According to Professor of Communication and Media Jeroen Jansz, who regularly drives a hybrid car to campus, the stations’ poor performance is causing drivers of electric vehicles to feel tremendously frustrated in the car park. Jansz says that he is very happy that EUR seeks to become a more sustainable place. He himself alternates between public transport and a car when commuting to and from the campus. “Greening the campus is a considerable step forward, but the charging stations for electric cars are disappointing. Sometimes there’ll be three drivers simultaneously trying various charging stations in the car park. Some days we’ll be lucky and find one that works, but often we won’t. Either they’re completely dead (no light), or the green circle turns yellow or red as soon as you hook up the cable.” On a properly functioning charging station, the circle will be blue while your car is being charged.

Thwarted efforts to be green

What Jansz finds all the more frustrating is the fact that it is taking so long for the problem to be solved. After he reported the issue, EUR’s Real Estate & Facilities Unit took up the matter. After some measurements, it was found that two charging stations were not getting any power, while the other stations weren’t working properly. In October, the supplier of the charging stations, Engie, asked a mechanic to come and take a look. The mechanic reported ‘software-related outages and outages due to user error’. Those outages were resolved in late October.

“But I celebrated too soon,” says Jansz. The charging stations still don’t work properly. “The solution only worked for a short while.” Jansz says the problem is just one of the problems the university has grappled with on campus in recent months, such as the cracks in the floors of the Polak Building and the leak in the campus pond. “This problem isn’t as bad as those, but it does prevent us from being sustainable. If you provide a facility like this, you have to make sure it works. It’s very strange that we’ve had this problem for months now.”

Root cause of the problem

According to Jan-Cees Jol, EUR’s Sustainability Coordinator, reports on malfunctioning charging stations are being investigated, but no one is certain yet what is causing the problem. “Along with the Real Estate & Facilities Unit and the energy supplier, we are responsible for the proper performance of the charging stations. Whenever an issue is reported to the Service Desk, we look into it. Yes, it’s true that we’ve recently found that some of the electric vehicle charging stations aren’t working properly, so we’re trying to resolve this issue as soon as possible. We’re trying to identify the root cause of this recurring problem. It’s a pity it’s taking so long, because we’re actually very happy that so many people are using the charging stations, which is in line with our vision of a sustainable campus.”