“Driving a car like this changes your whole perspective,” says Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, the University of Maryland’s (UM) new chief academic research officer and senior vice president, and dean of the Graduate School. “I commute 200 miles per week at interstate speeds. The electric car is smoother and accelerates faster than a regular car. I charge it in the parking lot, and I don’t spend a cent for gasoline. I like it.”
Jarrell, who brought along his Chevy Volt to the electric vehicle (EV) ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 31, was one of two University EV charging station users to participate in the official launch held on the first floor of the Pratt Street Garage. There are 10 stations in the seven University garages, all of which charge vehicles for free.
Along with Jarrell, a group of eco-conscious attendees, many from the University’s Sustainability Steering Committee, applauded as Jay A. Perman, MD, University president, plugged in the ceremonial ribbon.
"My hope," says Tony Green, transportation demand management and customer service manager in the Office of Parking and Transportation Services, "is that EV stations across campus help make electric vehicles a reality.” Green, who spearheaded the EV charging station initiative, thinks that people need to be able to charge in places that are convenient to them. “Having these stations on our campus,” he says, “aligns with the President's Climate Action Plan and enhances our student and faculty/staff knowledge of alternative transportation as we continue in our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint."
Bob Rowan, MS, associate vice president, facilities and operations, pointed out that “30 percent of UM’s carbon footprint is from cars” and that “We’re working to find alternatives to individual driving.” Some of those alternatives are found in the University’s carpooling and car-sharing programs, the availability of bike racks and a bike cage on campus, and the new EV charging stations, among others.
Eliot Siegel, MD, professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at the School of Medicine, brought his Nissan Leaf to the event to demonstrate how a completely electric plug-in car works. Siegel’s 100 percent electric car gets most of its charge from the solar cells on his home. “It’s completely quiet,” he said. “It never uses gas, which at this time of year, in the cold and rain, is great.” With 100 percent instantaneous torque, the Leaf, according to Siegel, goes from 0 to 60 mph in about seven seconds and takes six hours to charge from empty to full. Siegel especially likes his iPhone app that allows him to control the Leaf’s indoor climate when he’s not in the car.
Perman noted that sustainable transportation options are “clearly what we need for our future.” Perman emphasized this by telling the crowd that “sustainability is the No. 1 issue brought up by our students on the Q&A line” and that “our students point us in the right direction.”
For more information about the EV charging stations or alternative transportation choices at UM, click here.
by Clare Banks