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.