Students: vehicle charging stations unlikely to change culture

By Morgan Lewis

Across campus, new electric vehicle chargers have been installed to help promote more sustainable fuel alternatives.

According to USD’s Office of Sustainability website, 28 Blink electric vehicle charging stations have been installed across campus as part of USD’s sustainability efforts. The EV chargers were installed as part of a no-cost contract with ECOtality to provide electric vehicle chargers to the university community in order to help inform the local and student community about alternative fuel.

The website also stated that the partnership with USD and ECOtality secured more than $300,000 in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This money was used for the installation and preparation of the electric vehicle chargers across USD’s campus. The locations of the EV chargers include the main parking structure, the Manchester Village garage, the Western parking lot and the Alcala Vista Apartments.

The Office of Sustainability, which is responsible for all initiatives to support a more green and eco-friendly campus for the USD student body, took on the preparation and installation of the new EV chargers. According to a school-wide email sent out by parking services, the electric vehicle chargers cost the school virtually nothing.

Electric vehicle ownership has skyrocketed in recent years, especially in California. According to the US Department of Energy, as of October 2012, the United States had 13,967 public charging units, of which 3,472 were located in California. With this shift in environmental attitude, USD decided to join in the efforts to provide sustainable energy for students.

Nevertheless, some students are skeptical that the USD community will actually make the switch from gas to electric vehicles.

“I do not think it is very practical at all,” sophomore Jimmy Beh said of the chargers. “It is hard to see anyone on this campus turning in their BMW for a Toyota Prius. I understand why the school wants to promote sustainable energy and fuel, but I highly doubt that anyone will make the switch [from gas to electric].”

Senior Ian Cruz agreed with this, though he is more accepting of the program.

“I am not opposed to the new chargers on campus, especially since it did not cost USD anything to install,” Cruz said. “It could have an effect in the distant future, but it is ridiculous to think that it will trade in what they are driving for a more fuel efficient vehicle just because the school installed these chargers.”

Even though the school did not pay for these chargers, senior Bryan Kiernan thinks that these chargers are useful to those that may already have an electric vehicle, but it will be hard to find anyone that will make the switch.

“Installing the chargers does help the school’s already immaculate image,” senior Bryan Kiernan said. “But even with the cost being nothing, the chargers won’t make the students more aware of sustainable energy, and it will definitely not make students switch to electric vehicles.”

While it may not be the popular consensus among USD students, not everyone is against the idea of making the switch to alternative fuel. Even though he won’t make the switch over to electrical vehicle while he attends USD, junior Zane Koeller believes it is important to have an awareness about sustainable fuel.

“If I could afford a new car, I would definitely make the switch to a more fuel efficient vehicle,” Koeller said. “It is cheaper fuel and very eco-friendly. There may not be a sudden change for students to switch to electric cars, but installing the chargers is a step in the right direction.”

The opinions among students of USD’s installation of the EV chargers may vary greatly, but it will take time to see if it will change the attitudes of alternative fuel among students.