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February 21, 2012

SDSU leads green tech charge

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Written by: Anthony Mendiola
Paige Nelson, Staff Photographer

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Paige Nelson, Staff Photographer

Paige Nelson, Staff Photographer

Sustainability efforts on the campus of San Diego State are taking a decidedly electrical leap forward as new charging stations for electric cars are being installed in strategic locations throughout campus.

Specially marked parking spaces outfitted with Blink charging units allow students who drive hybrids or electric vehicles to charge up for free while in class.

A small group consisting of auto industry representatives, SDSU facility personnel, car-fleet employees and faculty from the Center for Regional Sustainability gathered on the top level of Parking Structure 4 on Feb. 9 to mark the occasion as new charging stations came on line. Faculty and staff were given a demonstration and explanation of how the newer, more advanced electric vehicles will use the plug-in recharging devices.

These preferred parking spaces at the bottom of PS4 on the faculty level are just another incentive to persuade consumers to switch to hybrid or electric vehicles.

Other incentives include federal and state rebates, as well as special home options to offset electricity bills offered to electric vehicle owners by SDG&E.

Energy Manager at SDSU Bill Lekas explained how the 14 charging stations are spread out around the campus as part of a demonstration project to promote electric car use. As part of a planning committee, with industry officials “given the task of finding appropriate sites for placing charging outlets such as apartment complexes, schools and office buildings,” Lekas found rather than placing car charging stations at various locales such as grocery stores, where people tend to make short stops, it makes much more sense to put charging stations at places where vehicles will be idle for longer periods of time, such as home, workplaces and colleges. This way, while people are at work or at school, their vehicles can fully charge. It takes three and a half hours of charging in order to make a 50-mile, purely electric-powered trip.

General Motors Western Region Environment & Energy Policy and Communications Director Shad Balch was on hand with several brand-new Chevy Volts to showcase the new line of electric vehicles GM is producing.

“SDSU installed 14 stations throughout campus and we build electric cars, so we felt it very important to show up here at this unveiling to highlight that SDSU will have the infrastructure in place to charge these cars,” Balch said.

The new Blink charging stations are located throughout campus, including in front of the SDSU Children’s Center and on parking structures 4, 5, 6 and 8.

Lekas said the charging stations near the Children’s Center have the added eco-friendly feature of being solar powered.

Free electric charging could be a big incentive, along with other carbon emissions reduction incentives, that governments are offering drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles. Potential savings could be significant.

“If you can get 50 miles free on electricity, you could save say $20 worth of gasoline, then every time you need to take a 50-mile trip, you could be saving that,” Balch said.

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Anthony Mendiola



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One Comment

  1. William Lekas

    My vision is to see SDSU be the example for sustainablity. All that requires is for us to be open to innovation, collaboration and stepping out and doing. Here at SDSU we want to be known by doing!

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