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You asked for it; U Drive Electric returns.

By Sarah Lappé, communication coordinator Sustainability Office

The University of Utah and Salt Lake City have brought back the electric vehicle purchase program extending discounts on multiple makes and models. The second round of U Drive Electric offers U community members and Salt Lake City community members the opportunity to purchase or lease electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices. The program will kick-off during National Drive Electric Week on Sept. 12, 2016, and will run through Oct. 31, 2016.

This program is aimed at improving air quality and community health both today and for future generations. With almost 50 percent of Utah’s urban air pollution coming from tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles represent an important tool for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front.

In round one of U Drive Electric in 2015, 76 electric vehicles were purchased in less than two months. This year, the program is expanding to include more options, with several additional dealers participating, and with a new opportunity to purchase used electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. By maximizing choices, consumers can find the best option to fit their needs.

“The university is committed to improving air quality in the Salt Lake valley and to reducing its carbon footprint,” said President David W. Pershing. “We are excited to yet again offer a program to community members that allows them to participate with us in making a difference in Utah.”

Members of the U community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as anyone who has been a visitor or guest at a university event, are eligible to participate. In addition, the program is available to Salt Lake City residents and individuals who regularly work, conduct business in, or visit Salt Lake City.

“Salt Lake City is thrilled to join the University of Utah and Utah Clean Energy in offering solutions to our community,” stated Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “U Drive Electric lowers barriers to owning clean vehicles and will catalyze a sense of unity among participants to help solve our air quality problem.”

To offer this incentive, the University of Utah Sustainability Office is coordinating with Salt Lake City and partnering with Utah Clean Energy, a nonprofit, public interest organization that works to drive the transition to a clean energy future. This program is enabled by generous grants from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) and Patagonia Outlet of Salt Lake City.

“Getting more electric vehicles on the road will improve air quality along the Wasatch Front,” said Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy. “They don’t have a tailpipe, the car itself doesn’t emit any pollutants, and when powered by solar, they are completely pollution free. This program is a big win for all of us.”

Car dealers are able to offer a discount because the program drives targeted customer demand during a limited timeframe. To those who enroll through the program, there will be discounts on BEV (battery-electric) or PHEV (plug-in-hybrid electric) car models from BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and additional used car models. Discounts vary by vehicle make and model, but range between 3 percent and 25 percent off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Participating community members can sign up for the program at Once registered, participants work directly with any of the selected dealers to purchase or lease the electric car of their choice. Participants must sign a contract before Oct. 31, 2016 to guarantee the discount.

To learn more about the program, including updates and events, visit There will be several community workshops throughout the program.

Upcoming workshops:

  • 14, 6-7 p.m. at the J. Willard Marriott Library on the U campus, 295 S. 1500 East, in the Gould Auditorium.
  • 26, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Public Library, 210 E. 400 South, in the Main Library Auditorium.
  • 6, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Sprague Library, 2131 1100 East, in the Library Meeting Room.
  • 12, 5:30- 7 p.m. at Sorenson Unity Center Performance Theater, 855 W. California Avenue.

The University of Utah is committed to integrating sustainability across all areas of the institution, including academics, operations and administration, and in partnership with the community, serving as a model for what is possible in sustainability. The Sustainability Office supports sustainability efforts of all kinds and works to better streamline initiatives and collaboration across campus.