Electric car showing significant savings at Black Hills State

A new electric car at Black Hills State University is saving 60 percent on transportation costs, according to Eva Chase, BHSU coordinator of sustainability.

“When looking at our general electricity costs compared with the fuel we would consume for those same miles, we’re saving around 60 percent on costs with our electric vehicle,” says Chase.

BHSU recently installed a charging station for the electric Chevy Bolt near the Life Sciences Building on campus. The Bolt arrived on campus in May.

Chase said the BHSU Bolt has 1,657 miles so far and that faculty, staff, and students on university business use the vehicle. Facility workers, for example, have used the vehicle to travel back and forth to Rapid City for maintenance at BHSU-RC.

“In addition to cost-savings, we bought this vehicle to show the feasibility and efficiency of electric cars in everyday life. Those driving it are not vehicle experts. You just get in and drive,” says Chase.

Greg Krajewski, veterans resource coordinator at BHSU, drives to BHSU-Rapid City at least once a week to serve student veterans at that location. He has driven the Bolt six times.

“We’re trying something new at BHSU with this vehicle. I am 6 foot 3 inches, and can fit in the car very easily which surprised me. It has an easy hook up and there are locations listed on the key fob where you can charge it up,” says Krajewski.

Charging the vehicle is just like plugging into a gas pump, says Chase. When someone pulls the car back into the lot, there is a QR code attached to the key. The driver scans the QR code and then plugs it in like a normal gas pump.

Chase said users can download the “Greenlots” mobile app to monitor the charging progress of their car and see how long it will take to be fully charged. She said the Bolt takes about four hours to charge.

“In the three months we’ve had the vehicle, we’ve saved 65 gallons of gasoline and 1,281 pounds of greenhouse gases” says Chase.

BHSU, which has emerged as a leader in sustainability initiatives, offers an online master’s degree in sustainability, one of the only programs of its kind in the U.S. Learn more at www.BHSU.edu/sustainability

About BHSU Sustainability Efforts
BHSU was the first South Dakota University to join the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, a consortium of 400 universities across the nation dedicated to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. The University has many “green” initiatives including a campus garden, wind turbine, a recycling program, solar panels and utilizes many other energy efficiencies. BHSU students are actively embracing sustainability in their classrooms with a national grant funded solar cell research project, business plans for an innovative mobile recycling business, and art projects and lesson plans that incorporate sustainability aspects.