The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Sunday May 26th

Charging toward sustainability: electric vehicle charging stations on campus

(Photo courtesy of Shane Gillespie / Photo Editor)
(Photo courtesy of Shane Gillespie / Photo Editor)

By Myara Gomez
Staff Writer 

The Environmental Sustainability Council met on Sept. 6 and discussed many plans to make the College’s campus more sustainable. The council is charging toward a cleaner campus with the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. 

According to the senior director of sustainability and energy management, Paul Romano, the overall plan is to simultaneously charge 38 vehicles. This could be done with four Direct Current fast chargers (a.k.a Level II) and another ten level II chargers. If the budget allows, they would also like for the current chargers to be replaced, allowing campus to have 38 EV charging stations. 

“We anticipate the college would make an initial investment of $750,000 to be matched by roughly an equivalent sum associated with grants from NJDEP, NJBPU and PSE&G. This initial investment I would propose would be recovered within five years so that we may continue to finance the expansion of our capacity to accommodate future demand,” said Romano. 

Once these charging stations are put into place, they will be accessible to students, faculty and anyone that visits the campus. Romano mentioned that this is an obligation that comes with the grant funding has been awarded to the campus. 

There have previously been issues with availability on the charging stations, which is why it is great that this issue is being resolved. 

“Before this term, 95% of my charging was on campus, about 10 hours per week. This term 0%. There are rarely free chargers at 9 am,” said associate professor of electrical and computer Engineering, Larry Pearlstein. 

Pearlstein claims that one of the chargers on campus is broken as well. This creates even less availability for charging on campus. 

“At least one now seems to be broken, and another few of them are flakey, but do ultimately deliver a charge. These are old, first generation chargers. I would expect newer models to be completely reliable,” said Pearlstein. 

According to Romano, a Level II charger would take about 6 to 8 hours to charge, opposed to the Level III chargers that take about 30 minutes depending on the type of electric vehicle. 

Users of these charging stations should keep in mind that even though charging on campus is currently free, there might be user fees with the new systems. It is not set in stone yet but the ultimate goal is for the system to be self-sustaining. 

“Again, the policy has yet to be established but the goal is for the system to be financially self-sustaining. We will be discussing the policy at future Environmental Sustainability Council meetings and I would encourage all interested parties to attend,” said Romano. 

If anyone is an owner of an electric vehicle, Larry Pearlstein has a Google Group named TEVUG for the College’s EV users. This group is open to anyone with an interest in electric vehicles. If a student is interested in joining Pearlstein’s group, please email pearlstl@tcnj.edu

Overall, these brand new charging stations will be a  great addition to the campus and might even encourage some gas users to switch over to electric. 

“I believe such charging stations will provide numerous benefits, including reducing emissions (Scope I, II, and III), encouraging community members to use electric vehicles, reducing operating costs for our fleet vehicles, and demonstrating our values to sustainability to not only our own community but the neighboring community as well.” Romano said.




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