Gauging Electrical Utility Vehicle Performance
At both institutions, users report positive experiences with electric vehicles.
"We have had no maintenance issues, and everyone would rather use one then driving a gas-powered vehicle," Spradling says.
Benson says the response from his staff also has been equally favorable.
"It's been about six years, and we just purchased a couple more about a year and a half ago, and they're actually doing very well," he says. "With any kind of vehicle, you can have this problem or that problem, but they've worked very well for us.
"The only issue we've really had with this particular type of vehicle is finding a local dealer that is able to service and take care of the things we need done. Parts are fine. They just ship the parts in and send somebody to do the repairs. I'm a naval tech myself, and it's fairly simple to figure out. We've got a couple of guys on campus here who are really good in electronics, so we are able to do a lot of stuff."
While managers in some cases have hesitated in committing to electric vehicles because of issues related to keeping the vehicles charged, Benson says his staff has adapted well to the battery technology.
"If you want a two-hour charge, you have to buy a special type of charger, and that was very expensive, so we didn't go for that option," he says. "But we have two vehicles, and they can switch off with the charger. We can have one charging while one is operational."
Adds Askerlund, "We use them from shift to shift. So our daytime people many times will turn them right over to our evening people. So instead of (buying) another charger, we bought another vehicle that rotates through. So one can be charging while the other one is being used. It gives us a little more flexibility."
Benson adds that the issue of run time for the electric vehicles has not caused problems for his staff.
"You can actually run them for two or three days (on a charge)," he says. "You don't have to have a full charge to run a full day, especially with the type of stop and go that they do, picking up parts or transporting tools. So they can actually plug them in for two hours when they're not using them."