Location: Denver, CO
Fleet Type: International Airport

 

Narrative

The Denver International Airport (DEN) is the largest airport in the United States by land area and the third-busiest airport in the world (full year 2022). Maintaining DEN presents its own unique set of challenges given its size and climate, sitting at an elevation of 5,434 feet. As a result, DEN houses over 1,300 fleet vehicles and equipment, ranging from street sweepers and aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles to light-duty trucks, sedans, and golf carts.

DEN has positioned itself as a sustainability leader in the aviation industry, with programs focused on renewable energy, waste, and clean transportation. The airport fleet was just recently recognized as the #3 Green Fleet in North America by the National Association of Fleet Administrators. Of the over 1,300 DEN fleet assets, approximately 26% are powered by alternative fuel sources, including compressed natural gas (CNG), hybrid-electric, and battery-electric vehicles.

DEN’s fleet electrification journey began with 2 Zenith electric shuttle vans and a goal of testing out the new battery-electric technology. Now, the airport currently operates 11 electric vehicles with several more on the way. This year, the airport added 2 electric mini-sweepers and a Ford e-Transit outfitted with a custom stake bed. These vehicles will accompany the 2 Zenith vans and 5 Chevy Bolt EUVs. DEN has plans to add 2 additional custom Ford e-Transits and 6 Chevy Silverado EVs. DEN’s fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs) are supported by 14 Level 2 chargers and 6 CNG fueling stations.

Once the latest order of EVs have been delivered, DEN plans to evaluate its AFV deployment to date. The data-backed assessment will guide long-term decision making and planning, including exploring Level 3 charging at the facility.

Outputs and Outcomes

As the largest employer in Colorado, DEN holds significant economic, social, and environmental weight in the community. The airport continues to work with the City of Denver and airlines to advance the City’s sustainability initiatives, such as the City’s 65% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goal by 2030.

DEN’s fleet sustainability work also extends beyond the City of Denver. Jeff Booton, Senior Director of Maintenance, has watched the airport fleet evolve tremendously in his 11 years at DEN. Jeff serves as a Steering Committee Member of Drive Clean Colorado’s eFleet Working Group, which supports fleet electrification in Colorado by providing a forum where fleet and sustainability professionals can connect, collaborate, and share electrification experiences and information. Inside and outside the eFleet Working Group, Jeff has been a valuable resource to fleet managers across the state who are looking to integrate AFVs into their fleet. And with Ford poised to make a splash in the commercial EV market with its Ford e-Transit line, many are eager to hear how DEN’s custom e-Transits perform.

Additionally, see how DEN is supporting Colorado communities and advancing sustainable practices beyond AFV deployment: Denver International Airport Sells Fleet Equipment to State-Wide Airports.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

DEN has taken an organized and methodical approach to electrification, relying on data and anecdotal evidence to ensure electrification is suitable for the fleet’s operations. Despite progress, DEN’s fleet journey has not been without its challenges. Supply chain issues, for example, have hindered the simultaneous integration of EVs and charging infrastructure. However, the experience has been educational, enabling DEN to learn and plan for future stages of deployment. Jeff accredits DEN’s internal teams and external partners for the fleet’s success to date.

Driver and technician training are also important steps of fleet electrification. According to Jeff, it did not take long before the team was impressed by the performance of the EVs and felt comfortable with operations. DEN is now working to streamline internal processes related to EV service and maintenance to help ease the transition.

PDF Version

Denver International Airport Fleet Story

post contents

Read More Fleet Success Stories