Charge it! Electric vehicles can now charge up at UTM

Icon for electric car charging station
Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 9:44am
Blake Eligh

Here's some news to get amped up about – UTM’s first-ever electric car charging facilities are now available to drivers looking for a spot to recharge on campus. In late January, Parking & Transportation Services installed electric vehicle (or EV) charging facilities as part of an ongoing commitment to improve energy efficiency and decrease greehouse gas emissions. “In just a few weeks, we have avoided 280 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, which is like planting seven trees and letting them grow for 10 years,” says Brian Hoppie, acting manager, parking and transportation services. “That’s the difference we’re making.”

The three charging stations, which can serve up to six vehicles, are installed on the lower level of P8, across from the Recreation, Athletics & Wellness Centre. Drivers may occupy the spaces for up to four hours and refuel free of charge through the ChargePoint mobile app which provides notifications and usage information to users.

According to Hoppie, available technology, growing demand and a commitment to sustainability prompted UTM to install the charging stations. “We know there is interest—and an expectation—for UTM take the lead,” he says. Electric vehicles make up about one per cent of the vehicles sold in Canada, and EV charging stations are popping up at shopping malls and retailers like IKEA, as well as ONroute highway rest stops. “UTM is proud to support green initiatives like this,” Hoppie says.

As with any vehicle on campus, drivers using the charging spaces are required to display a valid parking pass or pay-and-display receipt. Charging the vehicle is free, however, Hoppie notes that there is a four-hour limit on the spaces, after which drivers will pay a $5 fee through the ChargePoint app. Drivers who occupy the EV charging spaces without plugging in will be subject to ticketing by the City of Mississauga, which handles parking enforcement on campus. “These spaces are available solely for recharging, and are not intended be used as long-term or premium parking spaces,” Hoppie says.

According to Chelsea Dalton, environmental and sustainability coordinator with Facilities, Management & Planning, one obstacle for buyers of electric vehicles is a potential lack of recharging spots. “The most sustainable way to get to campus is public transportation or cycling,” she says. “But this is a great a step forward. Ontario has a pretty clean energy grid. If you have to drive to campus, an electric car is a much cleaner option, and if having EV chargers on campus encourages that, I think that’s a good thing.”