St. Olaf College | News

EV charging station comes to campus

Sarah Hansen is an EV enthusiast and staff member at St. Olaf College.

EV charging station
The EV charging station at St. Olaf College enforces a four-hour time limit.

A new charging station for electric vehicles (EV) made its debut on campus this summer, just in time for the Fall 2019 semester.

The EV station is located in the far corner of the parking lot at Buntrock Commons, near Kildahl Hall, and includes two dedicated parking spots, two quick-charge Type 1 chargers, and a covered outlet.

Charging at the EV station is completely free — just disconnect the charger from its dock and plug it into your vehicle. Most cars will fully charge within the mandated four-hour time limit.

The campus-wide commitment to clean energy is one of the reasons I chose to work at St. Olaf.

The campus-wide commitment to clean energy is one of the reasons why I chose to work at St. Olaf. The iconic wind turbine, the 40-acre solar garden, a LEED platinum certified science building, a focus on composting and plastic reduction, plus the 100% carbon-free electrical power that makes this campus run all clearly demonstrate how St. Olaf is motivated to help reduce global climate change as an aspect of its mission to form a globally engaged community.

By investing in an EV charging station, St. Olaf is supporting clean driving habits for all of its faculty, staff, students, and guests. For me personally, it’s wonderful and essential to have an employer who shares this value to help reduce the level of carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Electric vehicle charging at St. Olaf College.
The new EV station in use outside of Buntrock Commons.

Going electric has been a priority for me since I first read about mail-order electric conversion kits in high school (a *cough* long time ago). Thankfully, I didn’t need to convert a gas-run sedan into an electric vehicle because EVs made their commercial comeback a decade ago, they’re more affordable than ever thanks to the secondhand market, and charging stations are becoming more prevalent. I feel confident that the EV is here to stay, and Assistant Director of Facilities Gregg Menning has assured me that more EV stations will be installed down the road as demand increases.

One clear benefit of the new EV station for me has been a huge reduction in gas consumption for my plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). I commute 45 minutes, twice a day, five days a week, from my home in Red Wing, Minnesota, to work in Northfield. Last year I visited the gas station once a week, at minimum, and now that I’m able to fully charge my Chevrolet Volt on campus, I’m pumping gas about twice a month.

So, the next time you come to the Hill, feel free to park your EV next to mine.