The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in partnership with Nissan USA installed Massachusetts’ first level 3 electric vehicle fast charger on Tuesday. The installation of the charger, which is currently only compatible with the Nissan Leaf, makes UMass one of a growing number of universities that are experimenting with ways to increase the use of electric modes of transportation on campus.
In addition to installing the level 3 fast charger on the campus, the car company has agreed to offer its Nissan Leaf to faculty and students at the same price paid by the auto manufacturer’s employees.
“We publicized the [reduced price] program and had a ride and drive event to generate interest,” Daniel Fitzgibbons told American School & University. The chargers and discounted purchase price are a part of the university’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Fitzgibbons said. The school has set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
In an effort to meet that goal, the university hopes to increases the number of electric vehicles on campus with the installation of the level 3 charger, which allows for an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes. Right now the campus has about 50 electric vehicles on campus. About 20 of those belong to students and employees who drive to campus to each day. The remainder are campus-owned vehicles like shuttles, Fitzgibbons said.
The Nissan Leaf is currently the only car that can utilize the level 3 charger, but other models are expected to begin using an adapter for fast charging within the next year. In addition, the campus is also installing four level 2 chargers later this year. Those units can charge a car in 4-5 hours.
Among other universities to install electric chargers are Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Clarkson University, funded by a grant from the state of New York, installed an electric car charger on its campus last Fall. Georgetown University installed two electric vehicle-charging stations last year.