them into existing electrical outlets in the garages,” said Kim Day, Denver manager of aviation. “These new charging stations are more convenient, safer and designed to work specifically with electric and plug-in vehicles. The airport continues to evolve to meet the needs of our customers and support the city’s Greenprint Denver sustainability initiative.”

In general, electric drivers want public charging to be as fast as possible. Faster charging rates make it possible to treat an electric car a bit more like a gas car. But longer charging times are not always inconvenient. For example, most people spend eight or more hours at work, or 10 or more hours at home, per day. In these cases, full speed Level 2 charging is more than what's needed. Because a Level 1 charging port costs less to install than level 2 charging, property owners can save money, and avoid other service requirements.

This is the market served by the L1 Power Post from Telefonix. The unit has a price of $1,495, which is lower than most commercial-grade charging stations, plus the installation is less. For more on this, see our previous coverage on the L1 Power Post.

Level 1 charging does not make sense is any location where the parking time is relatively short, such as a shopping center, or along a highway. But Level 1 has its applications there as well—for example, to refuel plug-in hybrids with smaller battery packs. Signage encouraging plug-in hybrid owners to use the L1 Power Posts could allow owners of pure electric cars, requiring faster charging, to use Level 2 240-volt charging stations.

The Denver Airport is Telefonix's first customer. Five charging stations will be installed in each parking garage, located on the first level between rows E and F. There will be signage designating the parking spaces for use by electric and plug-in vehicles only.

“This is one of the first major public installations of commercial Level 1 electric vehicle charging systems in the United States, and I can’t think of a better place than at Denver International Airport—which already has a reputation as being one of the greenest airports in the world,” said Allen Will, director of business development and programs of Telefonix, Inc. “This project will set a new standard for airports that want to provide the best possible customer experience for drivers of plug-in electric vehicles.”

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.