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Morrisville State College Professor Steers Electric Vehicle Research Project as Part of College’s Renewable Energy Efforts

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.—It looks like a typical standard vehicle, but the set of wheels Greg Tyler drives to work has more packed under its hood than the average Ford Escort.

Its internal combustion engine has been replaced by an electric motor, and batteries, 18 in all, while a voltage meter tracks his mileage, making the 1993 sedan a purely electric ride.

Tyler, an assistant professor in Morrisville State College’s Computer and Information Technologies Department, is driving the car as a 10-month research project, part of the college’s ongoing alternate renewable energy efforts.

“I did research and thought driving an electric car would be good for the environment while reducing our dependency on foreign oil,” he said.

Tyler’s work will gauge the cost per mile of driving the vehicle, measure pollution results versus that of an internal combustion engine and determine if it is viable transportation during a Central New York winter.

The converted vehicle, which cost approximately $7,500, including significant components, insurance, registration and repairs, hit the road in late June. His research is in full throttle and it looks like his investment is already paying off.

So far, he calculates he’s cutting the cost of his 24-mile round-trip commute from Cazenovia in half.

Powered by 6-volt lead/acid batteries instead of gasoline, the electric ride goes about 20 miles on a full charge.
On the road, the electric locomotion looks like any other vehicle, except for the “electric” emblems garnishing its sides and the quiet “spaceship” whine when it rides.
But a closer look brings the differences to light.

Instead of pulling up to a gas pump, Tyler plugs into a 110-volt outlet in his garage or Charlton Hall on the Morrisville College campus. A full charge takes about 5 to 6 hours to complete but varies based on vehicle make and model.
There’s also a big difference in maintenance—no oil changes, no fuel or air filters and less moving parts.

Tyler’s environmentally friendly attitude is juiced into other aspects of life. At home, he uses compact fluorescent bulbs and is contemplating adding solar panels.

Although electric vehicles are not available from the major automakers in the United States yet, the idea of them is picking up speed—and there’s no doubt Tyler would be a likely candidate when they hit local lots.

“I will be looking at them and seriously considering a purchase.” he said.

Morrisville State College offers more than 80 bachelor and associate degrees and options including a new bachelor degree in business administration, a bachelor of technology degree in criminal justice and an associate degree in renewable energy technology.

Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.


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Note: There are new electric cars available for sale today, either converted, or built from scratch from alternative manufacturers like the Tesla, but none from a major automaker.