April 10, 2015

Contact: Amy Hewes

Cal Poly Promotes Electric Vehicle Use with 12 New Charging Stations

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly is now on the map as a “topping off” point for electric vehicles (EV). The university has installed 12 EV charging stations as part of a broad vision of sustainability for the campus, improving what is already considered one of the best alternative transportation programs in the state.

President Jeffrey D. Armstrong was among several faculty, staff and students who plugged in their vehicles at an opening ceremony April 3.

“Infrastructure like this is driving sustainability forward at Cal Poly,” said Armstrong. “I’m excited to have these stations. They won't be our last.”

The initiative was funded by a $150,000 grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC). Cal Poly’s being a major regional hub, large employer and near two heavily traveled highways was the perfect trifecta, said Dennis Elliot, assistant director of energy, utilities and sustainability for facility services. “We hit all three of the CEC’s goals.”

The charging stations are located at two sites: the Grand Avenue parking structure next to the Performing Arts Center and in a parking area near Kennedy Library that hosts Zip Car parking and interfaces with the public bus system. Both locations have easy access to the Highway 1 and 101 corridors.

“As a university, we are a major destination — whether it’s to attend the Performing Arts Center, sports events or classes,” said Dale Dolan, an electrical engineering professor who is the project manager for the initiative. “And as one of the area’s largest employers, Cal Poly is using the initiative to help pave the way for electric car usage in the local workforce.”

The charging stations may also help promote EV usage throughout the state. Cal Poly’s location on the Highway 101 corridor between Los Angeles and San Francisco makes it easily accessible for people traveling through the state as well as for local residents. The campus is also bordered by scenic Highway 1.

“Charging stations promote usage,” said Dolan. “Infrastructure like this becomes part of a larger network. It reassures those who drive an electric car — or may be considering buying one — that there are an increasing number of easily accessible places to recharge their battery. It’s a value statement from the university.”

The new charging stations will better meet the needs of a new generation of users, said Cindy Campbell, who recently retired from the University Police Department. As associate director there, she managed alternative transportation on campus and worked closely with Dolan and Elliot in making the EV charging stations a reality.

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