Electric Cars Take to the Road on BC Campus

Electric Cars Take to the Road on BC Campus

When it comes to campus transportation, say Boston College administrators, sometimes smaller, lighter and cleaner is the way to go.

Transportation Manager Scott Winchell at the wheel of one of the electrically powered utility vehicles recently acquired by BC. (Photo by Gary Gilbert)
Six recently acquired Pathway electric-powered cars are helping staff from Facilities Management, the Boston College Police Department and Residential Life with light duties this semester.

"There are times when a pick-up truck or a van is just not an efficient piece of equipment for the task at hand," said Transportation Manager Scott Winchell, who makes use of one of the new vehicles in his duties.

With a top speed of 21 miles per hour, the vehicles feature a 3.2 horsepower motor and 48-volt battery and an on board-computer. The vehicles are also designed to operate very quietly and are equipped to traverse ice and snow.

Winchell says that the electric vehicles would not be a replacement for trucks and vans because they do not have the same hauling capacity.

"This is a step in the right direction in that we can save money and reduce fuel emissions to a certain degree," said Winchell.

Boston College acquired the vehicles through a program sponsored by the manufacturer, Pathway Research, in conjunction with General Motors.

One downside to the vehicles is that under state law they are not allowed on public roads, said Winchell, so their use will be confined to routes inside the BC campus.

With auto manufacturers racing to create viable alternative-fuel technologies, Winchell says the electric vehicles could become more common at BC.

"In a lot of ways these vehicles are the future," he said. "It's nice to be ahead of the curve."

-Stephen Gawlik


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