UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA HOPES TO ATTRACT MORE ELECTRIC CARS WITH CHARGING STATIONS
While hybrid and electric vehicles have become more popular in recent years, including a massive sales increase in 2018, less than 1% of American households drive the environmentally conscious cars. Concerns about charging accessibility and infrastructure are some of the major issues still holding the market back, but college campuses are working to remedy this problem by offering charging stations for the public and students.
The University of Alabama has followed suit, installing seven new EVSE charging stations across campus in the last year. With the addition of the seven new stations, UA now has 10 stations in total, which each contain two charging ports except for the location at Sewell-Thomas Stadium that only has one. That gives the University the capacity to charge 19 cars at one time.
“We’re wanting to encourage people to help improve their carbon footprint on campus,” said Donnie Grill, an energy engineer manager for UA. “If we’re using electric vehicles on campus and not your typical gas engines, we’re reducing carbon emissions on campus and improving the environment.”
There are EVSE stations located in the following places:
- Campus Drive Parking Deck
- Ferguson Parking Deck
- Magnolia Drive Parking Deck
- Northeast Commuter Lot
- Presidential Parking Deck
- Ridgecrest Parking Deck
- Riverside Parking Deck
- Sewell-Thomas Baseball Stadium
- Stadium Drive Parking Deck]
A map of the charging stations can be found here.
The EVSE stations are designed for use by UA students and faculty and are accessible to anyone who has a parking decal for the area where the stations are located. There is currently no fee for charging at one of the stations, but Grill says that could change in the future.
“Right now, it is free for University employees and students,” Grill said. “Later on they might look at changing that structure to a pay-for use.”
The seven additional stations were installed after the University received a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
“We’re always looking into different ways that we can save money, save energy on campus and we typically meet with our Alabama Power rep every two or three months to go over different ideas,” Grill said. “He brought up the fact that there was an Alabama grant to help purchase and install electrical vehicle charging stations at different locations throughout the state.”
There are currently five or six cars that consistently use UA’s EVSE stations, but Grill hopes that number will increase in the coming years, especially among incoming freshman.
“We want to encourage students coming to campus to bring their electric vehicles and know they can get around town,” Grill said.
With the additional seven EVSE stations, Alabama is among the SEC schools with the most charging stations. Only Tennessee, Texas A&M and Auburn have more, according to school websites and chargehub.com. However, it is unclear how many charging ports are at each of these stations. The University of California at Davis paces the nation in charging stations with 38.