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Monday, October 3, 2022

More Than 50 Car Charging Ports to Be Added on Campus

By Carlos CordovaOctober 3, 2022

By the end of 2023, CSUF plans to add 52 electric charging ports throughout campus parking lots, bringing its total number of stations to 100. 

There are currently 358 electric vehicles registered with CSUF, with only 48 charging stations to recharge them. Many of these stations, however, are either broken, waitlisted or occupied by gas-powered vehicles, leaving students and staff that need those stations frustrated. CSUF is looking to alleviate this issue by adding more charging stations. 

“We’re going to have that many more people being able to do a cleaner commute, with the assurance that they can find a charge to get to and from their next destination,” said Elissa Thomas, field operations and transportation demand manager.

Thomas said the new set of charging stations will be placed along Yorba Linda Drive in Lot G down to Stadium Way. 

From Aug. 22 to Sept. 22, over 3,900 charging sessions have taken place on campus, saving almost 6,000 gallons of gas, according to data provided by ChargePoint, CSUF’s main charging station provider.

CSUF also offers a waitlist system through the ChargePoint App for students who are not able to find a charging station when they arrive at school. Students can reserve a space and once they are next in line, they have 20 minutes to move their vehicle to their reserved station. 

Donita Green, a first year pre-medical student, expressed her frustrations towards the waitlist system.

“The biggest issue is the waitlist system they have activated. Often the portals are empty, nobody is here, but you can’t charge on any of them because they are being put on hold from cell phones because of that system, there are days where I don’t get to charge at all while I’m here,” Green said.

Green commutes an hour and a half for four days a week. Like many students, Green relies on being able to charge her car on campus to save money.

“The waitlist system is probably something that does not work well here just because of the fact that when someone goes on a waitlist and goes to class, they can’t come back and actually move their vehicle. So maybe that needs to be deactivated,” Green said.

Thomas said students stuck in class have no other option but to “snooze” or skip their place in line and wait until the next available spot is open. 

Apart from waitlisting, another issue is the number of out of order charging stations blocked off with “No Parking” signs.

“The ones that we do have need to be serviced because it doesn’t matter how many you have if half of them do not work, ” Green said. 

Thomas said that the Parking and Transportation Department has requested that ChargePoint come out and service the broken stations, but it has taken longer than expected due to supply chain issues. 

For those in desperate need of a charge, 65 electric outlets are installed at the southern top of Lot A and the Eastside Parking Structure to allow drivers to charge their cars throughout the day, though drivers must provide their own Level 1 charging cable. 

Charging stations are classified on a three tier system based on how much power is provided.

Level 1 offers a trickle charge of five mile range per hour, while Level 2 chargers offer up to 28 miles depending on the car. The Level 3, or DCFC stations seen by Mihaylo Hall, can provide up to 80% battery life within 40 minutes. 

As of Oct. 2, out of the 25 Level 2 charging stations that sit at the entrance of the university, five of them do not work. 

Adding more stations is part of a larger sustainable strategy the campus is laying out, said Michael Lotito, chief engineer and director of plant operations at CSUF. 

“Our goals for on campus vehicles is to electrify the whole fleet,” Lotito said. “We’re somewhere between 65 and 75% electric right now with our service vehicles and as we go to replace the older vehicles, we’re trying to get as many electric vehicles as we can,” he said.

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