Kaskaskia College Takes Part in State-Wide Electric Vehicle Road Trip

On June 23, a team from Kaskaskia College took part in the Electric Vehicle Road Trip to demonstrate the further deployment of EV infrastructure and to raise awareness about EV technology.  Theirs was the second leg of the three day trip that originated at John A. Logan Community College in Carbondale and will end at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois.


A reception was held for the trip at the clock tower on the KC campus, where Kaskaskia College President Dr. Jim Underwood addressed a small crowd gathered by their interest in promoting sustainable measures, including transportation.  Dr. Underwood touted the College’s efforts.  “We place sustainable practices as high priority.  We have designed and installed geo-thermal systems in many of our new and upcoming building programs, and our Vandalia campus was the very first LEED certified building on a Community College campus in the state.”  At the conclusion of the reception, Dr. Underwood signed a pledge from the Department of Energy to have an EV charging station installed at KC within six months.


The KC team consisted of Dale Hill of the Public Information Office and the Scroll, Professor Clint Stevens of the English Department, and Professor Chuck DeBernardi of the Automotive Technology Department.  These three individuals are part of the Green Team at KC.


After receiving the handoff from the John A. Logan team, the KC team drove a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, supplied by Wes Monken at Monken Nissan in Centralia,  approximately 45 miles to the campus of Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) in Belleville.


“The car performed very well,” said Dale Hill.  “It was peppy, and after the initial novelty wore off it was like driving any other well-made small car.”


Part of the reason for the EV Road Trip was to alleviate consumer fears about the reliability and range anxiety of electric vehicles.  The trip began with the Nissan Leaf showing an in-car range of 80 miles before it would need recharging.  After the 45 mile trip to SWIC, the range was showing 20+ miles remaining.  The team drove with the air conditioner on, the windows up, and the radio playing, and no allowances were made to extend the range.  After a brief stopover at Auffenberg Nissan for a quick recharge, the team returned the car to Monken Nissan in Centralia.


“I’m sure we could have extended the range if we had needed to,” said Professor DeBernardi.  “The Leaf has built-in tools for doing just that, but we drove it like any other car to see how well it would perform.”  All three team members agreed that the car had performed above expectations.


On the return trip, Professor Stevens tried out the cruise control, the Eco setting, and some of the other “bells and whistles” that the Leaf is equipped with.


Along with an EV charging station, the team hopes to procure an electric vehicle for College use in the near future.​

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