The University of Montana recently installed four new charging stations for electric vehicles.

KGVO spoke to UM Sustainability Director Eva Rocke about the new technology on campus.

“I think one thing that we want to do in the future and continue to explore is adding electric vehicles to our university owned fleet,” began Rocke. “We now have some electric powered utility trucks and maintenance vehicles, things like leaf blowers and stuff like that on campus. The immediate first step was that we were able to find funding to support it, because all this stuff obviously cost money and to be honest is not especially cheap, and that was to install some electric vehicle charging stations.”

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Rocke explained how the four new charging stations were financed.

“With the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s support through their ‘Charge a Ride’ program, we received grant funds to install four stations here in Missoula. All four of those are dual port charging stations made by a company called Charge Point. It's actually one of the most common, most popular, and most successful charging station companies in the country. We got four for our campus and then we also purchased one for the University of Montana Western in Dillon.”

Rocke said the charging stations on campus are designed to provide a partial charge without waiting several hours.

“So the ones that we purchased aside from being more affordable, are really designed for people who can plug their vehicle in, go inside of the gym, workout for an hour and come back out and the charge that your vehicle will have received will be more than sufficient to get you around town or get you home,” she said. “Most of the people we see come to campus and charge are people who probably charge their vehicle at home overnight.”

Rocke said there will be an opportunity for students and university employees to test drive electric vehicles this week on campus.

“To help answer some of those questions, we're hosting an electric vehicle ride and drive,” she said. “So, its a kind of EV test drive with Flanagan Motors on Earth Day, this Friday, April 22. So that's from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. here on campus so that we can start to connect people with some of those market options for EVs right now, and it will also let them talk to a dealership that's very familiar with these vehicles and get some of those common questions answered.”

DEQ’s “charge your ride” program distributes funds to numerous projects around the state from a portion of the $12.6 million Montana received through the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Settlement.

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