In conjunction with a variety of "green" discussions being held nationally this week, Colorado State University-Pueblo is previewing two environmentally-friendly electric vehicles over the next week that may provide maintenance to the campus and grounds rather than traditional trucks from the state fleet.
With a significant number of campus construction and renovation projects occurring over the next year, Director of Facilities Craig Cason has a need to upgrade and increase the Facilities crew's work vehicles. In light of the University's efforts to increase its use of renewable energy, he researched options for satisfying that need in ways other than the traditional lease or purchase of a vehicle from the state fleet. His research led him to a variety of electric vehicles and golf carts and finally to DenaSue Potestio, Executive Director of the CSU-Pueblo Foundation, to find a potential donor for the project. Potestio found Tom Perkins of Perkins Dodge in Colorado Springs, one of only two dealers in the state to carry the Global Electric Motorcars (GEM).
The University is testing two vehicles, a 2007 GEM el two-passenger electric motorcar with flatbed and a 2007 Zenn, equipped with front-wheel drive, brisk acceleration and a regulated maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). ZENN delivers the environmental advantages of an electric vehicle, generating zero greenhouse-gas emissions, compared to the 657 pounds of regulated tailpipe emissions produced by the typical gas-powered car every year. Find more information on the vehicle at: http://www.zenncars.com/brochure/broch_index.html
In addition to the testing on campus, the University has arranged for Perkins Dodge to display an electric vehicle at a three-month exhibit, "Shelter: Beauty, Sustainability, Function" at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center beginning in January. The Arts Center is highlighting environmental art from January through March, "Human Art and Nature," in their seven galleries, and the University will collaborate with the museum to plan this particular exhibit.
Cason explained that the electric vehicles eliminate the use of gasoline, inflict less wear and tear on roads and sidewalks, and in general, are more economical to operate and to maintain. He will make a decision before the end of the year about adding the vehicles to his operation.
"As our campus grounds and facilities grow, so too does the demand for more and better tools to maintain them," said Joanne Ballard, vice president of finance and administration. "We always will seek to find environmentally-friendly solutions to the University's growing operational needs."