Reaching for sustainability: Electric truck newest addition to University Housing

Wednesday, January 14 2009

Jan. 14, 2009 Written by Tina Deines MOSCOW, Idaho – Sustainability was the focus of the latest purchase by University of Idaho Housing. The department recently purchased a ZX40ST electric work truck from the Miles Electric Vehicle company. This is one of the few electric vehicles on campus, and the first for the University Housing. “This is part of an effort to invest our money in long-term sustainability,” said Tara George, director of facilities. “We are purchasing more effective types of equipment that will last longer, and we have the added bonus that it’s environmentally friendly.” Housing Director Ray Gasser said the decision to purchase the vehicle was two-fold. “At the time of the decision, gas prices were nearly $4 a gallon and we thought it would be prudent to find automobiles that required energy that was less volatile based on price,” Gasser said. In addition, Gasser said, University Housing is working to be more sustainable in its practices. “Utilizing electric vehicles for campus is a more efficient and conscientious way to save students some money and avoid putting additional pollution into the air,” Gasser said. Because the truck is electric, it produces zero emissions. The truck can get 50-60 miles per charge and has a battery life of up to 25,000 miles. With a top speed of 25 miles an hour and a complete charge time of about six hours, the truck is ideal for on-campus use by facilities staff members in the housing department. “Our employees really like it,” George said. “They think it’s really neat that we purchased a ‘green’ vehicle.” The truck was purchased specifically for use of the paint crew supervisor, but may be used by other supervisors as well. “For us, it serves a very practical role in terms of our staff,” Gasser said. George said she encourages all housing staff members to have a look at the truck and drive it around. Feedback on the performance of the truck is important, George said, because she foresees that the department will purchase more electric vehicles in the future. Current feedback has been that the truck is spacious and that it recharges quickly. Employees also have expressed interest in the sustainability of the vehicle. For more information about University Housing, visit # # # About the University of Idaho Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit Media Contact: Tina Deines, University Housing, (208) 885-7883,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit