Category

Electric Vehicles

Recharge MN Spotlight: Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA)

Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) views electric vehicles (EVs) as good for both business and the environment. As a result, EVs are an important component of the agency’s “SMMPA 2.0” strategic initiative focusing on environmental and economic sustainability, with a goal of moving its power generation portfolio to be 80 percent carbon free by 2030.

SMMPA generates and transmits wholesale electricity to 18 non-profit, municipally-owned member utilities across Minnesota. The agency announced the development of its EV charging network in 2019, with the goal of installing a DC Fast Charger and 2 dual-port Level 2 chargers in each of their members’ communities. As part of the initiative, SMMPA pays for the equipment and maintenance, so their members are only responsible for covering the installation. ZEF Energy assisted SMMPA with planning, including site and equipment selection. With two-thirds of their members already participating, the project is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2021.

“Since up to 90 percent of EV charging typically occurs in the owner’s garage at night, when electric demand is low, utilities can generally handle that load without additional generation,” says Christopher  Schoenherr, SMMPA’s Director of Agency and Government Relations.

Even as the availability of public charging stations continues to grow, some consumers hesitate to make the switch to electric because of “range anxiety” – the fear they may not be able to reach distant destinations. SMMPA’s EV charging network is intended to help alleviate those concerns and expand EV adoption longer term. That’s why the agency’s Board unanimously made the investment in them. 

“To the extent that we get more EVs in people’s garages, that’s where the economic payback will be for us,” says Christopher. “In addition to that, the charging network aligns well with our SMMPA 2.0 initiative to significantly reduce our carbon footprint.”

SMMPA hosts a dual-port Level 2 charging station at its headquarters in Rochester, Minnesota that is open to the public, and expects its next fleet vehicle purchase will be an EV. SMMPA works closely with its members on EV marketing campaigns and educational resources, including an EV 101 brochure. The agency also delivered an ad campaign around a Nissan LEAF rebate that became their most clicked digital ad. 

SMMPA is currently in the early stages of exploring an EV sharing initiative, a potential way of introducing residents of smaller communities to EVs. A driver would be able to rent an EV for anywhere from an hour to a week, allowing them to have a hands-on, first person experience to see if it’s right for them. 

Learn more about the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. To download the complete Recharge Minnesota SMMPA case study, click here.

Recharge MN Spotlight: Mankato Area Foundation

Electric vehicles (EVs) align well with the mission of The Mankato Area Foundation, whose purpose is to improve the livability in Greater Mankato through philanthropy. The Foundation’s support of EV education and awareness programs has helped establish Mankato as an EV leader among smaller communities in Minnesota and the nation.  

 In 2018, the Mankato Area Foundation (with the Olseth Family Foundation, an organization working to improve community through support of the arts, education, the environment and the underserved, and the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Minnesota State University, Mankato) launched Recharge Mankato, a community initiative aimed at improving the health and vitality of the Greater Mankato region through the use of emerging transportation technologies, including EVs. 

“We planned our first Recharge Mankato event at Minnesota State University Mankato in 2018 with hopes of getting 100 people there to try electric vehicles. In fact, 161 people attended and we were thrilled,” says Mankato Area Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Nancy Zallek. 

The next year, Recharge Mankato hosted nearly 1,000 people at another test drive event, with over 500 attendees having an electric vehicle experience. According to Nancy, the impact of in-person events has a disproportionate impact on increasing EV adoption in smaller communities like Mankato, where people tend to know each other. 

“A few key stakeholders ended up buying EVs after being introduced to the idea at our events, and that created momentum for others to consider doing the same,” Nancy reports. 

The Foundation notes a beneficial trickle-down EV infrastructure effect, with Mankato now offering residents and visitors 19 public charging stations: 16 Level 2 and three Level 3 DC fast chargers: an impressive number for a community of just over 42,000 residents. Over 60% of the chargers are free to the public. The Foundation itself hosts a dual port Level 3 DC fast charger in Downtown Mankato that is open to the public 24/7 and is listed on PlugShare. It was the result of collaboration between the Mankato Foundation, the Olseth Family Foundation, and Neubau Holdings, with money generated from the chargers going toward community EV initiatives. 

The Foundation hopes to support ride and drives and EV educational events as soon as conditions permit. It is also exploring ways, either virtually, in-person, or a combination of both, for promoting electric school buses. Local municipalities and school districts are beginning to realize the potential of electric buses, but tend to have more questions than answers. The foundation has discovered through Recharge Mankato that educational initiatives can serve as a catalyst for bringing these ideas to fruition.Learn more about the Mankato Area Foundation. To download the complete Recharge Minnesota Mankato Area Foundation case study, click here.

Recharge MN Spotlight: White Bear Mitsubishi

White Bear Mitsubishi is the top-selling dealer in the country for Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the top-selling plug-in in St. Paul, Minnesota, the dealership’s hometown. General Manager and Owner Richard Herod III says that this record of accomplishment didn’t happen by accident. He, along with his sales managers and half of his sales staff, drive plug-in hybrids. 

“If you think about our state, people in Minnesota drive trucks and SUVs. Personally, I have been driving the Outlander PHEV for over three years now,” Richard says. “Most of my driving is done in electric mode. On my daily commutes, I’ve been averaging 45 to 65 miles per gallon and you just can’t do that with many cars, especially midsize four-wheel-drive SUVs.”

Richard reports that his team’s personal familiarity with plug-ins is an important factor in White Bear Mitsubishi achieving record Outlander PHEV sales year after year. Today, White Bear Mitsubishi sells more plug-in Outlanders than its gas consuming counterpart. The dealership purchased 100 Outlander PHEVs in August 2020, and only 14 were left by the end of the year.

“We find our salespeople saying to our customers, ‘Do you have a garage? Do you have an outlet in your garage? If so, you should consider driving a plug-in hybrid,’” says Richard. “We sell to customers looking for internal combustion engines, because we believe the driving experience is that superior, and when you consider the tax credit, it’s a no-brainer.”  

White Bear Mitsubishi has participated in auto shows and community education events in the past, and is excited to present the 2021 Outlander PHEV as soon as it is possible. In terms of its own EV infrastructure, the dealership has three free charging locations available to the public at no cost. 

For the coming year, Richard’s goal is to be the number one Outlander PHEV dealer in the country for the third year in a row. It would be a particularly noteworthy accomplishment, not just for the fact that Minnesota doesn’t offer PHEV tax credits, but because White Bear Mitsubishi plants a tree for each vehicle test drive. Over 500 trees were planted in 2020 alone.

Learn more about White Bear Mitsubishi. To download the complete Recharge MN White Bear Mitsubishi case study, click here.

MassEVolves Spotlight: Boston University

Boston University (BU) is committed to meeting the climate action goals set forth by the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Through its Climate Action Plan, the University has also set its own robust targets to act on climate.

One important piece of BU’s Climate Action Plan is electrifying the University fleet. BU is committed to transitioning its fleet to electric and reducing direct emissions to zero by 2040. Working with a third party, the University conducted a study to identify suitable electric vehicle (EV) alternatives. By the end of fiscal year 2022, BU will pilot electric fleet vehicles and as departments request to replace vehicles, electric models will be given first priority.

The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) has played a crucial role in Boston University’s continued expansion of its community-focused EV charging facilities. Across its Charles River Campus and Medical Campus, BU has 12 dual head electric vehicle charging stations with an eight more being installed. With the increased demand for electric vehicles, members of the BU community are taking full advantage of the infrastructure as it expands on our campuses.

Boston University is proud to be an active participant in MassEVolves and to support a clean energy future in Massachusetts and beyond.

Learn more about Boston University. To download the complete MassEVolves Boston University case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

MassEVolves Spotlight: Hampshire College

Hampshire College offers free electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on campus to their community as a way to build and support the infrastructure required for large scale adoption of electric vehicles. EVs are a key part of the school’s longstanding commitment to sustainability.

Hampshire provides four 220-volt EV charging stations free to the community, powered partly by the college’s solar fields. There's a time limit of three hours, and employees can work together to make sure that all vehicles are able to be charged daily as needed.

Hampshire’s R.W. Kern Center is a model for what a sustainable, equitably built environment can be. Hampshire produces 100 percent of the building's energy with rooftop solar, treats its own wastewater, and maintains a nearby meadow of indigenous plants to host local wildlife.

“When people come to visit Hampshire College, we want them to see what a beautiful, accessible sustainable campus looks like,” says Sara Draper, director of the R.W. Kern Center. “For us, providing free electric vehicle charging on campus for students, employees, and visitors is a way that we as an organization can help build and support the infrastructure required for large scale adoption of electric vehicles.”

Some of Hampshire's other sustainability efforts include a bike share and repair program, an onsite campus farm and CSA, two large-scale solar fields with capacity to provide for all campus electrical needs, and a residential composting program. Many of these programs started as student projects or were championed by student groups. Over the next two years, Hampshire hopes to grow their charging capabilities, offer educational test drive events for the community, generate an annual sustainability report with a section on transportation, and transition campus fleet vehicles to electric, including the President’s personal vehicle.

“I've heard personally from staff that knowing that there are already chargers on campus is a big factor in them deciding to buy an electric vehicle,” says Sara. “We know our students will continue to innovate and advocate with us to build the future we need and we know that electric vehicles and sustainable transit are part of that future.”

Learn more about Hampshire College at hampshire.edu. To download the complete MassEVolves Hampshire College case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

MassEVolves Spotlight: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is an independent nonprofit, leading the way in ocean research, exploration and education. WHOI scientists and engineers are tackling some of the most challenging and important problems of our time. 

From climate change to plastic waste, to sustainable food and energy production, WHOI understands what is at stake and how we are connected to the ocean systems. 

“That’s why we need to do whatever we can to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere,” says Stephanie Madsen, Sustainability Coordinator for WHOI. 

WHOI has over 1,000 employees, two campuses, and 66 buildings in the small coastal town of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 2015, with the financial help of the Massachusetts EVIP Program, WHOI installed four electric vehicle (EV) chargers. Then with the help from Eversource’s EV Make Ready Program, we installed 4 more with the  capabilities of expanding to six additional charging stations. “We like to offer our staff innovative transportation options,” Stephanie says.  “Our philosophy has always been, ‘If we build, they will come.’” 

Since then, the number of EV drivers has doubled, and some staff commute regularly from Off Cape in EVs. For these accomplishments, WHOI was featured in Cape and Plymouth Business for their work with electric vehicles. 

To assist with further EV adoption, WHOI’s Sustainability Task Force will continue to offer EV fairs, test drive events, and informational lunch and learns in the future. In addition, the institution will begin the adoption of electric fleet vehicles and trucks, and will reinstate their Green Shuttle program.

“We are excited because researchers and staff can align with their mission to understand and protect our most critical resource, the ocean,” says Stephanie. “They can park and plug in, head into the lab to do their innovative and important work.”

Learn more about Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at whoi.edu. To download the complete MassEVolves Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

MassEVolves Spotlight: University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston)

University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) is passionate about electric vehicle (EV) advocacy, with an eye toward a more sustainable future. The university supports the adoption of sustainable transportation modes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier planet. 

UMass Boston announced a new project at the MassEVolves 2020 Recognition Event that combines solar and storage with EV charging: a 1,000-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the University’s parking garage, a 500-kilowatt lithium-ion battery system, and 11 EV charging stations. 

“We’re really interested in getting our EV chargers up and running,” says Transportation Demand Management Coordinator Daniel Scavongelli, “and then reaching out to our community members through marketing and events, such as Bike to Work Week and Transportation Awareness Days, to help guide and influence decisions regarding EV usage on campus. Additionally, we look forward to hosting MassEVolves events once campus life resumes.”

Currently, UMass Boston has a robust online outreach program through various channels including weekly emails, social media, newsletters and website interaction, and offers green transportation options to its students, faculty and staff.

UMass Boston collaborates and promotes green transit options working with the MA Leading By Example Program, Second Nature Climate Commitment as well as the UMass System Sustainability Policy and annual reporting. UMass Boston has been recognized annually as one of Princeton Review’s Green Colleges Campuses in the country since 2010.Learn more about the University of Massachusetts Boston at umb.edu. To download the complete MassEVolves University of Massachusetts Boston case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

MassEVolves Spotlight: Bard College at Simon’s Rock

“2020 was a big year for energy efficiency for Simon’s Rock, despite COVID challenges,” says Jason Maronde, Energy Manager for Bard College at Simon’s Rock. The College is finalizing Mass EVIP Grant funding for new electric vehicle chargers, four new Level 2 units at the Kilpatrick Athletic Center.

The education institution is currently conducting efforts to receive funding to purchase the first hybrid super duty truck in Berkshire County, a Ford F-250 that would be upfit to PHEV with technology provided by Massachusetts based XLFleet.

“Simon’s Rock is proud to be a part of MassEVolves, and proud to be a part of the future,” says Jason. “Someday electric vehicles will be everywhere. And it’s important that we now lay the groundwork for this bright future for everyone by installing electric vehicle chargers and promoting the cause wherever we go.” 

Together, MassEVolves and Simon’s Rock will produce an electric vehicle test drive event for their community when in-person events commence.Learn more about Bard College at Simon’s Rock at simons-rock.edu. To download the complete MassEVolves Bristol Community College case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

MassEVolves Spotlight: Bristol Community College

“Bristol is pleased to have collaborated with MassEVolves on the installation of ten new Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations on our Fall River campus,” says Joanne Bentley, Associate Vice President of Administration and Facilities at Bristol Community College. The charging stations are available free of charge to anyone in the community who has a free account with ChargePoint. 

The charging stations are the latest addition to a growing list of innovative technologies instituted by the college in its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and setting an example for other institutions to replicate. The college’s president has approved the replacement of current campus fleet vehicles with electric options.

Along with their electric vehicle charging stations, Bristol has an innovative 3.2 megawatt solar array spanning 800 parking spaces on five acres of its Fall River campus. The school’s award winning John J. Sprague Health and Science Building is the largest zero net energy classroom and science lab building in the Northeast and is LEED Platinum rated.

“Equally important is that we are educating our students in many areas of sustainability and renewable energy, including water technology, sustainable agriculture and offshore wind power technology,” says Joanne. “Bristol Community College remains committed to continuously learning and implementing new sustainable initiatives along with advancing innovative curriculums to prepare students to lead our region into a brighter more economically efficient tomorrow.”

Learn more about Bristol Community College at bristolcc.edu. To download the complete MassEVolves Bristol Community College case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

MassEVolves Spotlight: University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) has long been committed to a green campus and reducing its carbon emissions. The university installed its first electric vehicle (EV) chargers on campus a decade ago as part of that mission. 

Fast forward to 2020, and UMass Amherst has 40 Level 2 charging ports and 2 Level 3 charging ports, with the potential of additional Level 3 chargers  in the campus’s newest parking garage. 

With Level 2, “you’re looking at about a two hour charge per day” per vehicle, based on the average commute of our Faculty, Staff and Students, says William Watts, Fleet Manager for the campus. “Generally four people can charge their EV per day on each charge station port.  But it takes cooperative effort from everyone involved.”

Currently, we estimate that there are about 150 Electric Vehicles (EV’s) on campus between faculty, staff, students and campus vehicles. “That’s a conservative number,” he says. “These are also Public Access stations, so we also serve people in the community, and we have a lot of Umass alumni who have electric vehicles driving through the area and will stop off and top off their vehicles. We can see that from the zip codes information provided by where their ChargePoint card is registered.”

UMass Amherst hosts two EV seminars a year for its faculty, staff and students.  As part of that initiative, we held a successful Ride & Drive Event in 2019, with close to 250 participants and 60 cars. The school is hoping to resume these events in the future when it is safe to do so. 

MassEVolves has been “very helpful” over the years. “They help UMass Amherst host successful Ride & Drive events by organizing all the dealers, providing liability coverage, and helping publicize the event, thereby getting more people to the event,” MassEVolves further supports UMass Amherst’s Green Initiative by providing another ear and voice to the legislature. 

“The timely information and communication from MassEVolves has helped UMass Amherst move forward and provide EV infrastructure and Information to everyone on campus.  There is a large amount of information and programs available, but having an organization such as MassEVolves partner with us to make sure we are aware of all opportunities available for our campus is a great help.   

UMass Amherst is very enthusiastic about EV vehicles, and many faculty, staff and students are enthusiastic EV drivers. UMass Amherst continues to expand its EV Campus Fleet when it is appropriate.  EV vehicles provide “All the power you could ever expect. Nobody ever expects that it’s 100 percent torque at zero or 50 miles an hour in an electric car”. “They really are a lot of fun to drive, and that is a huge driving force behind UMass Amherst’s Ride and Drive Events, if you test drive one, you will want one.”

Learn more about the University of Massachusetts Amherst at: www.umass.edu. To download the complete MassEVolves UMass Dartmouth PDF case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.