Supervisor of Mechanical and Electrical Services Anthony Tuell with the new hybrid Prius.

Supervisor of Mechanical and Electrical Services Anthony Tuell with the new hybrid Prius.

Colby’s newest maintenance vehicle burned just two gallons of gasoline on 139 service trips around campus in its first two weeks in service.

This January, with the support of a grant from Central Maine Power, the Physical Plant Department purchased a plug-in Toyota Prius hybrid. It’s currently being used by campus electricians for routine work orders and repairs. The CMP grant program encourages the use of alternative-fuel vehicles and the reduction of the greenhouse gas impact of business and institutional fleets in Maine.

As part of the grant, Colby is required to collect and share data with CMP so that the electric utility can collate more information on the technology.

Under the data collection agreement, Colby monitors the performance of the vehicle, and initial results are impressive. Of the 139 trips around campus in the first two weeks, 81 used no gasoline at all, with the car simply operating on electric power from its battery.

Though electrically driven cars have limited range because of the storage capacity limits of batteries, Colby is helping to evaluate their utility in the niche market of service vehicles. The short duration of trips and limited range of travel allows maintenance workers to move around campus producing few if any tailpipe emissions.

The plug-in hybrid vehicle is just the latest example of Colby’s commitment to the environment and sustainable operations, and it builds on the College’s achievement of carbon neutrality in 2013.

For more information on the vehicle or program, contact Colby’s Physical Plant Department (207-859-5000) or e-mail the Sustainability Office (sustainability@colby.edu).