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Dec. 10, 2018

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There’s a new addition to Wilfrid Laurier University’s workforce and it operates like nothing else at the university.

The 2019 Chevy Bolt is Laurier’s first-ever university-owned fully electric vehicle (EV). It joined the fleet of service vehicles earlier this fall and will be used by the Facilities Operations team, which manages and maintains campus heating, cooling and electrical systems. The acquisition, supported by Laurier’s Sustainability Office, aligns with several measures in the university’s Sustainability Action Plan, including the phase-out of fuel-powered service vehicles.

“This is a great first step in our commitment to adopting a fleet that runs on clean energy,” says Dan Graham, manager of Facilities Operations. “We are optimistic that as technology improves in electric pick-up trucks and vans, we can begin to acquire those as well.”

The Facilities Operation’s team will use the EV for travel between Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

While the four-door, compact hatchback may look like a ‘small’ step, its features make a big impression.

The Bolt is undoubtedly efficient, getting close to 380 kilometres on a single charge – the highest range among similar electric models currently on the market. It accelerates to 100 km/h in under seven seconds and, through regenerative braking, the battery begins to recharge when the brakes are applied. With only 16.9 cubic feet of interior space, it also offers a surprisingly spacious ride, a big bonus for electrical operations coordinator Adam Clarkson, 6’3”, who is often behind the wheel

When the EV is at Laurier’s Brantford campus, it can recharge at the new charging station in the Charlotte Street parking lot.

The station accommodates three EVs and is equipped with level-two chargers manufactured by FLO. Opened in early November, the Brantford campus station is the second one installed by Laurier’s Sustainability Office. The first EV charging station, located in the parking lot behind Lazaridis Hall in Waterloo, opened in the summer of 2017.

For the Sustainability Office’s manager Stephanie MacPhee, expanding EV charging capabilities to the Brantford campus is a natural move as the greenest university in Ontario.

“We are working hard to build a culture of sustainability at Laurier,” says MacPhee. “Our faculty, staff and students have embraced this, which contributes to building a more sustainable university and future together.”

MacPhee says the Brantford campus charging stations also contribute to the network of charging infrastructure across Ontario, reducing ‘range anxiety’ – the fear of running out of battery power – among EV drivers at Laurier and beyond.

“We are seeing an increased demand for EV charging stations across our campuses,” says MacPhee. “We want to do everything possible to support the adoption of EVs and make it easier for members of the Laurier community to choose sustainable transportation options.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging Station Incentive Program funded the new charging stations and requires them to be available to only Laurier employees during work hours. The general public may access the charging station after hours by purchasing a visitor-parking pass.

To use Laurier’s EV charging stations, drivers will need to download FLO’s app and create an account. Other apps such as PlugShare allow drivers to locate charging stations on their route. Faculty and staff interested in acquiring parking permits can contact Parking Services at parking@wlu.ca.

Regulations for Using the EV Charging Stations at Laurier's Brantford Campus

  • The EV charging station is reserved for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
  • Electric vehicles must be actively charging while occupying the space.
  • A valid monthly permit for the Charlotte Street lot is required. For non-permit holders, a flat fee can be paid on exit to access the charging station.
  • There is no additional fee to use the charging station but a FLO account is required. Download the FLO app to create an account.
  • The EV charging stations cannot be used for loading and unloading, temporary parking or as a pick-up or drop-off area.
  • Overnight parking is not permitted at the EV charging station.
  • Unauthorized vehicles parked in the EV charging station or failure to comply with campus parking regulations may result in a ticket and or towing of your vehicle.
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