First four electric vehicles added to CSU fleet

Julia Rentsch

HDS Nissan LEAF
One of the four new Nissan LEAFs added to the CSU fleet. Photo courtesy of SOURCE.

The Colorado State University fleet gained its first electric vehicles last month with the addition of four new Nissan LEAFs.

Two vehicles were bought by Housing and Dining Services, one by Facilities Management and one will become part of the CSU Motor Pool. Though CSU already owns some smaller electric vehicles that are similar to golf carts, these vehicles are the first highway-ready EVs owned by the University.

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Tonie Miyamoto, director of communication for CSU Housing and Dining Services and the leader of the acquisition, said that Tynan’s Nissan gave the University a “very nice price” on the vehicles and additionally donated to CSU several charging stations and the logos that appear on cars’ doors. 

Drive Electric Northern Colorado is a partnership between the City of Fort Collins, the City of Loveland, Colorado State University, and the non-profit the Electrification Coalition to advocate for the adoption of electric vehicles.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a LEAF is $29,010, but CSU Alternative Transportation Manager Aaron Fodge said that the cost savings over the life cycle of an electric vehicle are considerable.

“If you only look at the cost of the vehicle up front, you may not see the cost savings,” Fodge said.

He cited low maintenance costs and the lack of a need to pay for gas as contributors to the savings, as well as the relative inexpensive cost of electricity.

Though electric vehicles are often touted as zero-emission vehicles, Fodge acknowledged that this is not completely true due to the sources from which the electricity is obtained. According to the Platte River Power Authority’s website, the Rawhide Energy Station, located about 26 miles north of Fort Collins, utilizes low-sulfur coal and natural gas to produce electricity. 

Carol Dollard, a utility engineer for Facilities Management, said that the vehicle bought by Facilities will replace a first-generation Prius that staff used to travel along the Front Range for meetings, or to the CSU Foothills Campus.

According to Miyamoto, these vehicles are part of a President’s Sustainability Committee pilot project proposed by Fodge. Miyamoto said he plans to continue to work on electric vehicle integration at CSU on a larger scale in the future.

Collegian Reporter Julia Rentsch can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @julia_rentsch.