Use of electric vehicle stations grows around campus

Vanessa Martinez / Daily Titan

Vanessa Martinez / Daily Titan

Five more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations were installed at the College Park North Lot late last semester, bringing the total stations on campus to 19.

The charging stations are located throughout Cal State Fullerton parking lots and structures including two at Corporation Drive and 12 on top of the Eastside Parking Structure.

ChargePoint is the largest network of independently owned EV stations.

Michael Jones, director of strategic accounts for ChargePoint, said CSUF utilizes the charging stations frequently and this use is growing steadily from month to month. By the end of 2012, the campus had just under 1,500 charging sessions at the stations.

“(This) is indicative of more and more cars coming into the market and finding this service valuable,” said Jones.

ChargePoint is partnering with Charge Harbor LLC, which assists universities and large office buildings to integrate the EV charging stations on their property.

Charge Harbor works with the equipment costs of the stations, while the university works with electrical contractors to complete installation needs.

The cost of an individual charging station is about $5,000-7,000, depending on the model, said Ryan Grady, President of Charge Harbor LLC.

Grady added that plug-in vehicles represent a whole new market and a new opportunity within the automobile industry.

“There are lots of campuses that are interested in supporting the plug-in vehicles that their employees, students or work venders are driving,” said Grady.

A variety of ChargePoint station models are sold including those with wall mounts, pedestal mounts and pole mounts.

Buyers can choose from a single or dual port station; CSUF locations have both.

Though the EV market is in the early stages with few models, Jones said there will be more than 40 different plug-in hybrid cars available in the U.S. by between 2014 and 2015.

“You’ll see a growing and consistent move to electric vehicles as the market and consumers become more aware and more educated of what their choices are,” said Jones.

As far as cost, operating an EV is roughly eight times less expensive than a comparable gasoline powered vehicle, Jones said.

Other benefits of going electric include no smog checks and no oil changes. He added that maintenance for EV are quite a bit cheaper in the long run.

ChargePoint has seen consistent and solid growth within the EV market.

With the decrease in cost of the vehicles and the overall positive effect they have on the environment, Jones is not surprised that more campuses and businesses are installing the stations.

“It is exciting to see a campus take the first step in making charging stations available to the students and public that use the parking lots,” Jones said.

About Erinn Grotefend

Erinn Grotefend is graduating from Cal State University Fullerton this spring. Serving as Detour Editor during the fall 2012, Erinn is ready to take on the position of News Editor this semester. She is majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Print Journalism and a minor in Radio, Television and Film. Erinn started her journalism career at Mount San Antonio College where she was News Editor for The Mountaineer. After graduating from CSUF, she plans to write for newspapers and magazines as well as go into television production. Her ultimate goal is to work for E! Entertainment.