In mid-April, Franklin & Marshall College opened two dual charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in College Square’s parking lot. The stations are free to students, faculty, staff and members of the community.
Campus Sustainability Coordinator Nicholas Auwaerter ’11 spearheaded the project to install the stations about three years ago after President Daniel R. Porterfield, in response to student and trustee interest, authorized the Sustainability Committee to explore the idea.
Auwaerter consulted Mike McKechnie, owner and president of Mountain View Solar in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., who spoke at F&M in February 2016. His firm installs EV stations, in addition to the installation and maintenance of solar power systems.
Auwaerter selected a station model that can charge two cars simultaneously and has sufficient charging speed, power supply, payment-process capability, and electric cords. The Level 2 pedestal-mounted dual charging station from Schneider Electric charges faster than residential models, but costs far less than the fastest stations.
The station includes a meter to track how much power has been drawn. Eventually, the data could be used by student researchers to calculate the number of gallons of gas the station has saved, Auwaeter said.
Already, the charging stations have made a difference – a College Square employee is considering an electric-vehicle purchase to get the benefit of free charging while a worker at nearby Armstrong World Industries recently inquired whether the stations were for public use.
“It’s the little changes, the education, that make someone say, ‘Okay, maybe this is something we can do,’” Auwaerter said.
He looks to increase the number of EV parking spaces in lots across campus. As part of New College House’s LEED Silver certification process, two spaces were added to Williamson parking lot, and this fall, the Campus Facilities Committee will consider adding more.
“I’m hoping this will gain traction,” Auwaeter said. “Time and interest will tell – I’d welcome the opportunity to continue to build on this project.”