Pair of Innova Dash UEVs

A pair of Innova Dash UEVs. Photo courtesy CSU.

As one of the major research universities in the U.S., Colorado State University (CSU) has been chosen to receive four Innova Dash all-electric micro vehicles, from Internet2 and Innova UEV LLC, the vehicle’s Illinois-based manufacturer, in a year-long pilot program, according to a CSU press release. Three other universities, chosen from among 11 applicants, will also be receiving the vehicles: the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Washington, and the University of Wisconsin. The cars will be delivered in August.

At CSU, the little Dash University Electric Vehicles (UEVs) will be used in two ongoing research projects. In one, a grant from the Electric Power Research Institute makes it possible for researchers to analyze data from plug-in electric vehicles. The data include such elements as how people are charging the cars, how far they drive off campus, and how much traffic and parking are displaced by the cars, CSU writes. The other project is funded by the Bohemian Foundation and involves educational outreach to local students in grades kindergarten through 12.

The university currently has charging stations for six electric vehicles on campus and plans to add four more by August, the press release says. It quotes Scott Baily, director of Academic Computing & Networking Services (and a principal investigator on the Innova project) as saying that having the Dash cars as part of the university pool of vehicles will make it possible for campus employees to “choose a unique and innovative” option when making off-campus trips.

Baily goes on to say:

‘We are really excited about this opportunity to exploit CSU’s exceptional commitment to sustainability, research, and technology. We can capitalize on established research techniques to monitor, store and analyze vehicle performance data; accelerate our goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; and explore the nuances of integrating electric vehicles into the daily lives of faculty, staff and students.’

Internet2, a research and education community, was “[c]reated by R&E (research and education) leaders in 1996 to continue the legacy of University-based excellence in the development of the Internet,” according to its website. The UEVs will be available for general use on campus and will provide a connected low-carbon-footprint transportation alternative, Internet2 writes. They will feature advanced technologies such as “eduroam®,” which enables Wi-Fi connectivity to make possible communication between campus vehicles. That technology also lets the vehicles transmit data about such things as position, speed, and battery charge in real time to a central server to be analyzed for research projects.

Those on campus who drive the cars will be able to use their campus credentials to log in, reserve, and activate the cars, and also to provide comments on how the cars perform, Internet2 writes. A mobile app will tell users when cars are available and where they’re located. In addition to providing the vehicles in the pilot program, Innova is also giving a modest “campus coordination” stipend to each campus, Internet2 writes.

The Dash University Electric Vehicle is 100% electric and emissions free. It provides an average annual operating savings of $2,042 and 533 gallons of gas as compared with gas-powered vehicles, according to AAA, Internet2 writes. The 92-inch-long Dash is 50 inches wide, weighs 1,080 pounds with batteries, and has a 4.1 KW electric motor. The car has a maximum speed of 35 mph and plugs into any standard garage 240-volt outlet at a cost of less than 25 cents per day to operate, CSU writes. The vehicle has an estimated 100-mile range, CSU adds.

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