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Clarkson University Accepts Challenge to Increase Use of Electric Vehicles

The two-year-old electric vehicle charging station on the Clarkson University campus has helped to inspire some faculty members to buy and use electric vehicles (EVs) for their commuting.

School of Business faculty members Boris Jukic and Michael Wasserman use Clarkson University's electric vehicle charging station.School of Business faculty members Boris Jukic and husband and wife Michael Wasserman and Sandra Fischer are using the station to charge their new electric vehicles.

"Promotion of electric vehicles and the charging station helps to engage the campus community in decisions that improve campus sustainability," says Spence Professor in Sustainable Environmental Systems Susan E. Powers, the interim director of Clarkson's Institute for a Sustainable Environment.

Clarkson is working toward this goal through a recent partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge -- a national program to increase the number of employers offering workplace charging.

"Through these efforts, Clarkson is helping to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions, while also providing a valuable employee benefit," says Powers.

Clarkson's electric vehicle charging station, located in the parking lot by the Educational Resources Center, has two dedicated parking spaces for use while charging.

There are two different ways to fuel up. Customers can sign up for a ChargePoint account and card to use at the station, and those who choose not to sign up for a card can instead call ChargePoint at an 800 number listed on the station to unlock the device for their use. Accounts can be set up at

The station was made possible as part of a $1 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in partnership with National Grid, which administered the funding, and ChargePoint, which operates the device. Motorists currently use the station free of charge.

“The development and proliferation of electric vehicles is beginning to change the way we think about driving," says Richard L. Burns, manager of community & customer management for National Grid in Potsdam, EV driver and a 1986 alumnus of Clarkson. “The Clarkson charging station represents the changing landscape in northern New York and a testament to the public-private partnerships National Grid continues to support to drive innovation as part of its Connect21 initiative. At National Grid we are committed to electric vehicle technology and look forward to future accomplishments alongside our industry partners and customers."

Wasserman and Jukic both cite the presence of a charging station on campus as critical in their decision to buy an EV. They have easy access to fuel and say they look forward to the opportunity to share the refueling spaces as more EVs are used for employee or student commuting to campus.

But their change to EVs also stems from their commitment to reduce their personal contribution to environmental degradation.

“Our experience the past few years working with faculty, students, and staff at Clarkson's partner school in Germany has really reinforced our beliefs that individual actions can make a difference," says Wasserman. "Our German friends are very motivated to reduce their carbon footprint, and some of that has rubbed off on us.”

From an economic perspective, the time is right to buy an EV. Low gasoline prices have contributed to a substantial drop in the cost of an EV.

Wasserman leases a BMW i3 and Jukic’s Nissan Leaf was purchased used. The cost of the Leaf with 22,000 miles was $11,000 (including all taxes and fees).

The current free fuel supply substantially reduces the cost of operation, but Jukic notes that “even once the electricity cost is included, it will still beat per-mile cost of driving by at least a factor of three.”

Clarkson will expand its charging station footprint to New York's Capital Region in January when Union Graduate College, which also has an electric vehicle charging station, merges into Clarkson and becomes its Capital Region Campus.

Find more information about the Workplace Charging Challenge and the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge at

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University is promoting electric vehicles and its charging station through a recent partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge -- a national program to increase the number of employers offering workplace charging. Above, School of Business faculty members Boris Jukic and Michael Wasserman use Clarkson's electric vehicle charging station.

[A photograph for media use is available at .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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