Electric cars used on CSUEB campuses get eight times the mileage of traditional gas-powered cars. (Photo credits: Elias Barboza)

Electric cars reduce carbon footprint on CSUEB campuses

  • July 27, 2010

Facilities management has gradually replaced gas-powered cars used for hauling tools, shrubs and landscaping supplies with electric cars, saving on fuel costs and reducing carbon emissions on Cal State East Bay campuses.

As technologies rapidly evolve, CSUEB’s purchase of electric cars represents one of many examples of how the school continues serving the community in a cost-conscious and earth friendly way. Other recent steps taken by the university include growing its own plants for landscaping and converting to use of biosafe cleaning supplies.

“These cars definitely do their part for the carbon footprint,” said Maintenance Manager David Miller. “They don’t pollute, (give off) toxic emissions, and I haven’t heard negativity about them. We’re going green.”

Since CSUEB bought its first electric car in 1997 from Global Electric Motorcars, the Hayward campus has added 20 vehicles, known as GEMs, to its fleet. The Concord campus uses two. Each GEM costs one third the price of a regular gas powered car. The electric car's battery, which lasts three years, is charged overnight through a regular 110-volt outlet and runs for an entire day without losing power.

The vehicles are used primarily by the grounds department for maintenance and repair. They also are used to transport mail, carry equipment such as lawn mowers and hedge clippers and for driving staff members around campus. Members of the University Police Department also use the GEMs for security. The cars reach a maximum 25 miles per hour, are easy to operate, low maintenance and boast fuel efficiency eight times better than a traditional car, according to the manufacturer.

Smaller and more quiet than traditional maintenance trucks and road vehicles, GEMs are easier to maneuver on campus and cause fewer disruptions to staff, faculty and students, Miller said.

“They’re very useful,” he said. “You can drive these vehicles anywhere on campus. They’re versatile and dependable.”

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California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 14,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.

Learn more and connect with Cal State East Bay at CSUEB Social Media. For up-to-date news snapshots, visit the Inside CSUEB News Blog.

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