Campus Powers Up With More Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

This article originally appeared on CSUN Today.

CSUN is taking a big step forward in sustainability this spring as the campus expands its network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers from 29 to 88 stations.

By April 1, the beginning of Earth Month, 56 charging stations had been installed and activated at the B2, B6, G3, G6 and G9 parking lots. The remaining 32 chargers will be installed in lots B5, F2, B4, F5 and E6 by mid-April.

The charging stations are available for all those who have valid parking permits at CSUN. To use the new stations, CSUN students, faculty and staff can create accounts on the Chargie smartphone app, where they can set up a payment method, preload funds, scan the QR code of the corresponding station and follow the charging status of their vehicles in real time.

The California Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission have reported that by 2030, 14.5% of cars on the road in California will be EVs. This means that CSUN can expect to have more than 6,000 EVs on campus by the end of the decade — so the expansion of charging stations is crucial for these drivers, according to Austin Eriksson, CSUN’s director of energy and sustainability.

“EVs are quickly growing in popularity, so it is vital for us to provide the necessary support system required for these vehicles,” said Eriksson. “In fact, our recent transportation survey concluded that 68% of CSUN EV drivers can’t find available chargers. This expansion project is a critical step toward solving the problem while simultaneously helping our campus become more environmentally conscious.” ​

As part of this project, current level 2 and level 3 ​DC Fast EV chargers that are used for different car models are being replaced by “smart” chargers operated by the platform “powered by Chargie,” the largest installer of EV charging stations in Southern California.

The new smart chargers provide real-time charger availability, cash load balancing, charging status and demand response, according to CSUN’s Sustainability Program. They can balance the loads of EV’s charging, allowing the installment of more EV chargers without any major electrical upgrades. EV drivers who use the new Chargie stations will only pay what the campus pays for the electricity dispensed during each charge session, with no markups or surcharges — at 18 cents per kilowatt-hour. This is significantly lower than residential or off-campus public charging rates, according to the Sustainability Program. The 18 cents per kWh will cover the cost of the electricity consumed. CSUN is working with Chargie to manage the Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits that will assist in covering part of the program cost and ensure that the chargers remain in operation and in good condition.

For more information about CSUN’s sustainability programs, visit https://www.csun.edu/sustainability.

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