GW installs electric car chargers

by Elise Apelian
Hatchet Reporter

The University is looking into expanding the number of charging stations for electric cars on campus, however it is unclear how many people are making use of the sole charging station for cars as of now,

A charging port was installed in South Hall's parking garage during the building's construction, but no data is available on the station's usage since the residence hall opened in fall 2009, Sophie Waskow, the stakeholder engagement coordinator for GW's Office of Sustainability, said.

"We are currently exploring expanding the number of charging stations on campus, and will aim to provide these options in new construction projects," Waskow said.

Waskow said GW is working to increase its sustainable transportation options as part of its Climate Action Plan. As of now, those who plug into the charging portal at South Hall do not have to pay to use it.

"Exact costs are hard to determine, but it is tied to our electricity rates and how long the station is in use," Waskow said of the cost to the University.

The University also has 25 electric facilities carts that charge at normal wall-like outlets across campus.

Mark Starik, chair of GW's Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy and director of the GW Institute for Sustainability Research, Education and Policy, said he uses the 110-volt charging station in South Hall and is glad it is provided by the University.

"However, I haven't noticed that anyone else is using these stations, perhaps because few people know about them," Starik said.

D.C. installed its first public electric car charge point in November, but few people have made use of the machine. Starik said for D.C. to become a demonstration site for charge points, it "may need to promote them to ensure they are used."

Three people have used D.C.'s public charge point since its opening in November, totaling four hours of charging.

"We think the turnout has been so low because the Chevy Volt [electric car] has been delayed, but once those cars are in higher circulation we'll see more use," District Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle said.

The opening of the charge point at 2000 14th St. is part of an effort to move toward the use of clean energy and reducing the city's carbon footprint.

"If [the government] can provide public charging stations we think this will encourage people to buy more electric cars," Lisle said.

D.C.'s charge point is part of the national program ChargePoint America, jointly funded by the federal government as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and by Coulomb Technologies. Of the entire program's $37 million cost, the Department of Energy contributed $15 million. Charge points have been added to cities like Los Angeles, Austin, Detroit, New York City and Orlando, Fla.

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