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Parkland purchases hybrid car and charging station

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 17:10

hybrid

Photo by Craig Towsley/ Prospectus News

Parkland College’s Department of Public Safety recently added a 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid to their fleet. The vehicle is a hybrid powered by a four cylinder gas engine and an electric motor.

Parkland College has been gaining recognition around the community for their decision to go green.

Just last February, the college received a grant from the non-profit TKF Foundation to design urban, green spaces around the campus as part of the TKF Foundation’s "Open Spaces Sacred Places” program.

This fall, Parkland College is making way for several changes to the campus as part of their green efforts.

In addition to celebrating National Sustainability Day Wednesday, the Department of Public Safety got a new hybrid police car last Tuesday. Plans are in place to order more of them.

Yvonne I. Meyer, Police Sergeant of the Department of Public Safety, was one of the people who helped bring the hybrid police car to campus.

“I was actually going to be in the New York City area visiting a friend of mine, so we made a trip to New York and made some contacts with the New York City Police Department. I was able to go to their fleet services, view their hybrid cars and talk to the people who worked on the cars,” Meyer said.

When she talked about the cars themselves, Meyer said that the hybrid cars are much smaller vehicles than what the police officers are used to, but she explained that, “The New York Police Department pointed out that all cars are getting smaller, so you have to get used to that.”

Von D. Young Jr., Chief of Police and the Director of Public Safety, said this about the new police car, “We were given a direction by the college to look at something that was green technology, something that we could possibly look at sustainability and obviously provide a car that would be efficient.”

The brand of the car is a Ford Fusion, and according to Chief Young, “I did a search on the computer, I knew that Ford had a hybrid out there that was available. So Sergeant Meyer and I did a search on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and actually found out that the City of New York has been using Ford Fusions for about 3 years.”

According to Meyer, they had concerns over the safety of hybrid cars since the cage for those arrested is harder to install and the electronics that are in police cars would have to use a much smaller circuit than what the other police cars generally use.

“I wanted to make sure that it was going to work and they are extremely happy out in New York City with their hybrids. They could not talk any better about them. They just thought the cars were wonderful,” Meyer said about the concerns over the hybrid cars.

The car brings with it other green technology. The electric car charging station, also called an EV charging station, is being installed in front of the new Advanced Technology building and will be available for public use later this year.

The charging station project was spearheaded by the college’s Sustainable Campus Committee, which is co-led by Hilary Valentine, who is also Manager of Creative Services, and Greg Walburg, Associate Professor of Construction Design and Management.

“The EV charging station was acquired by the Parkland Sustainable Campus Committee as part of the college's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases,” Valentine explained.

“In a greenhouse gas inventory collected in 2010, it was determined that transportation to campus accounts for 40-50% of the college's greenhouse gas emissions,” she continued.

“The committee is studying ways to encourage single-passenger car drivers to use alternative forms of transportation, including carpooling, biking, riding the bus, and walking.”

Regarding upcoming plans Valentine said, “There are no official or immediate plans to install more EV stations, but we do anticipate that there will be more electric vehicles.”

For more information about charging stations in the area, visit www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_locations.html, and for more information about sustainability at Parkland College, visit www.parkland.edu/about/sustainability.

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