A July 19 editorial was headlined "Charging stations needed at the U". We, in Parking and Transportation Services, could not agree more. That is why we increased the electric vehicle charging capacity on campus by 250 percent last year. We added 20 vehicle charging stations bringing the total number on campus to 33. We are proud to say that UMN is a leader in the Big Ten on electric car charging infrastructure.
It is true that the vast majority of the charging stations are in University parking facilities, and there is a cost to park in those lots or ramps. However, it is also true that once an electric vehicle is in a lot or ramp, there is no additional fee for using the charging station. For example, the cost-conscious electric vehicle driver can park on campus all day in Lot 37 or the Maroon Lot for $4 and plug into a charging station at no extra cost. That means parking for an entire day and a full charge for a vehicle costs less than a medium mocha at a local coffee shop.
From an infrastructure perspective, each charging station costs between $8,000 and $10,000 to purchase and install. The electricity cost for all 33 on campus stations came to $4,000 for the first seven months of this year (that’s for 34MWh used). Those costs come out of the Parking and Transportation Services budget and are reduced whenever possible by state and federal grants.
The U’s chargers were installed in high-demand locations to maximize their use. Approximately 4,230 charging sessions have been logged in the last year. For more information on charging locations, visit z.umn.edu/recharge.
Ross Allanson, Director of Parking Transportation Services, University of Minnesota
Editor’s Note: This letter has been edited slightly for grammar and style. The previous title for this letter to the editor was changed as it overemphasized the importance of a budget increase.