Clean Transportation

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To complement the rising interest in electric cars and other vehicles (also known as EVs), communities are acting fast to get ahead of the growing industry. Ohio University’s Athens Campus is already home to 10 charging stations in five locations, with several Leaf and Volt vehicles added to Ohio University’s Office of Transportation and Parking Services fleet.

Students, faculty, staff and community members at Ohio University can charge their electric vehicles at designated spots, in the same way they would normally park. EV drivers on campus simply need to create an account with the ParkMobile smart phone app to pay for parking at charging stations on an hourly basis.

In addition to electric vehicles, Ohio University is working to address a variety of alternative transportation options on campus.

“There are a number of alternative transportation options in Athens County that promote healthy, active lifestyles while saving money and cutting back on carbon emissions,” said Annie Laurie Cadmus, director of sustainability at Ohio University. “The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is a fantastic commuting option for bicyclists and the Bobcat Pass program allows anyone with a University ID card to ride Athens Public Transit routes for free.”

The local efforts to increase accessibility and awareness about electric vehicles should also help Athens County residents cut back on their fuel costs and associated emissions. For instance, Athens Mayor Steve Patterson recently announced the City of Athens should be receiving three to four electric vehicle chargers from Nissan’s electric vehicle division.

“This gift will help educate the community about the viability of driving electric in Athens, Ohio, and can boost the region’s eco-tourism efforts by bringing in statewide advocates of EV ownership,” said Mat Roberts of UpGrade Athens County.

Less than a year ago, Ohio University Credit Union announced its Hybrid and Electric Vehicle (EV) 0% Loan Program. This program offers a 0% interest auto loan to use towards the purchase of an all-electric or hybrid car. The loan is still available to use on over 60 models, from standard and plug-in hybrids to cars that run solely on battery power. The program was initially spearheaded by UpGrade Athens County, a project of UpGrade Ohio, in hopes to connect this program to larger objectives that aim to transition the energy economy of southeast Ohio.

In response to the increased number of EV owners in Athens County, the EV Cruisers Club was established. The club connects EV owners, and potential owners, to one another, allowing them the opportunity to teach each other about the purchasing process for an electric vehicle and general issues surrounding EV ownership.

“The members discuss topics such as getting the most out of charges or volunteering to help expand charging infrastructure across the entire US-33 corridor,” Roberts said.

Ohio University employees who want to learn more about EV ownership or who wish to participate in the EV Cruisers Club can inquire about support and membership by emailing ev@upgradeohio.org.

As Ohio University works to revise its Sustainability Plan, all members of the campus community are invited to provide their input on transportation-related efforts during the Wednesday, Oct. 19, Sustainable Ohio University Leaders (SOUL) meeting, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., in Baker 239. Unable to attend? Email sustainability@ohio.edu.

This article was provided by Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability in partnership with UpGrade Athens County.