Land & Environment

It's Electric

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.

It’s Electric

By Kaitlin Bluemel in The Utah Statesman, Thursday, November 20, 2014

Utah State University Parking and Transportation Services has teamed up with the S.J and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources to bring electric vehicle charging stations to campus. Two stations have been installed in the orange staff lot by the college of natural resources, and each station can charge two cars.

James Nye, director of parking and transportation collaborated with Chris Luecke, the college’s dean, to install the stations.

“Dean Luecke and I met, and we knew we had individuals that had electric vehicles,” he said. “We thought why not start an electric vehicle charging station.”

The charging stations are part of a pilot program to meter how much electricity the cars actually need. Patrons will not have to pay to use the stations but must have an orange lot permit. The amount metered will then be billed to parking and transportation services.

The funds to build the stations were split between parking and transportation, who paid for 60 percent, and the college of natural resources, who paid 40 percent. The campus stations are in the faculty and staff lot, but if the program goes well, stations may be added to student lots.

For now, Nye said the three individuals that they know of who have electric vehicles are staff and faculty.

Even if a student has an electric vehicle, he or she will not be permitted use the charging stations, Nye said.

“If we do have some demand in the future, we will definitely put some in locations that a student would have access to,” he said.

Electric vehicles can keep a charge for about a 75-mile radius. Nye said not many people live this far from campus so the stations are not really needed, but the office wants to meter to know how much power they use.

Alexi Lamm, the USU sustainability coordinator, said the electric cars can make a big impact on the sustainability cause as well.

“We’re supportive of alternative transportation,” Lamm said. “We have really poor air quality, (and) electric cars are cleaner in general.”

Lamm said USU Sustainability is looking for ways to improve air quality. One way to do this is through the university’s transportation innovation grant.

Students can submit ideas for ways to improve air quality and cleaner transportation. The deadline for the grant is Nov. 24.

“There’s $25,000 available,” Lamm said. “I think it’s a positive move for USU.”

electric car and charging station on USU campus

(photo from the Utah Statesman Online)


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