Skip to Main Content


Blink is committed to sustainability.Learn More

How EV Charging Benefits Universities and Communities

Posted 04/12/2024

Installing electric vehicle charging stations at universities is crucial as the United States and the rest of the world shift towards electric vehicles. Providing students, staff, visitors, and donors/VIPs with the ability to charge their EVs on site enhances convenience and supports sustainability initiatives. Furthermore, implementing EV charging infrastructure enables universities to transition their own vehicle fleets to electric models. This initiative not only benefits the university but also positions it as a charging hub within the community, fostering environmental stewardship and advancing technological innovation.

Let's explore the myriad of benefits that installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) at universities brings to the schools and their surrounding communities.

Adoption of new technologies

Universities are renowned for their pioneering spirit when it comes to adopting new technologies. As hubs where innovation thrives, they have a track record of embracing emerging technologies early on. For instance, university campuses were among the first locations in the United States to welcome autonomous delivery robots.

With their dynamic environments, akin to bustling small cities filled with inquisitive minds, university campuses serve as ideal settings for the introduction of new technologies. These innovations become integral parts of young people’s lives as they mature.

EVSE is poised to become essential nationwide and globally. Considering the substantial foot traffic universities experience, they serve as excellent “training grounds” for drivers to acclimate to the concept of using chargers and reimagining refueling methods. This approach fosters a smooth transition towards widespread EV adoption.

Support of sustainability efforts

Universities are often pioneers in driving progress, particularly in sustainability initiatives. EVSE installation stands out as a tangible way to bolster a school’s sustainability endeavors. Notably, the installation of EVSE earns points in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) scoring system, highlighting its significance.

Deploying EV charging infrastructure effectively contributes to curbing a university’s Scope 3 emissions, which stem from external sources indirectly linked to the institution. This includes emissions generated by commuting students and staff, in internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Such measures are crucial as many universities have made official commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encompassing Scope 3 emissions. For instance, numerous universities have pledged to global initiatives like the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). By installing EVSE, universities demonstrate a proactive stance in addressing environmental concerns and signify their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.

One of the significant benefits of installing networked EVSE is the ability to obtain quantifiable evidence of its positive environmental impact. For instance, the Blink Network enables you not only to generate usage reports for your chargers but also to produce a variety of environmental reports. These reports offer valuable insights, such as the amount of gasoline or barrels of crude oil saved by your chargers, which would otherwise have been consumed by traditional ICE vehicles, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. This data provides concrete evidence of the environmental benefits derived from your EV charging infrastructure investment.

Research opportunities

As mentioned earlier, university campuses function as miniature cities,  making them ideal environments for conducting research on evolving technologies, such as EVSE.

For instance, researchers can analyze usage patterns of EV chargers to determine optimal placement and experiment with various methods to inform drivers about their availability, thus refining communication strategies. Moreover, there are ample opportunities for research aimed at optimizing electricity consumption, assessing environmental impacts, and establishing best practices for future EVSE installations.

Given its novelty, EVSE presents significant research potential for both professors and students. For example, the University of California Davis operates its Electric Vehicle Research Center, which investigates various aspects of EVSE and EV driver behavior. Similarly, institutions like the University of Michigan, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and University of Toronto in Canada are establishing EV research centers. Numerous other educational institutions worldwide are also engaged in EV-related research endeavors, equipping the next generation of engineers and technicians with the skills necessary to develop even more advanced EV technologies in the near future.

Here are some examples of ongoing or completed research related to EV technology:

  • Investigating the cost sensitivity and charging preferences of plug-in vehicle drivers.

  • Exploring new EV powertrain topologies to enhance u driving efficiency and EV range.

  • Assessing the emissions impact of electric vehicle adoption on disadvantaged communities.

The presence of EV charging infrastructure on university campuses not only promotes accessibility for EV drivers but also facilitates research initiatives within academic institutions.

Provides additional employee and student benefits

University employees and students enjoy various benefits from their academic institution.  One additional advantage they have is the ability to charge their EVs on campus.  If the university decides to open some of these charging stations for use by the general public, these benefits are extended to the surrounding community as well.

Enable fleet charging

Universities commonly operate their own fleet of vehicles or engage third-party service providers for various purposes such as shuttle services, grounds maintenance, security patrols, and more.

By installing EVSE, universities can transition their vehicle fleets to electric models and also incentivize third-party service providers to follow suit. This move contributes to promoting sustainability and reducing carbon emissions across campus operations.

What type of EV chargers should a university have?

Considering that staff and students often park their vehicles for the duration of their time on campus, Level 2 chargers are likely to be the most common type of EVSE installed by universities. These chargers offer a practical solution for longer parking durations, ensuring vehicles can be sufficiently charged during their stay on campus.

L2 chargers, such as the Blink Series 8 Level 2 EV Charging Station, efficiently charge vehicles within four to eight hours, making them ideal for locations where vehicles are parked for extended periods. These chargers offer flexible payment options and allow you to customize pricing for different user groups. For instance, you can set different rates for students, employees, and other users, or even provide free charging for certain groups while charging others.

DCFC stations, like the Blink 60kW - 360kW DC Fast Charging Stations, are the powerhouses of the EV charging world. They deliver rapid charging, bypassing the EV charger to directly charge the vehicle’s battery in under an hour. These stations are perfect for vehicles requiring quick turnaround times. You have the option to charge premium rates to drivers for utilizing this fast charging service.

Peak and off-peak electricity usage

With the Blink Network, you can adjust rates based on the time of day, allowing you to leverage off-peak electricity rates effectively.

Off-peak electricity, typically occurring during evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays, comes at a lower cost compared to peak usage periods, usually during weekday business hours. By implementing higher fees during peak times when the electricity grid experiences greater stress and lower fees during off-peak times when stress is reduced, you can encourage drivers to adopt off-peak charging practices. This proactive approach aids in maintaining the integrity of the electrical grid.

Off-peak energy rates are usually between 11pm and 7am. Source: US Energy Information Administration

For large campuses like universities, installing a Battery Electric Storage System (BESS) can prove beneficial. Essentially giant batteries, BESS units can be charged during off-peak times and then utilized to power EV chargers during peak times, effectively managing energy usage on campus.

Please note that installing DCFCs and BESS entail a significant investment.

To assist with your EV infrastructure, Blink will collaborate with you to identify and secure any available government funding for EV installations at your school. Begin your search for funding opportunities by utilizing our commercial tool to explore state-level funding options.

We will also guide you through the EV installation process, offering the best practices we’ve developed through our extensive experience assisting businesses, government entities, individuals, and educational institutions with their electric vehicle infrastructure.


As the world shifts towards electric vehicles, universities are uniquely positioned to support this transition. By offering electric vehicle charging facilities for staff, students, visitors, and the local community, you can promote sustainability and provide essential access for EV drivers. Please reach out to Blink Charging today to consult with an electrification expert at no charge and without obligation, to determine the most effective approach to electrifying your campus for EVs.

Share this post