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Electric car charging stations inspire more CSUEB drivers to go green


CSUEB Professor Michael Lee charges his electric car at one of the free charging stations located on campus. (Photo: Alanté Millow)

  • August 28, 2013

Charging your electric car or motorcycle is as simple as one, two, three with the charging stations installed on the Hayward Campus of Cal State East Bay Hayward. One: park in a space reserved for electric vehicles; two: plug in the electric cable; and three: continue your day with your car recharged.

Powering up on campus is now easier with the recent addition of four new stations funded by a Reconnect California grant. The two original charging stations in Lot G on the Hayward campus, were installed in fall 2012.

Evelyn Muñoz, CSUEB energy manager, secured the grant, which covered the $6,000 installation cost. The charging stations are an effective step towards helping the university become more sustainable and should be available to all who need them, she said.

“The two original stations were constantly being used, and now we’re seeing an even larger number of electric cars on campus,” Muñoz said.

The charging stations program has been a resounding success, said Derrick Lobo, manager of CSUEB Parking and Transport Services.

“Before summer quarter, the six electric vehicle spaces were consistently used Monday through Friday," Lobo said. "We were even getting complaints about some vehicles not being able to charge, because all the spots were occupied. That is why we are moving to (introduce) these additional spots before the start of fall quarter.”

The charging stations, each with two 208-volt chargers and a 120-volt plug, are adapted for newer models of electric vehicles and hybrids, allowing faculty, staff, students and visitors to recharge on campus.

“We have been told that having these charging stations on campus has been the deciding factor for some folks who were debating on purchasing an electrical vehicle or not,” Lobo said.

Michael Lee, a geography and environmental studies professor, fits that description. He recently replaced his gas-powered car with an all-electric Honda EV Fit.

Prior to purchasing his EV Fit, Lee assumed that they were out of his price range.

“Unless you do research, you’ll never know,” he said.

Lee discovered that many electric cars are affordable and pay themselves off with the amount of money saved from not buying gas. Based on his calculations, Lee determined that it takes only $2 worth of electricity to charge his vehicle. A Fit EV can travel about 82 miles on one full charge.

“(Driving an electric car) makes you feel like you’re making a contribution,” Lee said.

Helping the environment gave him an additional incentive to go electric, he said. He plans to spend the money he saves with free on campus charging to help fund a stipend for a student to work on sustainability issues.

Lobo said the university is keeping the charging service free to all. However, higher future demand may result in timed usage to ensure fair sharing.

To address the rise of electric cars on campus without enough corresponding spaces to accommodate them, the CSUEB parking and transportation services staff continues discussing installing new charging stations as reconstruction of parking lots proceeds, Lobo said.

Lobo, his team and electric car drivers like Professor Lee are hopeful that Cal State East Bay’s commitment to making charging stations available will help reduce the main campus' carbon footprint over time.

“We’re excited that (students, staff and faculty) are taking advantage of these stations,” Lobo said. “The more electrical vehicles we have out there, the better it is for the environment.”

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