The Colleges recently installed an electric vehicle (EV) charging station on campus. Located in the Medbery Parking lot, it is free and available to the public, thanks to a grant from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). Hobart and William Smith received a NYSERDA grant to support 80 percent of the costs of the unit, which is maintained by ChargePoint, as well as materials and labor. Additionally, the annual service fee to the Colleges is waived the first four years through the NYSERDA grant, making it possible for HWS to provide the charging service free for that time period.
“There are a few faculty and staff who own an electric vehicle and this makes driving their EV to campus much more feasible,” explains Sustainability Manager Adam Maurer. “Additionally, by being placed on the ChargePoint EV station map, we’re hoping it attracts others not necessarily affiliated with the Colleges to fuel up and visit campus, Geneva, or the surrounding area while their vehicle is being charged.”
“HWS is now part of a growing network of charging stations for electric vehicles. It is part of our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of our campus,” says Professor of Economics Tom Drennen, who is among those who own an EV, and is also a member of the HWS Climate Task Force. “What is really unique about our station is that since we offset all of our electricity with wind, anyone who charges at our station can claim that their car is ‘powered by the wind.’ Obviously, this is just one more little step in our campus commitment to become greener.”
An access card is necessary to use the ChargePoint station, and can be obtained through the ChargePoint website. One card can be used to unlock all ChargePoint charging stations across the United States. If someone does not have a card, they can visit Campus Safety to get one on an as-needed basis.
The project was introduced by Associate Professor of Geoscience David Kendrick, who this past fall sent an email to Maurer and President Mark D. Gearan, urging them to consider installing an EV charging station on campus due to the Colleges’ close proximity to the New York State Thruway and Routes 5 & 20.
“At that time, there were no ChargePoint charging stations between Rochester and Syracuse, according to the company’s map,” says Maurer. Including the station located at the Colleges, there is now one other station in the Geneva area and one near Auburn.
In addition to serving those who currently own electric vehicles, the presence of a charging station is intended to support individuals interested in buying an EV in the future. A survey Maurer conducted to determine demand for the charging station found many students, faculty and staff expressing interest in owning an EV. Several noted they would now consider purchasing one because of the access to a charging station. Others said they excluded electric vehicles when making a recent car purchase decision because there were no chargers located in Geneva.
Maurer explains the Colleges chose to acquire the station through ChargePoint for the benefits it offers drivers. The company maintains more than 15,000 charging stations and has partnered with electric vehicle manufacturers so many EVs come ready with a ChargePoint card. Additionally, the company offers an app that can help users find nearby stations with real-time availability, start a charging session, track fuel and greenhouse gas savings, and receive tips, updates and special offers, among other features. He notes other savings such as driving an electric car can save 6,100 gallons of gas totaling $13,000 over the life of the electric vehicle, and electric car owners can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 45.5 tons over the life of their electric vehicle.