Andrew Pluta gets the same question just about every day now at Harry Reid International Airport.
Travelers want to know where can they charge their electric vehicle at the airport.
“We’ve had a lot of demand,” said Pluta, a general manager for ABM, which oversees valet parking services at Harry Reid. “A lot of people asking about electric charging stations over the last couple of years. Now it is becoming more popular.”
On Thursday, Harry Reid said they have 24 new electric vehicle charging stations in valet parking. Twelve of the charging stations are in Terminal 1 and 12 more are in Terminal 3. The project cost was about $250,000.
“We have customers come in from all over,” Pluta said. “We have people from St. George, Havasu, Bullhead who come in all the time. They have electric cars, and they can be on an empty charge when they get back from their flight. Now they don’t have to go charge for a couple of hours before they go home.”
Harry Reid spokesman Joe Rajchel said airport administrators were excited about the added amenity for travelers. In valet, parking starts at $10 for the first hour with a $2 increase per hour. The daily maximum rate for valet parking tops out at $30.
“You pay for valet but there is no additional charge if you have an electric vehicle that you would like charged while you are here,” Rajchel said. “We’ve heard from customers that this is something that they wanted. They want to have it charged while they are here.”
Gas prices hovered around $5 a gallon or more throughout the Las Vegas Valley as of Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported this week that increased gas prices, along with environmental stewardship from car buyers, were boosting electric vehicle sales around the globe in the first quarter of 2022, despite rising costs for lithium-ion battery cells that power electric vehicles.
Jared Johnson is a senior manager of policy and external relations for Acterra, a California non-profit focused on addressing climate change. He said installing charging stations at an airport is a positive for the valley and Nevada.
“It is one of the things that we need to do to help people feel comfortable that they are going to have a place to charge,” Johnson said. “Seeing charging places out in public shows that.”
Johnson said public charging stations help move people toward electric vehicles.
“As an organization we feel that when money is divvied up for charging we should focus first on charging at home, but charging in public places is also necessary,” he said, adding that charging stations need to have proper signage to make sure people know they are there.
“In places like airports, where folks are going to be there for a long time, there is not as much need for higher-powered chargers,” Johnson said.
“I think it is better for the environment,” said Brandon Stone, a traveler from Chicago who flew to Las Vegas to attend a bachelor party.
“Good to see them moving away from fossil fuels and looking for alternatives to get people around,” Stone said.
Rajchel said Tesla drivers should bring their adapters with them if they plan to charge their car at the airport. The airport is now exploring the feasibility and logistics of installing more charging stations at other airport locations like long-term parking.
“We are trying to be a leader in sustainability and this is another step forward that we can take,” Rajchel said.
Contact Glenn Puit by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.