Ten electric vehicles from BMW are helping the University of California, Davis, study how to integrate electric vehicles into its fleet.
BMW is providing the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis with the all-electric, BMW i3 models for 18 months. Eight of the pre-owned vehicles will be available soon for UC Davis faculty and staff to rent through the campus’s UC Drive program, which is managed by the Fleet Services department. The other two will be used by project researchers.
“Every one of these will replace a gasoline car in the fleet now,” said Gil Tal, director of the Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center at ITS-Davis. “We’re trying to swap out some of those miles for electric miles.”
Transitioning fleets to electric vehicles helps advance clean energy technologies and reduce emissions from transportation. With UC Davis serving as a living laboratory, the project can help inform other campuses, small cities and towns about what to expect when integrating electric vehicles into fleets. It can also help familiarize potential electric vehicle drivers with the vehicles, with little commitment.
The vehicles are 2015-2016 models, with battery technology that enables an everyday range of about 80-90 miles — ideal for in-town driving, and enough for travel between Davis and Sacramento.
Dahlia Garas, program director of the Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center, said the project has four main components. “We’re trying to help the campus electrify,” she said. “We also want to learn how fleets can incorporate used electric vehicles, which are available at a lower price than newer generations. We are learning more about how to integrate electric vehicles with the grid.”[source: UC Davis]