March 05, 2009

Four Electric Vehicles Join Campus Fleet

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The Department of Facilities Services and the Office of Housing, Residence Life & Greek Life recently purchased four new vehicles that travel up to a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour. Although these vehicles would not win any races, the fact that they send out zero emissions means they'll put Case Western Reserve University on the road to reducing its carbon footprint.

"Why do we have to have big gasoline vehicles when our guys only drive a few yards at time?" Gene Matthews, director of facilities services, thought when he and his team began researching new vehicles to replace some older ones. With that in mind, they ended up purchasing four Miles Electric Vehicles with a main benefit of zero tailpipe emissions.

The vehicles, all of them white with a university logo, are now making their way onto the streets around campus.

When the vehicles--three trucks and one car--recently arrived on campus, two were set aside for the housing department, one for the university's plumbers and one for the electricians. Matthews said each vehicle cost about $18,000. Gas-powered cars and trucks they looked at were in the $20,000 range.

According to the Miles Electric Vehicles Web site, the annual operation cost for a car is about $161 in electricity, compared to $2,045 for a comparable gasoline-powered car.

Matthews said the cost and the low maintenance won the group over. "These new vehicles cost about a penny per mile to operate. On an eight-hour charge they can go up to 100 miles. They can plug into any electrical outlet," he explained. Since the vehicles are electric, no oil changes or filters are necessary; the batteries only need to be changed every five years. In addition, the trucks can haul up to a 1,000 pound load.

Each vehicle takes between four to six hours to charge up before being ready to hit the road. Matthews said new electrical outlets are being put in specific zones around campus to accommodate even more electric vehicles in the future.

Matthews said perhaps even more important than the cost savings is the fact that these vehicles will produce less wear and tear on the environment. "This is right in line to reduce the university's carbon footprint. Our goal is to help to reduce the use of fossil fuels. "

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, March 5, 2009 01:09 PM | News Topics: Administration, Environment, Staff, news, sustainability

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