In an age of soaring gas prices, alternative methods of energy for transportation could be the key toward more financial stability in schools and the wallets of Cal State Fullerton students.
A joint project between the CSUF Physical Plant and Parking and Transportation Services has students covered with stations to charge electric vehicles set up around the school.
Doug Kind, manager of commissioning and engineering sustainability for CSUF, said the vehicle charging stations were installed for several reasons.
“The EV stations are here to servestudents, faculty, staff, and the community and they are also here to meet the president’s climate commitment that was signed by the former President Gordon,” said Kind. “It helps reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and helps with our fleet reduction goals as well.”
Kind said seven Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers have been installed around campus. Two stations are located near the Physical Plant office and five stations sit on the roof level of the Eastside Parking Structure.
The chargers themselves are powered by a combination of electricity supply from Edison, the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) canopy solar panels atop the Eastside Parking Structure, and the charging plant on campus.
“A percentage of the power you are getting in your (electric) car will come from the solar panels,” Kind said.
How long it takes to charge each car depends on the model of the vehicle.
“It’s like a regular gasoline car. It depends on the size of the tank. In this case it depends on the size of the battery,” Kind said. “When it comes to the average electric car, like the Nissan Leaf, it will probably take, if it’s completely empty, and you charge it here, it can take six to eight hours on the stations that we have on campus.”
The Nissan Leaf isa completely electric car that falls under a federal rebate program that can give buyers up to $7,500 in income tax rebates to help offset the $34,000 price tag of the vehicle.
With the expense of buying an electric car in the first place, students may be hesitant to make the investment.
Mariela Ortiz, 19, a psychology major, did not know that the EV chargers exist or where they are located, but said she would consider getting an electric car someday. However, she said she wondered if investing in electric car chargers should a priority on campus at this time.
“I feel like yes, it is a good thing, but at the same time I kind of think that Cal State Fullerton should look into adding more parking spaces and making the parking structures larger,” said Oritz.
Thomas Davis, 34, an international business and accounting double major, has seen the stations. Davis said he has considered investing in electric cars, but he does not see the car chargers on campus as a tipping point for that decision.
“The majority of the time, I’m not on campus so it’s not really a big factor. But it would be a perk if I already had an electric car,” he said.
But one expense that students will not have to worry about is the price of using the electric car chargers on campus; they are free to use because they are owned by the school, Kind said.
He said other campuses have done deals to share ownership of their charging stations, or they’re managed by someone else or owned by another company.
“We don’t view that we want to have other people owning and operating stations on campus. So we take the approach that owning it is always better,” Kind said.
Kind said the solar panels on Eastside Parking Structure are also owned by the campus.
The plant is responsible for maintenance of campus facilities as well as landscaping and plumbing. The Parking and Transportation Service office handles parking passes as well as projects to better the automotive situation on campus.