Hannah Hollinger

Hannah Hollinger

UCF community engages with electric vehicles galore for NDEW

Early Tuesday morning, a handful of vehicles made their way to the Student Union patio for the first annual Charge On! Electric Vehicle Display. Community partners from all over Orlando and beyond drove to the University of Central Florida campus, each emitting zero carbon in the trek. As campus activity began to rise and morning classes were released, student crowds began to stop in awe, whip out their phones to snap a photo, and ask, “what are these cars about?”

The display was a part of National Drive Electric Week, which takes place in over 100 cities nationwide as an opportunity to promote the myriad of benefits related to plug-in vehicles. Drive Electric Week events—like parades, electric tailgate parties, test-ride events, and press conferences—took place all week, from September 15th to the 21st.

To celebrate, UCF Sustainability Initiatives paired with Student Government Association, Florida Solar Energy Center, Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, and SemaConnect to make this event a success here in the city of Orlando.

The Electric Vehicle roster was as follows:

  • 2017 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2013 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2017 Nissan Leaf
  • 2014 Tesla S P85+
  • 2016 Tesla X
  • Electrathon Go-Kart of Knightmares on Rainbow Road

In addition, SemaConnect gave periodic demonstrations on how to use the charging stations located around campus.

Even with past campaigns to get Elon Musk to visit the UCF campus, many students were still unfamiliar with the Tesla logo and even the mere existence of the glamorous design before them. Many were surprised to find out that independent EV owners had volunteered to display their vehicles and engage with students to discuss specs and benefits, as opposed to a dealership. Passersby were in awe that the plug-in vehicles had no motor and rather had two trunks, one in the back and one in the front where the motor typically sits.

Despite the touchscreen dashboards and roominess of the vehicles, the deal breaker lied with the statistic that it costs roughly $5 to fully charge the EVs, with one charge lasting 200+ miles. The only maintenance associated is purchasing new tires and windshield wiper fluid – no routine oil changes needed. Public facilitates, including UCF, allow individuals to charge their vehicles free of cost and if plugged in at a solar EV charger, free of indirect emissions. A positive response and better understanding of electric vehicles was evident by the end of the day.