An electric car charger remains unfeasible on campus

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May 25, 2015

11:56 AM

Oh electric vehicles, a sign that technology continues to advance and make everyday life a bit more interesting. Many coastal universities in the United States are getting caught up in a relatively recent spike in electric vehicle usage and installing electric vehicle charging stations on their campuses. Most of these installations are on the West coast — primarily in California — but they are sprouting up along the East coast as well. Curious to see if having an electric vehicle charging station on our campus at the College of William and Mary would be feasible, I became an EcoAmbassador for our school and began my research.

I needed to answer these questions — Where would we place the charging station? How much would it cost? Who would use the charging station?

I turned to Associate Director of Utilities Daniel Patterson to answer my questions of why and how. Where would we put this hypothetical charging station? I came into our meeting with a few places in mind: the Phi Beta Kappa Hall parking lot (which has great visibility from Jamestown Road), the commuter parking deck (I mean, they are the ones driving the furthest!), and the Zable Stadium lot. Patterson gave me approximate figures for the cost of installation for each area. Zable Stadium parking lot would cost $3,616.35 and the commuter parking deck would cost $2,028.75. With the PBK parking lot far from an electric box, the wiring needed would cost way too much. With our options now down to two, the commuter parking deck would be most economically feasible.

Next, I needed to figure out who would use the station if we had it. I met with the Williamsburg Kampgrounds of America manager to ask about the usage they receive from the electric vehicle charging stations they have. Their charging stations are used mostly by out of state visitors. I wanted to know why this was the case, so I contacted Steve Yakshe of Yakshe Enterprises, a local electric vehicle expert. He explained that the electric vehicle movement has not caught on in the Williamsburg area. Further, I learned from Parking Services that campus only has a handful of registered vehicles that could use this service.

Ultimately, an electric vehicle charging station would not be feasible for the College. There is much too little need. However, the lingering question is this: If we did have an electric vehicle charging station, would that promote more drivers to switch to an electric or hybrid car?

For any questions on the EcoAmbassador program or furthering this research contact the Committee on Sustainability. For further questions about the research contact undergraduate student Laurra Sperry at [email protected]

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  • Laurra Sperry