by Patrick Gustavson
Thirteen electric cars lined the Student Center parking lot on Sept. 14, for the fifth annual celebration of The National Drive Electric Week at Central Connecticut State University.
The event, organized by CCSU graduate Dave Oliveria, and Geography Professor Charles Button, is the longest consecutively running event during the week in the United States, with the purpose of bringing awareness to electric and plug-in vehicles.
Eight different models were present, including the Nissan Leaf, Tesla and Chevrolet Bolt and Volt.
Students and the public were given the opportunity to learn more about how electric cars work from real owners. Among the topics discussed, were charging options, range and acceleration.
Those who attended were also given first-hand experience, including being able to sit inside a car, go for a ride or even drive one themselves. CCSU Senior Morgan Ricci, was one to test drive a Chevrolet Bolt.
“It was really smooth driving,” Ricci said. “It has a setting that automatically slows when you take your foot off the gas pedal. You don’t even have to hit the brake. It was pretty cool.”
Button, an owner for six years, feels electric cars can be beneficial to people of all philosophies, particularly those concerned with the environment.
“You’re not emitting any green-house gases, you’re not contributing to global warming, you’re not contributing to mountain-top removal for coal, you’re not polluting streams,” Button said. “We need to kick what I call a dependence on fossil fuel.”
From his own experience, Button also believes driving electric has its’ economic benefits.
“I have solar panels on my garage. So, I’m generating my own electricity. I have my initial investment in the solar panels, so anything electric is free,” Button said. “You’re going to save money. You can always get panels and become completely independent economically… It may cost more, but if you’re thinking long-term, you’ll come out ahead,” Button said, debunking a frequent deterrent of driving electric.
Button also believes electric cars can be beneficial to those across the political spectrum.
“If you’re a liberal [or an] environmentalist, this keeps you away from being dependent on government subsidies, you’re your own supplier,” Button said. “If you’re a libertarian, it weens you from anyone’s authority. But one thing we can usually agree on is that we want to save money, and this lets you do that… For me, it’s environmental, economic and social. You can not care about the other two, but be concerned about the other and you’re still good.”
CCSU joined the electric car initiative over five years ago, allowing students and faculty to plug in while on campus.