Virginia Commonwealth University has installed extra electric vehicle charging stations to parking lots on its Monroe Park as well as MCV campuses as part of its continuous efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The university has for several years had four charging stations for several years, two on each campus, but Josh Stone, VCU’s director in charge of the parking and transportation services, claimed the units did not offer any data on usage.
“We saw individuals parking and plugged in,” Stone explained. “But we didn’t get anything else.” We don’t know how long they’ve been hooked in or even how much electricity they’ve consumed.”
Electric vehicle usage has risen in recent years, and Stone believed that more charging points at VCU might be required. According to university Redcap research on electric car usage done in February 2021, there is a desire for more charging stations, with up to 100 electric vehicles using VCU parking facilities on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. The majority of the events occur on the MCV Campus, however, there is also electric vehicle traffic on the Monroe Park Campus’s Broad Street parking deck.
VCU constructed seven new charging stations during the previous month, 5 on the MCV Campus and 2 on the Monroe Park Campus, based on survey findings and with expenses reduced via a Dominion Energy rebate program. Each station now has 2 ports (the four previous stations each had one), bringing the total number of vehicles that may be charged in the platforms from four to fourteen. The biggest benefit of the additional charging stations, according to Stone, is that the institution now has a better understanding of how each station is used.
“We receive an entire back-office software package, which is fantastic for tracking charges,” Stone explained. “We keep track of how long they’re used for.” We can keep track of how much energy is consumed. We can monitor our environmental impact.”
The installation is in line with VCU’s long-term carbon reduction strategy. The institution would like to see more alternative vehicles and forms of transportation used. VCU has also bought 2 new electric vehicles, in addition to the new charging stations. The new stations as well as vehicles are part of an ongoing effort to increase public transportation use, offer a secure and bikeable encounter for employees, students, and visitors, and enhance pedestrian safety across campus.
“It’s all about setting a standard for us,” Stone explained. VCU needs to develop its infrastructure for electric cars, according to Stone, because their use is likely to increase over the next decade. According to the International Council on the Clean Energy, there are currently 315,000 electric cars on the road in the U.S., with that number increasing at a rate of roughly 2% per year. However, the availability of infrastructure, such as charging stations, limits the growth of electric vehicles.