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Driving sustainability ahead

For the past two Homecomings, Fraser Horn (Sci‘89) drove from Toronto to Kingston in his 100 per cent electric Tesla Model S. He was able to just make it to Kingston but had trouble finding adequate charging for his trip home. After last year’s Homecoming, Mr. Horn sent an email to Principal Daniel Woolf .

[EV Charging]
Fraser Horn (Sci‘89) charges his Tesla Model S. Mr. Horn made an initial $4,000 pledge to the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Sustainability Initiative.

“I wrote to Principal Woolf suggesting that there ought to be an electric car charger on campus. I told him I thought universities should be at the forefront of sustainable projects,” says Mr. Horn.

Principal Woolf connected him with the Sustainability Office to explore the idea of installing an electric car charger on campus. Mr. Horn, an electrical engineer and stay-at-home father, made an initial $4,000 pledge. So began the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Sustainability Initiative.

As Sustainability Manager Aaron Ball explains, this initiative fits perfectly with Queen’s goal of creating a sustainable campus by increasing support for alternative modes of transportation. 

“We want to break down the barriers to alternate transportation. For example, more people will ride their bikes if there are lots of bike racks on campus. As electric cars become more popular as an alternate form of transportation, installing a charger on campus will break down another barrier,” says Mr. Ball.

In Kingston there is an electric car charging station near Hwy. 401 at Division Street, one on Princess Street at the Best Western and another at St. Lawrence College, but because of the hours it can take to charge, it’s really only practical to have a charger at your destination, which for Mr. Horn was downtown and the Queen’s University campus. It is logical and fitting that Queen’s, with its highly-respected engineering program that encourages discovery and invention of sustainable products and green initiatives, leads the way in this initiative. 

The two electric vehicle charging stations will be located at the corner of Union and Division streets, in front of the School of Kinesiology, where they will be “visible, accessible, and where we easily can connect to a building to get the power,” says Mr. Ball. They will be used by Queen’s employees and visitors to campus.

The cost of installing the two chargers on campus is $30,000. While Mr. Horn’s initial gift to the program is a good start, more donations are required to make this goal a reality. 

“I’m reaching out to my classmates and others who feel the same way I do, that Queen’s needs to encourage the adoption of sustainable practices,” says Mr. Horn. “I do a lot of driving with my three busy children, so I see the positive impact of using a sustainable and cleaner means to get around.”

He adds: “Things like this may feel small, especially if only one or two individuals are doing it, but collectively, I know, we can make a big difference. The lack of charging infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle ownership but because electricity is everywhere it’s a relatively easy problem to solve.”

To contribute to the EV Charging Station project, visit givetoqueens.ca/sustainableengineering.