Fleet More than Doubles: ‘A Transportation Revolution’
Northwestern University is talking up its fleet of ten low-speed electric vehicles at its 240-acre Chicago-area campus, where the climate “ranges from warm summer days to brutal winter chill.”
Northwestern began looking to replace its gasoline powered campus vehicles last year, started with a fleet of four 100% battery-electric GEM brand LSVs from Polaris, and has now boosted the fleet to ten.
“Northwestern challenged facilities leaders to uphold high standards of sustainability while providing the most flexible year-round transportation possible for its maintenance staff,” states a release.
‘Zero-Emissions, Street-Legal and Versatile’
“Gas savings was a contributing factor, but decreasing greenhouse gas emissions was the real reason for moving to electric vehicles,” Northwestern procurement analyst Samantha Kustra says in the university’s GEM release. “GEM gives us a zero-emissions, street-legal and versatile vehicle with a range that allows our staff to get anywhere on campus,” she said.
The GEM LSVs couple zero emissions with lower operating costs than gasoline-powered vans or trucks, hand have enough range “to move around the large campus as needed.
“The ability to use roads or drive across turf and other terrain provides flexibility not found in golf carts and other options,” Northwestern says.
“When we initially started looking into electric utility vehicles, safety and versatility were key. Two of the major requirements were that they be street legal, but also that they could be driven on lawns,” Kustra says.
“Both requirements have been met with our new GEM fleet.”
The 1400-pound payload allows operators to carry “all kinds of equipment and people anywhere we need to go.”
‘A Local, Single Point of Contact’
“There is a transportation revolution happening,” the University says.
Northwestern worked with a commercial sales representative from Polaris, who acted as a liaison between our procurement department and a local GEM dealer, making for “a local, single point of contact for future needs and ongoing fleet maintenance.”
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Source: Northwestern University with Fleets & Fuels follow-up
Northwestern University has boosted an original fleet of four 100% battery electric Polaris GEM vehicles to ten.