Q&A with UCLA
Discussion with UCLA Fleet Procurement Specialist Tom Povormo
Q: How did UCLA get involved and why/when did they decide this was important?
A: In 2013, when the University of California announced its Carbon Neutrality Initiative aimed at ending the reliance on fossil fuels, UCLA Transportation set a target to run a completely carbon neutral fleet by 2025. Achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions is a top campus priority. Not only because greenhouse gas reduction from mobile sources is an essential component of UCLA’s own climate action plan, but also because phasing out fossil fuels in favor of cleaner and greener alternatives means a better environment for our entire campus community. The long-term fiscal impact of transitioning to EVs also has benefits in fuel savings and lower maintenance costs.
Q: Has the process encountered any speed bumps (pun intended)?
A: With the implementation of any change or new product, a business can expect some resistance or hiccups along the way. Educating customers on the cost-benefit analysis of EVs has and will continue to be a challenge. Proper infrastructure has been another roadblock the University has been working to navigate. UCLA is the second smallest University of California campus in terms of space. At only 419 acres, and with one of the highest densities, square footage devoted to parking areas is limited.
Q What can you tell other higher education institutions considering making the switch?
A: Switching to all-electric vehicles requires support from the EV manufacturer. Support from the motor company is a big part of successfully incorporating zero-emission vehicles into any higher education institution’s fleet. The much-needed charging infrastructure also needs to be in place. Over 300 charging stations are available for use by campus commuters and visitors in University parking structures and lots, with UCLA Transportation working to more than double the percentage of EV charging areas.