Cayuga Community College is one of 26 State University of New York campuses to receive a recent gift of zero-emission electric cars. The new mini-vehicles are expected to reduce pollution, save on fuel, and help promote cleaner options in automotive technology.
Cayuga received three of the 130 Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) cars donated statewide to SUNY by DaimlerChrysler and the New York Power Authority. Already, maintenance workers are using the GEMs to zip around the Auburn campus, carrying tools and supplies that otherwise would be driven in cars or trucks. In many cases, drivers can move materials faster by tucking the snub-nosed GEMs into places where a normal car couldn?t fit and a handtruck would be needed. By fall, the bright yellow-and-white vehicles will frequent city roads, too, running errands into downtown Auburn.
Thomas Nagle, vice president of administration and treasurer for the college, projects a savings in fuel consumption and automotive wear and tear of $1,000 to $2,000 per year.
Statewide, the SUNY system projects a cut in automotive fuel costs of more than 15,000 gallons of gasoline annually. The GEM cars will also enable SUNY to lower emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
“I'm proud of SUNY's and NYPA's role in encouraging the use of electric vehicles, and thank DaimlerChrysler for working with us to improve the environment by expanding the use of alternative energy sources,” said Governor George E. Pataki.
“The GEM electric vehicles are the perfect match for SUNY and many of our public sector customers,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “These low-speed electric vehicles will replace an array of combustion powered vehicles now operating on SUNY campuses.”
The GEM, although smaller than typical cars, seats two or four people. Its five-horsepower motor delivers a top speed of about 25 miles per hour. It meets both National Highway Safety Administration and New York State traffic safety standards for use on private property and on public roads with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. The vehicles are equipped with three-point seat belts, safety-glass windshield, wipers, headlights, turn signals, and mirrors.
The donation marks the entry of Global Electric Motorcars, a DaimlerChrysler subsidiary, in the New York State market. According to Barry Carr, GEM representative, the vehicle's features include zero emissions, lower maintenance cost, greater efficiency, and the ability to operate on narrow thoroughfares such as campus roadways. Recipients of the largest donations were SUNY university campuses at Buffalo and Albany, with 10 vehicles each.
A joint effort between the New York Power Authority and DaimlerChrysler will place 300 zero-emission GEM neighborhood electric vehicles in service at more than 40 locations around New York State. Global Electric Motorcars has established a donation program in cooperation with NYPA to equip state and local government agencies, public parks, state universities and colleges, and other non-profit organizations with non-polluting electric vehicles in an effort to promote clean air and a quieter environment.
NYPA is the nation's largest supplier of electricity for public transportation, supplying the power for New York City commuter and subway trains. The power authority is among national leaders in promoting electric-drive vehicles, with more than 360 vehicles now operating in customer fleets. NYPA electric transportation projects include station cars for commuters, school buses, small urban vehicles, and delivery trucks.