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Increase in electric car chargers continues

Photo by Rachel Stern

Rollins added three on- campus electric vehicle charging stations in Rollins Garage, with two more to come once the Wellness Center parking lot is reconstructed.

The increase is due to high student and faculty demand for the three electric vehicle charging stations already installed in the Suntrust Parking Garage.

All stations are free to use and available to students, faculty, staff, and registered visitors.

Rollins Garage on Ollie Avenue has room for six more charging units, but whether the space will be utilized that way will be up to demand.

Eric Graveling, lead electrician at Rollins, said the Wellness Center was chosen a new charging spot because it has a “high visibility,” and Rollins wishes to promote the use of electric vehicles. This is also why Rollins offers the charging ports for free.

“Prior to the new stations being installed, the demand on our three ports in the Suntrust Garage was very high at well over 100 sessions per month,” said Graveling. “This is comprised of about 30 different drivers/ cars each month as well, so it’s not just a couple of individuals parking. The chargers here were almost always in use during normal work hours.”

Lee Lines, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies, approves of the additional charging stations: “It’s great that there is such a high local demand for electric vehicle charging stations, and even better that Rollins is taking the lead in adding more stations. A well- developed network of charging stations is a key incentive for people to purchase these vehicles.”

The three new chargers placed in Rollins Garage cost a total of $4,000, which includes the chargers’ $3,000 price tag and the $1,000 labor and material cost.

While there are more advanced (and four times more expensive) charging units that set charging fees and analytics, Rollins did not install those units in Rollins Garage so that they remain accessible to students.

The two-port charger that will be offered at the Wellness Center will cost a total of $7,600: $7,200 for the charger and $400 for labor and materials.

According to Graveling, the charger’s higher cost is due to the model’s potential to charge fees and become monetized in the future.

Monetizing chargers is Rollins’ long-term goal for publicly accessible locations, including the Wellness Center parking lot and Suntrust Parking Garage.

The three ports in the Suntrust Garage charge an idle fee of a dollar each hour that the vehicle remains plugged in after reaching its full charge. However, there is a two hour “buffer” phase for the owner to move their vehicle before the fee is applied.

These fees are in place due to high demand for the charging stations. The stations at the Wellness Center might also include this idle fee, but the idea is still being discussed.

Students can use a ChargePoint app on their mobile devices to avoid paying to charge their vehicles overnight in the Suntrust Garage. The app links to a charging station and alerts users when their vehicle is fully charged.

Though data is not yet reliable due to the new Rollins Garage stations only having been open for a month (and since they do not offer analytics), Graveling said that some of the demand has successfully shifted to Rollins Garage.

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