Electric Cars Can 'Fuel Up' at UMD

Posted at: 03/15/2013 5:36 PM
Updated at: 03/16/2013 1:15 AM
By: Travis Dill

UMD has built energy-saving buildings, but on Friday they unveiled a smaller piece of green technology on campus, an electric car charging station.

It is Duluth's first car charging station, and former U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar pulled the cloth off the device Friday morning.

UMD's Sustainability Coordinator Mindy Granley said the station fits with the university's mission.

“As we have early adopters of electric vehicle technology we wanted to be able to provide a space for them to charge on our campus,” Granley said.

A grant from the Charge Point company made the charging station free-of-charge for the university, but it has not been activated yet. UMD officials said the ground must thaw before they can wire it in.

Granley said the university will use the charging station for some electric grounds keeping vehicles, and she hopes it will lead to more electric vehicles in the Northland.

“Providing that infrastructure for people that want EVs is important. It helps people make that choice and feel secure about driving around and not running out of batteries,” Granley said.

The electric vehicles are making their way to the Northland. Tom Pederson said Kolar Chevrolet has sold a few of the fully electric Chevy Volts.

“We've got customers that haven't put gas in for six months. Kind of nice to be able to go to work and not have to talk about the price of gas,” Pederson said.

He said the mid-size car can go 50 miles before needing a charge, and it's gas engine can charge the batteries for trips up to 400 miles. He said charging the car at home costs about $40 a month on an electric bill.

UMD officials said they will monitor the usage of the charging station. Officials said if there is enough demand the university may install more charging stations.