Michigan State University is furthering its investment in a greener future, announcing a commitment to converting 369 internal combustion engine vehicles in its fleet to fully electric vehicles over the next decade.
As electric vehicles and chargers become more mainstream, MSU will continue reevaluating the total cost of ownership and convert additional university vehicles, up to the 1,100 MSU owns. The commitment also moves the institution closer to its strategic plan goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from its 2010 baseline. The conversion will decrease the university’s overall carbon footprint by 18,945 metric tons of carbon dioxide long-term – the equivalent of planting 312,584 trees.
“Our strategic plan challenges us to take action to create a better tomorrow for our university and those we serve,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “The transition to more electric vehicles in our fleet is one of many steps we are taking to achieve our goals while decreasing our carbon footprint for a brighter and greener future for Michigan State.”
To kickstart the transition, MSU has purchased 40 new electric vehicles — a mix of sedans, minivans and light-duty pickup trucks — which are set to arrive this summer. And through Consumers Energy’s PowerMIFleet program, MSU is adding to its electrical charging grid to support the new vehicles.
“We at Consumers Energy are excited to power Michigan’s electric vehicle transformation, including 1 million vehicles on our state’s roads in less than a decade,” said Brian Rich, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president and chief customer officer. “MSU’s commitment is an important part of that transition and signals to the entire MSU community that the time for EVs has arrived. We are pleased to be a partner in these efforts through our PowerMIFleet program.”
MSU also is investing in two DC fast chargers for public use through the PowerMIFleet program; the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s ChargeUp Michigan program; and Capital Area Transportation Authority. The chargers will be available for public use at the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway on Harrison Road this fall.
“CATA is committed to its partnership with Michigan State University,” said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser, AICP. “We are excited about the opportunity to invest in and install charging infrastructure at the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway. One of CATA’s strategic goals is to achieve a zero-emission fleet by 2035, including large and small buses, minivans and support vehicles as well as related infrastructure. As we continue to focus on driving regional mobility, zero-emission vehicles will be key to our success.”
The addition of new electric vehicles on MSU’s campus adds to the growing list of sustainability efforts over the past several years designed to make campus greener. Other university renewable energy projects include:
- Installation of 100 square feet of transparent solar glass in the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building
- Plans to add a 20-megawatt solar array on 110 acres south of MSU’s main campus to generate enough electricity to power 6,000 homes
- The 2017 construction of the largest solar carport array in North America, covering 5,000 parking spaces
- The university’s first mass-timber-constructed building
Additionally, the university dramatically reduced its greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 by transitioning the on-campus power plant to natural gas, resulting in a climate impact equivalent to planting half a million trees.