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Electric Vehicles Will Get a Charge at St. Lawrence University

CANTON — Drivers of electric vehicles will soon be able to recharge their environmentally friendly wheels on St. Lawrence University’s campus.

In partnership with National Grid, St. Lawrence will host one ChargePoint Networked Charging Station with two electrical nozzles, providing electric vehicle (EV) owners the opportunity to recharge their vehicles while parked on campus.

Kathryn Mullaney, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, said installing the charging station demonstrates the University’s commitment to creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly campus.

“St. Lawrence has signed the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and we have committed to becoming climate neutral by 2040,” Mullaney said. “This is another small step for us to reach that goal.”

According to University Assistant Director for Facilities Operations Richard Scott, the charging station will be located near the Newell Athletic Center. Two parking spaces will be dedicated for use by electric vehicles only, and owners can “refill” their electrical vehicles free of charge. Installation of the charging station is expected to be completed July 1.

Mullaney said 90 percent of the costs of the project will be funded by National Grid, while just 10 percent will be funded by the University. The total cost of the project will be about $4,000. National Grid received funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for the project. National Grid will pay for the maintenance and repair of the charging station while St. Lawrence will pay for the electricity, which Mullaney said will amount to a very nominal expense for the University.

National Grid touted the public-private partnership as well as the environmental aspects of the charging station.

“The collaboration among NYSERDA, ChargePoint, and National Grid is a model of a public-private partnership working for New York State and the environment,” said Melanie Littlejohn, regional executive of National Grid’s Central New York division.  “Plug-in electric vehicles are more than just a new way to get around. They’re a major part of a cleaner, more efficient transportation future. At National Grid, we’re committed to making this new technology more viable and cost-effective for ourselves and our customers, and pleased to help make it happen in Northern New York and across New York State.”

According to ChargePoint, the average internal combustion engine gets about 24 miles to the gallon and emits 19.2 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of gasoline used.  Electric vehicles, meanwhile, travel about 5 miles per kilowatt. Generating one kilowatt of electricity emits about 1 pound of carbon dioxide (or 5 pounds of carbon dioxide per 25 miles traveled). So, one could say that EVs are nearly 4 times more environmentally friendly than gasoline vehicles.

Mullaney indicated that usage meters will be placed on the station, which will allow the University to quantify the amount of gas reduction as a result drivers taking advantage of the service.

“The electric car is still very much a second car for most because there are few places other than their homes where they can charge get a charge,” Mullaney said. “We’re starting to see municipalities install charging station, and now we’ll have one for people to use as well.”