Can electric vehicles drive us to a more sustainable future?

Kent State earth sciences professor offers answers to questions about electric vehicles.

"EVs are efficient, clean, inexpensive to operate, and better for the environment overall than fossil fuels," said Joseph Ortiz.

Ortiz, a professor in Kent State University's Department of Earth Sciences, recognizes that people have many questions about electric vehicles. He spoke about the things that someone would want to know if they were considering purchasing a new EV. 

"How far can you drive in an EV? How do you charge your EV? Are there places to charge your EV away from home on a long trip? What financial incentives are there to buy an EV? How do you measure the efficiency of an EV and how does it change with temperature? And what are some trends in EV cost and features that you can expect to see next?" said Ortiz.

As a member of the Campus-wide Sustainability Committee and the Climate Action Planning Committee, Ortiz works with Kent State’s Office of Sustainability to give lectures and organize events like the Solar Tour and EV shows to help people learn about viable options currently available to reduce emissions effectively.

Bringing EVs to the people

One of Ortiz's EV education events will take place on January 20 prior to the Golden Flashes men’s basketball game vs. the Ball State Cardinals at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.  Ortiz will deliver a presentation about “Electric vehicles, sustainability and the Inflation Reduction Act." Following the presentation, Ortiz will be available outside at the MAC Center with a small fleet of electric vehicles and their owners, who can answer questions about the vehicles.

Ortiz said that events like these allow people interested in EVs to examine a collection of electric vehicles and learn about how they can contribute to a more sustainable future. “We want to provide information and opportunities for members of the Kent State and Northeast Ohio communities to learn about electric vehicles and get to see some up close,” Ortiz said.

The Golden Flashes' annual “blackout” game was chosen for this EV event to underscore Ortiz’s message. For the game, fans are encouraged to wear black, and the lights in the arena will be turned off for the pregame intro. “But we can keep the lights going in the real world by reducing emissions and switching to renewables,” said Ortiz. “Driving an EV is part of that solution.”

Ortiz is passionate about sustainability and “walks the walk,” or more appropriately, “drives the drive.” His Kia eNiro will be one of the vehicles on display in front of the MAC Center before the basketball game. Other vehicles scheduled to be on-site before the game include a Tesla Model 3, a Tesla Model Y, a Ford F150 Lightning, a Ford Mustang Mach E, a Chevy Bolt EV and a Volkswagen ID4. 

A student using one of the on-campus EV charging stations.

Kent State has a number of electric vehicle charging stations on campus. Charging is available for a maximum of four hours and hourly payment of the meter is required ($1.00 per hour).

Ortiz recognizes that EVs are part of our transition to more sustainable practices and that there are also many other ways to make that vital move to a more sustainable future. He is teaching a class this spring in the Department of Earth Sciences called “Earth’s Energy Systems,” which explores the ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Students will also learn about renewable energy options that address current, real-world problems.

People who wishing to attend Ortiz's presentation and the blackout basketball  game on January 20 can use promo code ELECTRIC for a $10 ticket, which includes admission to the game, a free t-shirt and entry to Ortiz's  pre-game presentation at 4:30 p.m.

POSTED: Thursday, January 19, 2023 10:17 AM
Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2023 08:46 AM
Phil B. Soencksen