London Stansted Airport has outlined plans for new charging points for passengers’ electric vehicles, as well as further investment into facilities that support public transportation usage.
Up to 13 high-speed electric charging points will be installed at a new purpose-built charging station on Thremhall Avenue, adjacent to the airport campus. This is to open later in 2020 and will enable passengers to charge their vehicles while eating at the new ‘drive-thru’ restaurants planned for the same location. The airport will also soon introduce charging points into its meet and greet parking lots.
Stansted currently sees the highest proportion of passengers traveling by public transportation of any major UK airport, with more than half arriving by train, coach or bus. The airport is currently investing £2m (US$2.56m) in transforming its Passenger Transport Interchange, which connects the airport and its direct rail services to Central London. In January 2020, a successful trial of one of the UK’s first fully electric coaches was run between the airport and London Stratford Coach Station – this service will soon begin a full passenger trial.
Stansted Airport currently sees 12% of passengers ‘kissing and flying’ by choosing to be dropped off at the Express Set-Down facility located right outside the terminal. While some passengers will continue to need to use this facility, this form of access is the least sustainable – generating up to four car journeys for every passenger journey – and the airport has committed to encouraging further reductions in this behavior and incentivising greater use of electric vehicles.
The airport has therefore announced plans to launch an online portal which will enable drivers to pre-register their fully electric vehicles, with the first 1,000 users eligible for a year’s free use of the facility. This online portal will also be used to improve the experience of local residents registering for their discounted charge of £0.50/£1 (US$0.64/US$1.28) depending on their location.
These new facilities will be delivered by an increase of £1 (US$1.28) in the charge to use the airport’s express set-down area from February 27, 2020. These initiatives are intended to protect local air quality by reducing congestion and emissions in the constrained area outside the terminal and on the surrounding roads, and encouraging passengers to significantly reduce their instances of ‘kissing and flying’.
“We need to build on our good track record of encouraging a reduction in emissions from road traffic. This is why we are continually taking steps to encourage more passengers to think about how they get to and from the airport. We know our passengers want choice, and our investment in our public transport network will make it even easier to leave the car at home, while also encouraging the take-up of electric vehicles,” said Anita Harrison, landside operations director at London Stansted Airport.