By the start of the new year, Cal Poly’s campus will be equipped with 12 electric vehicle charging stations.
A $150,000 grant from the California Energy Commission will pay for the installations.
The charging stations will be located at two sites on campus: The parking structure on Grand Avenue near the Performing Arts Center and in a parking area near Kennedy Library.
The campus expects higher usage of electric vehicles locally with the presence of the charging stations.
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“I think this will significantly increase the adoption of electric vehicles on campus and beyond,” said Dale Dolan, an electrical engineering professor who is project manager for the initiative. “Many people have been waiting to purchase an EV until the charging infrastructure is in place, although the number of EV drivers here and elsewhere is already growing.”
In addition to motorists on campus, county residents and California drivers traversing Highway 101 and Highway 1 will be able to hook up their electric vehicles to the stations.
Cal Poly has made it a goal to promote sustainability on its campus, and this initiative is part of that vision, according to the university.
One of the charging areas, the library site, already is a hub for Zipcar parking and it’s a transit area for the public bus system.
Approximately 32 percent of Cal Poly’s vehicle fleet now is composed of alternative fuel vehicles — including more than 90 golf carts, 60 neighborhood electric vehicles (legally limited to roads with speed limits of 45 miles per hour or less), 10 flex fuel and two propane vehicles, according to the university’s annual sustainability report.
Cal Poly’s bus ridership has risen steadily over the past decade. The university provides free bus services for all faculty, staff and students, which resulted in more than 600,000 passenger trips in 2013.
Cindy Campbell, associate director of the university’s Police Department, who manages Cal Poly’s alternative transportation programs, said the new charging stations will help serve a trending population of new drivers of electric cars.
“With the growing number of EVs on the road, now’s a perfect time for Cal Poly to deploy an infrastructure to power this new generation of high technology, energy-efficient vehicles,” Campbell said.