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USF electric car owners get a boost


Electric vehicle owners on the USF St. Petersburg campus will soon charge their cars in half the time of sitting through a normal class. Tampa students, however, may still wait longer for a full charge. 

The Tampa Bay area is receiving seven new fast-charging stations that are capable of fully charging a vehicle in 30 minutes. One charging station is expected on the USF St. Petersburg (USFSP) campus next month.

The Nissan Quick Chargers are designed for short-term, fast charging, and are compatible with the Nissan Leaf, Tesla S and Kia Soul, as well as Volkswagen and BMW electric vehicle models.

The machine costs $30,000 to manufacture and $5,750 to install. 

Customers of the public stations will pay 30 cents per kilowatt used, or roughly $9 for every 100 miles of driving for the Nissan Leaf.

“The new charging stations are free and open to the public, however the vehicles must be moved once fully charged as signage indicates,” said Jennifer Winter, the USFSP sustainability coordinator.

USFSP’s charging station was donated by Nissan and Duke Energy. Duke and the USFSP College of Engineering will monitor them to further their sustainability research.

“These level-three stations are the equivalent of our modern-day gas stations. It allows you to go park, charge and go where you want in a reasonable amount of time,” said USF senior John Pilz. “The charging stations at (USF Tampa) are designed for commuter students who are expected to be on campus for four hours.”

In 2010, USF president Judy Genshaft signed the university’s Climate Action Plan, which included a set of goals designed to eliminate the university’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“This project that they are undertaking at USFSP was a long way toward making it more viable for students to have an electric car and in addition contributing to the school’s goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions,” Pilz said.

Last semester, Pilz submitted a proposal to the Student Green Energy Fund to gain funding for the installation of additional electric vehicle charging stations on USF’s Tampa campus.

Currently, there are two charging stations available for the 27 registered electric vehicles on the Tampa campus. 

It takes them roughly four hours to fully charge an electric car. According to readout from the charging stations during last year’s spring semester, the stations were used at practically any given moment during the school day.

Pilz’s proposal was approved last semester and the charging station installation will be funded by the Student Green Energy Fund.

Four additional charging stations will be installed on the Tampa campus within the next month. Though newer models, they are not the model able to charge cars in 30 minutes. They are, however, estimated to triple the current charging capacity.

“Every little thing we do for sustainability is encouraging sustainable alternatives for transportation,” Winter said. “(It’s) increasing our rating as an environmentally sustainable institution.”