University installs electric vehicle charging spaces

By Fatima Farha

The parking department recently installed the first electric vehicle charging spaces on campus to select garages in a campus-wide effort for sustainable projects.

These new electric vehicle charging spaces will give visitors and campus residents the opportunity to charge their electric vehicles, said Michelle Wahl, director of parking. She said this was an initiative to make the campus more green.

“We want to try and reduce the carbon footprint and this is one of the challenges that was presented to me,” Wahl said. “It’s one of those things that I thought we could make work here on campus for our electric vehicle users.”

Paul Foote, junior in ACES, said the charging spaces are a part of sustainability initiatives coordinated among University sustainability groups, the Illinois Climate Action Plan and the Student Sustainability Committee. Foote said he was working with sustainability efforts when he proposed the plan to the parking department, who later hired him as a student worker.

Foote said the electric vehicle charging spaces have involved a great amount of research and planning but have worked out well. He hopes it will make a positive impact on the campus as well as the world.

“It’s one of the components for the overall sustainability initiative to make the world a cleaner and better place to live in,” Foote said.

According to a press release by the parking department, the new electric vehicle charging spaces are located in parking garages B4, C7 and D5, all of which are metered spaces so they do require the standard payments. The other garages are B4, C10, D5 and F219, which are for users with permits.

According to a press release, the Level 1 charging is “recommended for light charging and longer periods of slow charging.”

Users do not have to pay for the electricity for Level 1 because it is a service, Wahl said. However, they do have to pay all other standard parking regulation fees.

Wahl said the new electric vehicle charging spaces are about educating the community about electric vehicles.

“The electric vehicle space is new here on campus so I’m all about giving them the educational tool,” Wahl said. “What we’re doing is we’re warning the customers that this is an electric vehicle charging space and to follow the electric vehicle etiquette.”

The electric vehicle etiquette lists eight rules of etiquette, such as not leaving nasty notes and charging only when necessary, that all electric vehicle users must follow to use them properly.

Wahl said that the Level 2 initiative will begin in 2015, when the parking department will install actual electric vehicle stations in select parts of the campus, requiring a user fee. Overall, Wahl said she thinks this is something the community is happy about.

“The feedback that I have heard so far, people are excited for the opportunity,” Wahl said.

Fatima can be reached at [email protected]