Looking for a great reason to purchase an electric vehicle (EV), or plug-in hybrid, this year besides the zero-tailpipe or low emissions and benefits to air quality? We have one.The University of Utah is the first university in the country to sponsor a community drive electric program with multiple car dealers participating. This program offers U community members the opportunity to purchase or lease electric cars or plug-in hybrids at a discount.Sign up at udriveelectric.org.The University of Utah regularly considers and implements solutions to lessen its environmental impact and improve conditions for the community and future generations. Zero to low-emissions vehicles are a small, but a key step toward helping to improve our air quality.
The limited-time U Community Drive Electric program launches today, Dec. 14, and runs through Dec. 31, 2015. Members of the U community, including faculty, staff, students, alumni and campus guests in Salt Lake, Summit, Weber, Tooele, Utah and Davis counties are eligible to participate. The U’s Sustainability Office in partnership with Utah Clean Energy, and with a generous grant from UCAIR, has joined together to offer this incentive program.
Community members who participate in the program will sign up for the program with Utah Clean Energy at udriveelectric.org. Once registered, participants make an appointment to work directly with any of the participating dealers to purchase the electric car or plug-in hybrid of their choice. Participants must sign a contract before Dec. 31, 2015, to guarantee the discount. There are many reasons why now is a great time to lower your carbon footprint and support electric or plug-in hybrid cars.
Why buy an electric or plug-in hybrid car?
- EVs can help improve the air quality along the Wasatch Front.
- The maintenance and fuel costs are significantly lower for an EV.
- Today’s batteries are expected to last for up to 15 years.
- EVs capture energy when the brakes are applied to recharge the batteries.
- EVs are quiet and fun to drive.
- Plug-in-hybrids can offer versatility, while reducing gas consumption.
The state of Utah offers up to a $1,500 tax incentive and the federal government offers up to $7,500 in tax incentives for the purchase of new EVs. These tax incentives, which vary based on individual taxes, are in addition to the discount offered through this program.
There are three participating car dealers: BMW of Murray, Larry H. Miller Ford Lincoln – Sandy and Tim Dahle Nissan of Murray. These dealers will provide additional discounts on their electric car models to those who enroll through the program. Discounts vary by vehicle make and model, but range between 5 percent and 20 percent off of MSRP.
Infrastructure is continuing to improve and grow. Read the box below to learn about electric vehicles charging stations on campus and click here to find charging locations around Salt Lake.
FAQ about electric cars
- Gas vs. electric: Watch this short video about the life cycles of each type of car. You may be surprised.
- Most daily trips fall well within the range of EVs. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average American drives about 30 miles per day, and 80 percent of all trips are 40 miles or less. Most EVs have a range of 60 miles or greater.
Infographic from Union of Concerned Scientists.
With the holiday spirit in the air and the inversion season upon us, U Community Drive Electric hopes to inspire and to facilitate a new generation of electric car owners. Sign up at udriveelectric.org.
There will be a community workshop to answer all your questions on Thursday, Dec. 17, 6 p.m., at the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business on the seventh floor, Room 7170.
By Shea Renner, communications manager, Commuter Services
In the last two months, the University of Utah campus has increased the number of places to charge electric vehicles.
For several years, Commuter Services has been evaluating the possibility of providing charging stations for commuters who have electric automobiles. Until very recently, however, providing electric charging stations has been a very expensive proposition. The best prices Commuter Services found were in excess of $5,000 to purchase a station, with much more needed for installation. However, this past summer, the university began working with Leaders for Clean Air to obtain charging stations at very attractive prices—less than $500 each.
By combining installation costs with the construction of the two new garages on campus, Commuter Services was able to place six stations in the Central Garage, four in the Northwest Garage, and construction of the new Law School building included three stations — bringing a total of 13 stations to main campus, with several more projected in coming months.
Construction is underway near the USTAR facility, and Commuter Services will add another near the Madsen Clinic. Commuter Services will install more stations as conditions warrant — mostly price and demand for the service.
“EVs are likely to become a large share of the vehicles used by our faculty, students and staff,” said Myron Willson, director of the Sustainability Resource Center. “They will also be part of an integrated plan to help reduce harmful emissions to improve regional air quality.”
However, charging stations don’t come entirely without controversy. EVs don’t reduce traffic; and it costs just as much to provide electric vehicle parking spaces as it does for gas-powered vehicles. Additionally, Utah’s electricity comes from burning coal — another fossil fuel; but the fact that it can be generated away from population centers means that EV use won’t contribute to the valley’s pollution.
Option 1: Pay the metered rate of $2.00 per hour while you use the EV charging stalls. This option is primarily for visitors and those who only charge infrequently.
Option 2: Register your electric vehicle with Commuter Services and pay for an EV endorsement to add to your existing university permit. The cost of the endorsement is $30 for the remainder of the school year and the permit holder will receive two hours of free parking at any one of the EV charging stalls each day. If you stay longer than 2 hours you will need to pay the metered rate of $2.00 per hour after the first two-hour period has passed.
With both options, cars will be ticketed if they are not actively charging and/or if the time they remain in the EV parking stall exceeds the allotted or paid time. Commuter Services will be monitoring this situation closely and make adjustments in July at the beginning of the fiscal year.
New procedures will be adopted in the coming year to implement an appropriate fee for this service.