Electric truck on campus

University pays $24,000 for vehicle for the Parking Department

The Queen’s Parking Department’s truck can drive 65 kilometres before needing to be recharged.
The Queen’s Parking Department’s truck can drive 65 kilometres before needing to be recharged.
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Queen’s Parking Department now owns a $24,000 low-speed electric truck to use when monitoring parking on main campus. “It was intended as a greenhouse gas reduction strategy,” Sustainability Manager Aaron Ball said.

Two inventories on campus greenhouse gas emissions were conducted in 2008 and 2009. The inventories determined that campus vehicles emit about 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

The use of one electric truck lowers emissions by four tonnes, Ball said.

Once purchased, the electric truck could be implemented immediately and reduce fuel costs, he said.

“You’re looking at anywhere from an 80 to 90 per cent reduction in yearly expenditure on fuel per vehicle switched,” he said.

The Greentruck EVR 1000 was purchased in August from the California-based electric vehicle company Vantage Vehicles.

The truck can operate at speeds up to 40 kilometres per hour and can drive 65 kilometres before needing to be recharged. The entire battery has a lifetime of 50,000 kilometres.

Ball said there’s little legroom, but the truck sits five people.

“[Drivers] were a bit sceptical at first because it looks physically different. It is a crew-cab truck, but a much smaller version,” Ball said.

Queen’s rented the truck to test for six weeks over the summer with the staff from Parking, Physical Plant Services and Campus Security.

Last year, the Parking Department and Campus Security had one vehicle each and Physical Plant Services had 25. The electric truck replaced an out-of-commission vehicle, bringing the vehicle count for the Parking Department to two.

Ball said the University doesn’t have a target for the number of electric trucks it will eventually purchase, but that he expects to see more on campus.

“There’s still a bit of a question mark in terms of the vehicle’s winter performance,” he said.

Ball said that if the truck’s tire grip and battery life hold up in the snow and the cold, Queen’s will consider replacing vehicles up for renewal on a case-by-case basis.

The truck is considered a low-speed vehicle under a Ministry of Transportation pilot project. It’s currently restricted from travelling more than 50 metres away from main campus.

“The general opinion within the electric vehicle industry is that the pilot project is going well so far,” Ball said. “It’s anticipated that either the pilot project will be expanded and allow greater movement of these things or they’ll just be accepted.”

Ball said the 50-metre distance restriction would prevent the trucks from being used by Campus Security.

“Because of the limiting factor … it wouldn’t be suitable for them until the pilot project is updated or changed,” he said.

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