Chevy Bolt

Since May, Black Hills State University's new all-electric Chevrolet Bolt has already accumulated more than 1,500 miles, and saved more than 60 percent in transportation costs over a fuel-powered vehicle, said BHSU sustainability coordinator Eva Chase.

SPEARFISH | Black Hills State University's new electric car is saving 60 percent on transportation costs, according to BHSU sustainability coordinator Eva Chase.

“When looking at our general electricity costs compared with the fuel we would consume for those same miles, we’re saving around 60 percent on costs with our electric vehicle,” said Chase, in a BHSU news release.

The university recently installed a charging station for the electric Chevy Bolt near the Life Sciences Building on campus. The Bolt arrived on campus in May.

Chase said the BHSU Bolt has logged 1,657 miles so far and that faculty, staff and students on university business use the vehicle. Facility workers, for example, have used the vehicle to travel back and forth to Rapid City for maintenance at BHSU-RC.

“In addition to cost-savings, we bought this vehicle to show the feasibility and efficiency of electric cars in everyday life. Those driving it are not vehicle experts. You just get in and drive,” said Chase.

Greg Krajewski, veterans resource coordinator at BHSU, drives to BHSU-Rapid City at least once a week to serve student veterans at that location. He has driven the Bolt six times.

“We’re trying something new at BHSU with this vehicle. I am 6 foot 3 inches, and can fit in the car very easily which surprised me. It has an easy hook up and there are locations listed on the key fob where you can charge it up,” Krajewski said.

Charging the vehicle is just like plugging into a gas pump, says Chase. When someone pulls the car back into the lot, there is a QR code attached to the key. The driver scans the QR code and then plugs it in like a normal gas pump.

Chase said users can download the “Greenlots” mobile app to monitor the charging progress of their car and see how long it will take to be fully charged. She said the Bolt takes about four hours to charge.

“In the three months we’ve had the vehicle, we’ve saved 65 gallons of gasoline and 1,281 pounds of greenhouse gases,” Chase said.

BHSU, which has emerged as a leader in sustainability initiatives, offers an online master’s degree in sustainability, one of the only programs of its kind in the U.S.

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