Electric cars at UGA (paper)

Though UGA is off to a good start with its additional 33 electric buses in 2021, the university can expand on its sustainability efforts and goals toward electric transit by providing more electric car charging stations at cheaper costs.

For students who live off-campus or need transportation outside of the University of Georgia’s 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekly bus schedule, commuting to school comes with a price and accessibility issues. UGA parking drama has been the subject of multiple memes and criticisms, many of which are mentioned in Overheard at UGA, a Facebook group.

Students and faculty who drive electric vehicles face even greater obstacles. UGA should prioritize these problems in order to encourage sustainable personal transit as greener transportation initiatives gain traction.

With the retraction of electric car incentives on the state level, promoting them on a local level is even more essential for a cleaner, greener environment. Though UGA is off to a good start with its additional 33 electric buses in 2021, the university can expand its sustainability efforts and its goals toward electric transit by providing more electric car charging stations at cheaper costs.

Offering discounted parking passes for students with electric cars may push students to make the switch to electric, and more students driving electric cars would mean fewer emissions.

Currently, the only electric car charging stations on UGA’s campus are in the North, South and East campus parking decks. This limits the areas where students can park and charge electric cars, causing an even greater demand for the already-coveted parking passes for these decks. Rates for charging start at $0.75 for the first two hours and $1.50 for any additional hours. While these rates are cheaper than gas, a typical electric car can take up to eight hours to charge, making the rates still burdensome for students looking to drive electric.

Abigail Ventimiglia, a freshman health promotion major, plans on driving her electric vehicle to campus for the upcoming fall semester. She anticipates accessibility difficulties.

“Around campus, in any of the parking lots besides the parking decks, there are no charging stations available at all,” Ventimiglia said. “For the places with charging stations, the pay-per fee is too expensive to use every day.”

All-electric vehicles produce no direct emissions, and the energy used to charge the cars is cleaner, as electricity generation typically produces fewer emissions than burning gasoline or diesel. As the United States decarbonizes electricity generation, emissions for existing electric vehicles will fall along with manufacturing emissions for new electric vehicles.

“Electric cars are just really easy,” Ventimiglia said. “I don’t have to get my oil changed or worry about the sound of my motor because it’s really quiet and environmentally friendly, too.”

If UGA wishes to take a pragmatic approach in fighting climate change, supporting electric car use is a vital part of any plan.