Shepherd University faculty members from the Institute of Environmental and Physical Sciences (IEPS) welcomed 36 electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids, including 13 Tesla Model S sedans and three Tesla Roadsters, to Shepherdstown on Saturday, June 7.
The vehicles were taking part in the West Virginia EV Sociability Run (www.pluginrally.org/). The newly installed electric vehicle charging stations at Shepherd's IEPS Renewable Energy Demonstration Zone (RED Zone) allowed EV owner Rick Rohn of Martinsburg to convince the group to make Shepherd and Shepherdstown a destination on their journey.
Dr. Jeff Groff, assistant professor of physics, and Dr. Ed Snyder, professor of environmental and physical sciences and chair of Shepherd's IEPS, hosted an open house of the RED Zone for the EV enthusiasts highlighting the integration of the charging stations with renewable energy systems. While explaining the RED Zone systems and showing his 3D-printed replacement parts for the charging stations, Groff used the RED Zone to impress upon the EV owners the importance of utilizing renewable energy in conjunction with electric vehicles. The electricity needed to charge an EV's batteries comes from somewhere and in West Virginia, this likely means coal-fueled power plants, according to Groff. He stressed that without renewable energy in the mix, there is significantly less environmental benefit to driving an EV in West Virginia.
With the EV charging stations in place on campus, Shepherd and Shepherdstown have become an EV destination and hopefully Teslas and other electric vehicles will become a more commonplace sight in town, said Groff.