Cal Lutheran in negotiations to expand EV parking on campus


Infographic by Ryan Van Ommeren

While the university is still in negotiations, the potential new EV parking deal will include 116 charging spots.

Olivia Madera, Reporter

In an assembly faculty meeting, President Lori Varlotta said that Cal Lutheran will provide 116 parking spots specifically for electric vehicle charging in the near future. In an email interview, Director of Campus Safety David Hilke said there are currently 84 registered electric vehicles on campus and those are composed of 38 students, 22 faculty members, 19 staff members and five guests.

“The project remains under negotiation with the utility company [Southern California Edison] and a third party installer that is a private company,” Associate Vice President of Planning and Services Ryan Van Ommeren said.

Van Ommeren said that the plan as of now is to install 20 charging stations in a residential parking lot near North Hall. There will also be 25 charging stations in the administrative parking lot, and 15 stations near the parking lot next to Samuelson Pool. He said that most charging stations will have two electric vehicle chargers and will be universal chargers.

Currently, negotiations still remain but Van Ommeren believes that total expenses will exceed $2 million. Cal Lutheran is hoping to partner again with ChargePoint, an electric vehicle specializing in charging stations, which installed the electric vehicle chargers that Cal Lutheran currently has on campus.

“While we remain hopeful, as of now we do not have an agreement,” Van Ommeren said.

In July, communication professor Ryan Medders bought a new 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5, which is an all-electric vehicle. 

Medders said that he chose his new electric vehicle because it provided good mileage and fast charging capabilities. He also said that it would be cheaper to charge his vehicle at school, which will cost 22 cents per kilowatt per hour, as opposed to charging at his own home, which costs 25 cents per kilowatt per hour.

“I’m looking forward to the ability to drive here to park and to plug in,” Medders said.

As of now, the current electric vehicle chargers at Cal Lutheran are of no use to Medders since he receives free charging for two years with his electric vehicle purchase. But other faculty such as chemistry professor, Katherine Hoffman, who owns a Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, has trouble taking advantage of the electric vehicle parking spots on campus.

“I have often found there were no spaces. Fortunately, I have a backup gasoline and hybrid engine so it’s not a disaster,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said in an email interview she thinks electric vehicles might be the future and she is happy as long as she doesn’t have to keep moving her car due to the lack of electric vehicle parking spots on campus. Medders said  he was excited Cal Lutheran is going to be implementing these new parking spots, but he expresses concern about less parking for the Cal Lutheran community.

“I wish they’d been discussed as part of the campus plan discussions. How inconvenient will they be? How much earlier will I have to arrive to walk across campus?” Hoffman said.

Both Medders and Hoffman explained that the new parking spots might affect students, staff and faculty negatively. Concerns were raised by Hoffman for commuters and faculty who already have limited parking near the Spine, Student Union and Alumni Hall. Despite concerns about losing parking spots and a severe lack of information on the subject, the project to bring the additional 116 electric vehicle parking spots to Cal Lutheran is still underway according to Van Ommeren.

“I see positive outcomes for all of us committing to a greener future,” Medders said.

Hoffman said as Cal Lutheran implements these new changes to a greener future, there will most likely be a positive outcome for the community and the environment surrounding.