Credit: Cal Poly News | Courtesy

Cal Poly has added nine fully electric vans to its campus fleet this month — one step toward the university’s goal of carbon neutrality.

Manager of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability Chad Worth shared his insights into the efforts and the importance of the new electric vans.

“We have a variety of goals on campus, but generally, our current goal date for fully adopted carbon neutrality is set for 2050 for the university,” Worth said. “The adoption of the fleet is certainly in alignment with our carbon neutrality goals regardless of what date we may or may not advance to.” 

Cal Poly’s approach to transitioning to electric vehicles involves replacing older vehicles with sustainable electric options. The vans replaced gas trucks that the university bought in the 1990s, according to a news release. These nine cars will go toward Facilities Management and Development for electrical, carpentry, painting work and more.

“Our plan is to go electric as soon as we can,” Worth said. “As old vehicles break down, we will replace them with electric, whenever possible.”

The university is interested in the developing market of electric vehicles, particularly with work vans and trucks. 

“In addition to being the right thing to do, it will save money in the long term with operation and maintenance costs,” Worth added.

The university believes it will save money in the long run due to the extensive costs that come with maintaining a standard vehicle. Meanwhile, the first maintenance of the new electric fleet is scheduled for five years.

Cal Poly has implemented a procurement policy that prioritizes considering electric or hybrid alternatives when purchasing vehicles. 

“When buying a vehicle, we first assess if there’s an equivalent electric option. If not, we consider an equivalent hybrid option,” Worth said. “If neither is available, we prioritize the most fuel-efficient car.”