UTEP adds vehicle charging stations

University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso took another step toward environmental sustainability in May when it commissioned for service 10 electric vehicle charging stations on campus for students, staff, faculty and visitors.

The stations, located at the Sun Bowl and Schuster parking garages and the Mike Loya Academic Services Building, became operational last week, university officials said.

The initial 10 220-volt stations are part of a $256,000 Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) grant to the City of El Paso in partnership with UTEP that was approved in December 2009. SECO also approved last June an additional $98,000 grant for the University to purchase additional stations that should be installed around campus before the end of the year.

“We’re moving forward with sustainability,” said Paul Stresow, director of UTEP’s Parking and Transportation Services. “Several other campuses in the UT System are doing this, but we’re at the crest of the wave in change and technology, which is where we should be as a university.”

Initially, parking permit holders with special radio frequency identification cards can power up their vehicles at no additional charge, but other procedures are being considered, Stresow said. He added that information about how to use the charging stations will be added to the parking website by mid-June.

The city and the university are doing their part to introduce the infrastructure needed as more electric vehicles become available, said Robert Moss, assistant vice president of UTEP’s Environmental Health and Safety Office. He said the value of the investment will become more evident as time goes on and the price of gasoline changes.

The university’s SECO grant was written by Ralph Martinez, Ph.D., research professor and director of energy initiatives with UTEP’s Center for Environmental Resource Management; Eric D. Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of industrial, manufacturing and systems engineering, and Jorge Villalobos, Ph.D., director of Facilities Services.

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