04/05/2013 07:55 AM
BATON ROUGE – The next generation of affordable, consumer-friendly vehicles that use either partial or full electric power to operate are hitting the U.S. market, and a total of 3.2 million plug-in electric vehicles will be sold worldwide by 2015, according to Pike Research.
With the increase in use of electric vehicles, or EVs, in today’s environmentally minded society, there is a greater demand for places to deliver electric charging services to people who drive or are considering purchasing these types of vehicles, including current and prospective college students.
As part of this movement, on April 4, Plug In LSU announced a new website, www.pluginlsu.org, which offers information on EV use and where drivers can find charging stations for their vehicles, including two stations located at LSU.
The announcement came during a media event held in the Barnes & Noble at LSU.
Plug In LSU is a program that helps plug-in EV and plug-in hybrid drivers find the resources they need to use their vehicles most efficiently on and around the LSU campus. It is a project of the Greater Baton Rouge Clean Cities Coalition, or GBRCCC, whose mission is to advance the nation’s economic, environmental and energy security by supporting local actions to reduce petroleum consumption in transportation. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, GBRCCC supports public and private partnerships that help bring alternative fuel vehicles to the Greater Baton Rouge area.
“As gas prices increase, electric vehicles offer drivers a much more affordable fueling option,” said Lauren L. Stuart, GBRCCC executive director and program coordinator. “Also, electric vehicles require less maintenance than gasoline-fueled cars, including zero oil changes. Beyond the personal benefits, driving an electric vehicle advances domestic energy security and local environmental quality.”
LSU currently has two electric vehicle charging stations with reserved parking spaces – one located off Aster Street near Kirby Smith Hall on the north side of the campus, and the other located in the X-174 commuter lot off of Nicholson Extension on the campus’s south side.
The LSU EV charging stations were introduced in July 2011 through a partnership with Entergy Louisiana LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana LLC, marking the state’s first major foray into the electric vehicle market. The chargers were donated to LSU by Entergy and were paid for by Entergy shareholders through its Environmental Initiatives Fund, which was established as a mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through innovative and promising projects. GBRCCC has been a project partner, assisting in the educational and promotional efforts of the program.
The EV chargers at LSU provide free power to LSU students, faculty and staff who own plug-in electric or hybrid vehicles. While EV owners receive a charge station card from their respective dealerships of purchase, LSU students, faculty and staff wishing to utilize the stations on campus are required to register with the LSU Officer of Parking, Traffic and Transportation. At that time, they will receive a card to use at the two LSU charging stations. Registered LSU drivers also receive access to reserved specialty parking.
The charging stations are capable of providing a full charge to any EV on the market, including electric cars, plug-in hybrid vehicles, scooters and more. Those interested can register through www.pluginlsu.org by filling out an online form, located under the “LSU EV Drivers” section. The form includes designating which make and model vehicle and registers the vehicle by the user, license plate number and state of origin.
According to statistics from ChargePoint, the company through which LSU operates and monitors its two EV charging stations, the university has seen 1,047 total charge-ups, using 3.77 megawatts of electricity, from October 2012 through April 2, 2013. The stations have also led to a savings of 5,357.146 kg of greenhouse gas emissions and 630 gallons of gasoline during the same time period, according to ChargePoint.
LSU Campus Sustainability reported that the university paid a total of $204.16 in energy costs for both charging stations between November 2012 and April 2013.
The stations also enable the LSU College of Engineering and Entergy to collect usage data and conduct critical research about the chargers’ impact on consumers and the LSU campus power grid.
“As the state’s flagship university, it is important that our teaching and research missions each address clean energy and alternative fuel options,” said Rick Koubek, dean of the LSU College of Engineering. “Today, researchers are working intensely to explore new fuels and vehicle technologies, to provide more efficient choices for consumers and study the effects of EV charging on power grids, like the one here at LSU.”
According to Entergy’s EV research website, “the charging stations will provide real world operational information and consumer behavior characteristics for electric vehicle supply equipment at these locations. This will assist Entergy and the colleges and universities who chose to host EV charging stations in future deployment of the technology.” For more information from Entergy about EVs, visit its electric vehicle homepage at www.entergy.com/our_community/environment/ev.aspx.
Tammy Millican, assistant director for the LSU Office of Facility Services, said that in the nearly two years since the program began, the number of cards registered to use the LSU charging stations has met the initial allowance of 10. The university has since purchased additional cards, in expectation of increased usage.
In addition to registration for the charging stations, the Plug In LSU website also offers users links to vital information on EVs, including their benefit to the environment. A section titled “Electric Vehicles 101” contains answers to questions about why someone should consider switching to an EV, while also debunking common myths about EVs.
The website also features a mapping program, operated through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, which shows the locations of EV charging stations in the Baton Rouge area, including the two LSU stations. Users can narrow their search using filters to designate types of chargers, methods of payment, private or public stations and who owns the station. The search can also be expanded to show station locations throughout the U.S., and users can even plot a route to travel to a particular station.
The Greater Baton Rouge Clean Cities Coalition is a designated affiliate of the U.S. Department of Energy, in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. GBRCC is supported by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and its generous stakeholders. Membership to GBRCCC is available to the public at large. As an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, GBRCCC diversifies transportation fuel options by employing a variety of strategies including alternative fuels, such as electricity. For more information, call 225-334-8083, email email@example.com, visit www.gbrccc.org or follow GBRCCC on Facebook or Twitter.
About Entergy Louisiana LLC and Entergy Gulf States LLC
Entergy Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. serves more than a million customers. With operations in southern, central and northeastern Louisiana, the companies are part of Entergy Corp.’s electric system serving 2.7 million customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. More information on Entergy Louisiana can be found at www.entergy-louisiana.com.
Posted on Friday, April 5, 2013