Courtesy of UCI Advanced Power & Energy Program New Scion iQ electric vehicles at Irvine train station, ready for free ride sharing by campus and business commuters Download image

UC Irvine’s car-sharing program charges ahead

Campus is first in nation to receive new Toyota electric vehicles

Irvine, Calif. – A zippy new electric car has arrived at its first American destination, ready for use by commuters to UC Irvine and area businesses.

Thirty 2013 Scion iQ electric vehicles are being added to the UC Irvine-administered Zero Emission Vehicle-Network Enabled Transport fleet, via Toyota’s partnership with the campus’s Advanced Power & Energy Program.

ZEV-NET provides battery-powered transportation for the critical “last mile” of commutes from the Irvine train station to the campus, local offices and meetings. University staff and employees whose companies enroll in ZEV-NET can take a train or bus from home to the Irvine Transportation Center and pick up a zero-emission vehicle in the parking lot for day use.

The Scion iQ EV is a completely battery-powered four-seater designed specifically for car-sharing programs. Ninety of the 100 vehicles produced globally will be placed in U.S. car-sharing demonstration projects.

“We are thrilled that UC Irvine has been selected as the first site to receive the Scion iQ EVs. We have a fine history of partnering with Toyota, which allows us to help shape the ways that electric vehicles can best be used in the future,” said engineering professor Scott Samuelsen, director of APEP, who with fellow researchers tracks the rider data. “This reflects the positive impact of strategic alliances in addressing the nation’s energy future.”

The car features a newly developed high-output lithium-ion battery that delivers an electric power consumption rate of 104 Wh/km in an ultra-compact package. In ideal stop-and-go driving conditions, the 12-kWh battery provides a range of up to 50 miles. The vehicle can be fully charged in about three hours. Its 13.5-foot turning radius makes the car maneuverable in congested areas where streets are narrow and parking is at a premium.

“Mobility is evolving, and Toyota is exploring new business models for future transportation needs,” said Craig Scott, advanced technology vehicle manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. “ZEV-NET helps us understand how electric vehicles are used within an active car-sharing program and the viability of this type of program for future technologies.”

The arrival of the cars coincides with the completion of a formal agreement between APEP and Irvine city officials to expand ZEV-NET into additional parking spaces and to install next-generation battery chargers at the train station.

ZEV-NET has been serving the Irvine community since 2002. This innovative transportation model offers multiple benefits, such as reducing road congestion by enabling more train commuting and replacing short trips made by gasoline vehicles during the workday – trips that produce the most harmful “start-up” emissions. Toyota initially provided 16 first-generation RAV4 electric vehicles to the program, 10 of which are still serving customers. Oakley, Thales and Kofax all have area offices with employees using the zero-emission cars.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,400 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu.

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