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RIC Installs EV Charging Station 

Sharon Hellman, a Henry Barnard School Spanish teacher, uses the EV Charging Station at the Keefe Transportation Center

Sharon Hellman, a Henry Barnard School Spanish teacher, uses the EV Charging Station at the Keefe Transportation Center

When Rhode Island College recently installed the first electronic vehicle  (EV) charging station on campus, Sharon Hellman, a Henry Barnard School Spanish teacher, was first in line to plug-in.

Hellman has owned a hybrid/plug-in Prius for five months and before that she owned a Prius hybrid, which she bought in 2010 in order to save money on gas and to reduce her carbon footprint.

Her car runs on electricity for 12 to 13 miles before it switches to running on gas, which is just enough time to get her home from work. Since she can charge her car overnight at home, and now charge it again on campus, her work commute is gasoline free.

“I may not have to fill my gas tank this summer. I’m going to be watching to see that,” Hellman said. “It’s insane how little gas (hybrid cars) use. It’s wonderful to have (the station here.) My ride home will be cleaner, thanks to RIC’s green initiative.”

The EV charging station is located at the Keefe Transportation Center. It is part of an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for recharging plug-in electric vehicles including all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids like Hellman’s. The station also is part of Carriuolo’s presidential focus on creating a more environmentally sustainable college campus.

“Electric cars eliminate the carbon and soot and everything that gets into the atmosphere that we breathe,” said Jim Murphy, RIC director of sustainability. “That covers many different areas in terms of not having to transport gas or oil and the elimination of pollution that is a result of using fossil fuels.”

The EV station is part of President Carriuolo’s vision for the Keefe Transportation Center, which opened in November 2012. The station is the final component for the center, which also includes a bus shelter, Zipcars and rental bicycles. The center was constructed to provide shelter for commuters in inclement weather and to decrease the number of cars on campus. Murphy said the college will also soon have a plug-in Zipcar available.

The shelter was developed through the collaboration of RIC and the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT). Richard Gouse, president of NEIT, asked architectural students at the institute to take on the challenge of designing a bus shelter for RIC.

The students were grouped into teams, and each team presented their designs before a RIC panel. Once a final design was selected, Saccoccio & Associates, an architectural firm in Cranston, RI, agreed to refine the specs pro bono.

RIC’s Green campus efforts include recycling promotion, energy efficient lighting, resident hall LEED certification, green housekeeping practices and participating with ENERNOC, an energy solutions provider, in a demand response program by voluntarily reducing electric demand during power events called by regional electricity manager ISO-New England.