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UM-owned electric van at a fleet charging station.

UM’s electric fleet vehicle charging at one of four fleet charging stations.

UM’s path toward zero-emission vehicles

A roadmap of where UM has come and the path ahead in UM’s journey to electrifying its fleet and improving zero emission vehicle infrastructure.

December 15, 2023 — 

The University of Manitoba is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in four different areas: energy and buildings, transportation, waste and land. Through UM Climate Action Plan targets and federal and provincial grants, UM is actively taking steps to expand zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) use on our campuses.

Here’s how UM’s goals are being accomplished, along with plans for a cleaner and greener transportation future for UM students, faculty and staff.

Climate Action Plan

The UM Climate Action Plan (CAP) has guided UM’s transition towards ZEVs. The CAP aims to achieve a 50 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

To achieve these goals, the following targets have been created, specific to the transition of UM-owned vehicles from internal combustion engines to ZEVs:

  • By 2030, 100% of all new, light-duty fleet vehicles and equipment are electric
  • By 2035, all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment are electric
  • By 2050, 100% of the University fleet and equipment are emissions-free

EV charging

The first steps taken to improve UM’s ZEV infrastructure were achieved thanks to a provincial grant from the Conservation and Climate Fund. UM installed six Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in H-lot, ALC-lot and B-lot for student, faculty, staff and visitor use, along with two fleet chargers near the Physical Plant building and a full row of Level 1 charging plugs in Q-lot.

A federal grant, offered through Eco-West, matched with contributions from the UM climate action fund, supported the installation of four Level 2 chargers in the Bannatyne campus parkade in Fall 2023.

Flo EV charger installed against a brick wall in H lot.

One of six public charging stations at Fort Garry campus

ZEV fleet transition

In 2022-23, the Facilities Department traded in several of their gas-powered fleet vehicles for three new electric Ford Transit cargo vans. In March 2023, the University of Manitoba was successful in earning a Zero Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiatives grant through Natural Resources Canada to support the expansion of ZEV use at UM.

The Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Operations and Maintenance and AVP (Administration), has been working to better understand our fleet needs and build awareness of ZEV options. Telematics equipment has now been installed in 130 UM-owned vehicles to gather accurate vehicle-level data on travel distance, fuel consumption, idle times and vehicle run times, with the goal of developing an EV transition plan as part of the UM’s CAP. By better understanding how the UM fleet is used, a more successful and seamless transition to ZEVs can be achieved.

Campus Commute Survey

For the first time this year, respondents answering the Campus Commute Survey were asked about their interest in and concerns regarding electric vehicles. At the time of the survey in January 2023, 4% of respondents currently owned an electric vehicle, while 19% of individuals planned to buy one in the next 1-5 years.

When asked, “What interests you most about electric vehicles?” 40% of respondents answered with doing their part to take climate action, 30% with the cost savings potential and 8% with reduced maintenance requirements & fees. Respondents showed interest in learning more about the performance of EVs in winter months, charging capacity in winter months, home charging options, driving range, vehicle options available, where to park and charge EVs on campus and how the University is moving towards a zero-emissions fleet.

Pie graph of responses to the Campus Commute Survey question of respondents plans to buy an electric vehicle in future.

Results from campus commute survey on likelihood to buy an electric vehicle

Future of ZEVs at UM

Transitioning UM’s fleet vehicles to ZEVs and improving electric vehicle infrastructure on UM campuses takes time and resources. Alongside this physical transformation, UM will be hosting community education sessions through the Office of Sustainability. These educational sessions will focus on addressing questions related to electric vehicles arising in the 2023 campus commute survey.

Special departmental presentations will take place in early 2024 for faculties and units that currently operate fleet vehicles. Social media will continue to be used to generate awareness and knowledge of ZEVs within the UM community.

Stay up to date with all UM ZEV-related information through the Office of Sustainability’s Instagram and monthly newsletter

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