Centre goes green with electric golf carts
RELEASED: August 14, 2008
DANVILLE, KY—Centre College recently purchased seven EZ-Go brand electric golf carts for use by the facilities management and public safety departments.
Wayne King, director of facilities management, initiated the project.
"We're always trying to be as energy efficient as possible, and with increasing gas prices, we were spending about $120 per month for each of the mini-vans and small pickups we use for service vehicles," he says. King located a dealer in Lawrenceburg, Ky., that sells the electric carts that are coming off lease from golf courses. With new seats that double as flatbeds, electric lights and a warranty, the carts average less than $3,000 apiece.
"So far everyone has been pleased with them. We only have to charge them once a week, and so far we've gotten great service," King says.
In the past, the facilities management department purchased high-mileage, used vehicles for $2,000-$3,000 apiece. These vehicles typically lasted eight to 10 years. With rising gas prices and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, the cart project couldn't have come at a better time, King says.
One concern some had was that the electric carts wouldn't have the hauling capacity of a traditional vehicle or the service range of a gas-powered golf cart. But so far, that hasn't been a problem. The grounds crew will continue to use the gas-powered utility vehicles for necessary larger hauling and towing capacity.
John Cuny, vice president for finance and treasurer, says the electric carts also improve productivity.
"With the ability to drive on sidewalks that are closer to buildings, we've reduced the time to deliver supplies and make service calls," Cuny says. "The decision to purchase the electric carts was based on a projected four-year payback from reduction in gasoline costs alone. Additional savings in oil, tires and general maintenance will make this an even better investment."
The Public Safety department traded in its gas-powered golf cart for the electric version.
Says Kevin Milby, director of campus safety, "We've used a golf cart for several years, and we like the close contact it gives us with the students and community. But our old one was just about worn out. These new electric carts are simpler to maintain and cheaper to operate."
Roy Platt of Sodexho is considering an electric cart for catering and to move supplies between Chowan, the grill in Combs Student Center, and Jazzman's café in Sutcliffe Hall.
The carts are restricted to city streets and sidewalks and aren't allowed on state-maintained roadways. With most students away for the summer, crowded sidewalks have not been an issue. In addition, the carts may be uncomfortable during the colder months, but they are anticipated to be used eight or nine months a year.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422