Emory & Henry College has begun the process of converting some of its vehicles from gasoline to electricity, as the institution continues work toward reducing its carbon footprint.
The College, which seeks to become carbon neutral on its 200th anniversary in 2036, has introduced two electric vehicles into its transportation fleet. In addition, President Rosalind Reichard and her husband, Don Reichard, have purchased an electric vehicle that they have donated to the College. The vehicle will be used by Reichard and future presidents, allowing them to more quickly travel across the large E&H campus to attend meetings and other events.
The vehicles are Global Electric Motorcars produced by Polaris. The E&H Maintenance Department will use two vehicles that feature extended beds for hauling ladders and other tools. The third vehicle, which will be used by the President, is a smaller, two-passenger vehicle that is slightly larger than a golf cart.
As the campus seeks to reduce carbon emissions with the new vehicles, it also hopes to save money. The vehicles cost an average of 2 cents per mile to operate, compared to the average cost of 50 to 75 cents per mile for older model gasoline-powered vehicles making the rounds through the rolling hills of campus.
“Even with our utility provider using coal to produce electricity for these vehicles, they will be much more efficient while helping to reduce our carbon footprint substantially,” said Mark Graham, executive assistant to the president.
Four years ago, President Reichard joined numerous college presidents from across the nation in signing a pledge to have their campuses become carbon neutral. In addition to the introduction of the electric cars, Emory & Henry has incorporated energy saving strategies in all new construction and renovation on the campus.
The College was honored in 2010 by the Southwest Virginia Technology Council for its innovation and leadership in environmental protection.