You might have noticed more electric vehicles on the road these days – perhaps you’re driving one yourself. Decarbonizing the transportation sector is a major challenge but also a necessity given that it is the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (27% in 2020 according to the EPA with 57% of those emissions coming from light-duty vehicles). Clean fuel vehicle rebates, charging infrastructure investments, and fleet emissions standards are all part of the policy mix that aims to make combustion engine vehicles a thing of the past.
Williams College is part of the transition to cleaner mobility. Last year the Alhambra student consulting group completed a college fleet electrification study, which sparked a pilot program to replace certain fleet vehicles with plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles. Thanks to the work of Dave Waynick, Bob Harris and others in Facilities, Planning, Design & Construction, the Provost and VP for Finance and Operations, we are happy to report:
- The delivery of the college’s first plug-in hybrid van, which is already making some all-electric trips
- That the college-owned all-electric Hyundai sedan and two hybrid sedans have logged a collective ~74,000 miles that previously involved larger, much less efficient vehicles
- There is heavy use of the college’s 10 EV charging stations, including one solely for the use of Facilities to ensure their new electric vehicles can charge as needed
- The project has received new financial support in FY24 for fleet electrification through the Sustainability CIR fund
Although going fully electric will take some time, these small steps demonstrate that it’s possible to use a combination of EVs and hybrids to fill our campus transportation needs!
Dr. Tanja Srebotnjak is the Director of the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives at Williams College.