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K-State Today

January 30, 2013



Charge your ride: University installs electric vehicle charging station

By Communications and Marketing

Drivers of electric vehicles can plug in at Kansas State University.

Parking services has installed an electric vehicle charging station in the university's parking garage.

"It's as easy as plugging in a toaster," said Darwin Abbott, director of parking services. "The station offers convenience in a covered location that is protected from the elements. We expect more drivers to take advantage of the station in the future as more people become aware of it and the use of electric vehicles increases."

The charging station is located immediately behind the parking services office near the west entrance of the parking garage at 17th Street and Anderson Avenue. The space is reserved for electric vehicles and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Drivers can sign up for a ChargePoint access card at http://www.mychargepoint.com and can use the card to charge an electric vehicle at the university's station, along with ChargePoint stations in more than 14 countries. The charging station also accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express RFID credit cards.

Users of the university's station will be charged $3 on their card for the first hour and $1 an hour after that. Those without a parking garage access card also will be charged the hourly parking garage rate.

"We don't want people staying there 24/7, so we hope this motivates users to move their vehicles once they're finished charging them so that other drivers may use the space," Abbott said.

Campbell, Calif.-based ChargePoint Inc. donated the station, which was installed with help from LilyPad EV of Lenexa, and Overland Park-based Black & Veatch. Installation funding was provided by the Consortium for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, Black & Veatch, and parking services.

The station is part of a larger effort to develop solar-powered charging stations on campus, a project headed by Larry Erickson, professor of chemical engineering, and Anil Pahwa, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

A foundation for Black & Veatch awarded the university a $200,000 grant for the project in 2012. Faculty and students across disciplines will use the charging stations for research. For instance, Gary Brase, associate professor of psychology, plans to study the decision-making processes of consumers in regard to electric vehicles.

"Having a charging station on campus allows us to look at issues like awareness, perceptions and larger patterns of changes in attitudes and decisions," he said.