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Projects Updates for Use Electric Vehicles (EV)

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  1. Clean vehicle tax credits

    Following is Pete Varney's response to the question from Morgan, "In addition to the Ford Lightning EVs, could we potentially get EV versions of the turtle-top 15-person vans?  Also, is there any discussion about getting Hybrid buses for UI Ride?"

    When discussing EV we have to look at manufacturer availability and operational needs. Car Pool vehicles, 15-pass vans, need to be able to operate both locally and on extended trips ruling out EV due to range restrictions.

    We won’t be looking to replace the first UI Ride bus until FY24/25. We can explore hybrid, but this class of vehicle is different from MTD hybrid buses. Electric may be an option. When the time comes, we’ll discuss with the System office as they put the $$ into UI Ride.

    Thank you,


  2. Ford Lightning allotted to Abbott Power Plant and EV charging station installed

    Abbott Power Plant are the recipients of one the new Ford F150 Lightning Electric Trucks.

    There is a charging station in the alley between the plant addition and scrubber where the vehicle can be parked and charged (see photo below). The plug on the truck is on the side in front of the driver side door.

    The key for the new truck is in the control room at Abbott. The key is a FOB that must be in the vehicle to start it. Similar to other new vehicles, the truck is started when the FOB is in the vehicle with you, you press the brake, and then hit the start button. Since it is electric you of course will not hear the motor engage and start, but the car will “come to life” with the dashboard coming on and displaying. The vehicle can now be put into gear and driven.

    NOTE, the vehicle comes equipped with “engine braking” engaged. So, when you take your foot off the accelerator, the electric motor will “reserve” (turn into a generator) and start slowing down the vehicle (and at the same time charge up the batteries).

    Please be careful when driving the truck for the first time and take some time to get accustomed to how it works.

    Attached Files: 
  3. Transportation iCAP Team Meeting 12/2/22

    The transportation iCAP team met on Friday, December 2nd at 3:00 P.M. CST to discuss electric vehicle charging, and updates on bike shelter procurement for the university. Due to a software error, the meeting minutes were not recorded.

    Link to meeting recording:

  4. Metric for EV charging stations - Suggestion by Ria

    Hi Morgan,

    The proposed metrics (i.e., number of level 2 chargers) are certainly interesting. Could we also track the chargers' utilization? My group can help with such an analysis as needed. I am happy to discuss opportunities for a more comprehensive assessment of shared charging use by the university fleet and other passenger vehicles in the university. Effective charging sharing and management schemes will play an important role as electric vehicle adoption and use grow. Thanks in advance!

    Best regards,



    Eleftheria (Ria) Kontou, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Civil and Environmental Engineering

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    New publication: Evacuation route planning for alternative fuel vehicles

  5. Insider article on 9/21/22: Ahead of the Curve and All Electric

  6. EV charging stations and a personalized update about EVs - Robert O'Daniell

    Following is an email from Robert O'Daniell regarding EV charging stations and his experience during his recent road trip.

    From: Robert O'Daniell
    Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 2:58 PM
    To: White, Morgan; Prasad, Sarthak; Kontou, Eleftheria
    Subject: A personalized update about EVs


    Hi - I did another roadtrip this weekend.  At a DCFC I chatted with a guy on a longer road trip that was intent on charging to 100%.   He was there a very long time as the charger slows remarkably as they go beyond 90%. For him to charge from 90% to 100% would take 15 minutes to get 25 miles. I spent 12 minutes at Target and got 75 miles of charge. 


    As this year has rolled on, attempts to improve my EV charging survey has waned. There has been decreasing willingness of people participating and I was having doubts about the questions I was asking.   So I have stopped.  And then the EV sections of the Inflation Reduction Act turned everything on its head.  

    Even the piece by Kontou that the July 28th IDOT WebEx meeting mentioned  as cutting edge shows its age in only a little over two years.  ( first a disclaimer - inspite of being a math major at UI 50 years ago, the equations and graphs in her report are a little too esoteric for me.)  But some of the basic information  demonstrates remarkable changes,  It mentioned 50 kw charging as fast, now NEVI mandates a minimum of 150kw (350 kw is now fast).   Mentioned charging locations that numbered at 1300.  Now Tesla alone has 1200 supercharger locations,  The mentioned EVgo has dropped from prominence, now Electrify America from its infancy in 2019 now leads the way. Electrify America currently has 800 and most are up to NEVI standards.   EVs charging up on off-peak hours takes advantage of unused capacity at those times ( and gets a discount). And now with two way charging, EVs can put power back on the grid at some heavy peak use periods. (Known as V2G)  Predictions of some EV issues will be difficult.

    Recent V2G articles.


    BMW, Ford, GM will help incentivize California EV drivers to charge off-peak


    Can a Garage Full of Revel Taxis Stop the Next Blackout?


    Brooklyn-based Vehicle-to-Grid Bidirectional Station Charging back into NYC Grid | EnergyTech




    So - EV charging will have two opposite effects on the grid.  Occasionally add to a peak load. But also help balance the load on the grid by taking some energy during off-peak hours and putting it back during peak load pressures. 


    EV charging also has another opposition.   DCFC continuing to get faster and  Levels 1 & 2 staying the same or getting slower. 

    The two factors are the "60% rule" and the increasing acceptance of convenience charging. 


     The 60% rule is to only charge between 20% and 80% (the 60% in the middle).   This protects battery life and has the advantage of saving time. Saved time is illustrated in the opening paragraph of this email.  3 times the charge in slightly less time.


    Accepting convenience charging is maximizing charging convenience.  Speed at DCFC.  And if its not convenient, I don’t charge (even if free). A different take on “Willingness To Pay” (if the charger is 100 yards away and I’ll only get 10 miles, why bother)


    Faster = = DCFC & the NEVI guidelines. DCFC is at least twice as fast when charging from 20% to 30% than it is when  charging from 70% to 80%.  Nobody (should) wants to charge to 100%, where the charging speed is similar to Level 2 charger.  Lots of current EVs charge faster than my car, and I can add 75 miles in the time it takes to use the rest room.  With the NEVI 50 mile interval, it guarantees roadtrips with minimal times as drivers plan better. 

    Slower = =  For my home, I spent $200 on the slowest level 2 charger available (16 amp).  Even if my VW is down to 20% when I go to bed, my "slow" charger will add enough range to get from CU to Woodridge ( 142 miles) when I get up.  In the 8 hour “off peak” window, 90 miles can be added. 


    Since few people in this area need 75 miles to get home from work, those that need to add charge before leaving work for home can get what they need from the slowest level 2 chargers.  This could save money for places like UI by reducing the cost of the EVSE and the necessary wiring for them.  It would be interesting to know if any workers at UI would  pay extra to rent a reserved parking space with a charger. (For those with longer commutes or no chargers at their apartment complex)


    We need to get our municipal leaders to get involved with IDOT and get one or more of the DCFC locations paid for with Federal money (NEVI program). Those DCFCs could fulfill all of UI needs for short term EV charging and the need for level 1 or 2 charging spaces.   But as a visible sign of support of sustainability issues, some should still be there. 


    Level 2 destination chargers scattered throughout the community will always be both used and appreciated,  As EV drivers learn the most efficient ways to charge, their WTP for level 2 charging will wane.   WTP for DCFC will always be there.

    Thank you for your time. 


    ps.  as a side note - a few details to go but I will be doing an EV interest group at OLLI soon.  (OLLI - UI affiliate of Osher Life Long Learning Institute)


    Robert K. O'Daniell

    Photographer Emeritus-News-Gazette

  7. Sarthak met with Gabe Lewis to talk about Electric Vehicles and EV charging

    On May 24, Sarthak Prasad met with Gabe Lewis to talk about EVs. Gabe is the Transportation Planner at the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) and he currently leads the RPC Tech Committee which consists of 7 members – Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, Rantoul, St. Joseph, Mahomet, and Champaign County. Most recently, they had been talking about the feasibility of EVs in urban as well as the rural areas in the county.

    We talked about the US DOT's Charging Forward, an EV toolkit, that is primarily focused on EV Charging in the rural areas:

    We also talked about Clean City Coalition. State of Illinois does not have a coalition, but Chicago has one and we could potentially reach out to them:

    Also discussed the federal funding available through National EV Infrastructure (NEVI), Carbon Reduction Program (CRP), State and Local Planning for Energy (, and EV Pro Lite (

  8. Meeting between Sarthak Prasad, Morgan White, and Robert O'Daniell

    Robert O'Daniell met with Morgan and me on Friday, May 13, 2022. We talked about the following topics:

    • The University's upcoming task force for EVs. There will be two task forces -
      • On-campus
      • Community
    • Reserve List for new EVs - backlog of about 18 months. Ford is not putting more people on this list now.
    • How much EVs/Hybrids save over time
      • With the Tax credits and saving on fuel, the cost is very comparable and sometimes cheaper than gasoline car
      • Maintenance cost of EVs are very low
    • EV Town initiative at Bloomington/Normal area
    • QwikTrip chargers
      • None currently in Champaign
    • We talked about possibly adding Solar Arc at Lincoln & Florida parking lot
      • I will look at the product and possibly ask SSC for funding in the future
    • We also talked about the people Robert has reached out to so far
    • EV-Go
    • Electrify America
    • Where to place a Fast Charger in Champaign-Urbana?
    • I will connect Robert with Gabe Lewis at CCRPC.

    Robert also provided some documents that were updated from last meeting with me (Introductory meeting with Robert O'Daniell)

  9. Information on Electric Vehicles from Gabriel Lewis

    The following is an email sent from Gabriel Lewis to Morgan White regarding EV research.

    Hi Morgan,


    I’m doing research for the local municipalities on Electric Vehicles (EVs), to start out with a literature review.


    Katie Simpson in Savoy mentioned that you/UIUC were starting discussions last fall about researching EVs as well.  I know it’s a broad topic, but are they any updates or information I should be aware of from the University side?

    I found a couple of relevant search results online:


    I think we’re most interested right now in how to provide sufficient charging infrastructure in buildings (via retrofits and requirements for new buildings) and in public places (streets, parking lots, municipal facilities, recreational facilities, etc.).




  10. Introductory meeting with Robert O'Daniell

    I met with Robert O'Daniell on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. We covered several topics, including the electrification trend, Federal and State tax credits for EVs, but majority of the time was dedicated to learn about the EV charging stations in Champaign County as compared to other cities.

    Robert also shared his own experience as an EV owner and the survey he is currently conducting to gauge interest in increasing the number of public-use EV charging and possibility of introducing DC Fast Charging to the campus and Champaign County.

    I will create the survey on Google Forms, and then help deploy it on-campus. We also discussed where to promote this survey.

    See attached the documents that we covered during this meeting.

  11. Two 100% all electric 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning trucks purchased for F&S fleet

    From: Varney, Peter W
    Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2022 12:38 PM
    To: FandS Executive Management Team ; Gordon, Malikah Asrayyah ; Breitwieser, Steven
    Cc: Patterson, Shawn L ; Franzen, Neil
    Subject: Ford Lightnings for F&S

    As mentioned this morning, I have been able to secure two of the brand new 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning for F&S. These are all-electric crew cab pickup trucks with a ~200 mile range. The vehicles are equipped with a 9.6kW power system including multiple 120V and a single 240V outlet. Cargo payload is only about 1,600# or 2/3 of a standard F-150.

    These vehicles should allow for my team to gain familiarity with all-electric vehicles in our fleet as well as campus visibility regarding F&S’ commitment to sustainable fleet technology. I believe one of the vehicles would be a good fit in my Transportation Shop but I’m open to suggestions for the second truck. ETA will be in the June/July timeframe.

    Malikah – I want your team to be aware for any story/messaging opportunities. I also think we can use some special signage or wrap on the vehicle exterior.

    Pete W Varney
    Transportation & Building Services
    Facilities & Services
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  12. EV Procurement Law in Illinois

    EO 2108, ELECTRIC VEHICLE PROCUREMENT. The executive order provides that the state shall: (1) develop and implement a program for procurement of electric and other low emission or zero emission vehicles for state purposes; (2) establish a State Fleet Working Group convened by the Department of Central Management Services and composed of representatives from the Department of Transportation, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the Illinois Commerce Commission; (3) set forth the responsibilities of the working group; (4) direct the Department of Central Management Services, in conjunction with other state agencies, to develop a plan to install electric vehicle chargers on state property; and (5) direct the Illinois State Board of Education to collaborate with the Department of Transportation and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to develop tools and provide information to assist school districts in assessing the benefits and costs of zero emission bus options when replacing school buses. The executive order became effective 22 APR 21.

  13. 12/2 Transportation SWATeam Meeting

    Attached are the meeting minutes for the 12/2 Transportation SWATeam Meetings, as well as the Zoom chat file.

    Discussed were the following:

    • Telecommuting/Teleconferencing Policy and Commputer Program Intern 
    • EV Parking Department Dashboard Data
    • EV Task Force