This month, we spoke with Theo Diamantopoulos, the manager of UCSC Fleet Services, about the new Hybrid fleet UCSC has available for rental. Below, Diamantopoulos tells us about the process of converting to hybrid cars, and the people involved in this change.
“In 2017, we were searching for a way to expand our electrical infrastructure at Fleet Services to charge the growing number of customer vehicles that come to us for maintenance. A portable, 100% off-grid solar charging station had come on the market in the last year and we started to do our homework. In October of that year, we purchased one and it immediately dawned on us that our UCruz rental sedans are the most well-travelled cars in the fleet. Why not see if a plug-in hybrid sedan could meet our customers' needs?
We wanted the greenest possible vehicle that could be flexible enough to handle our in town rentals and frequent trips down to Southern California. What we found is that renters could travel around UCSC on solar power pretty much all day. Trips around town are often primarily solar and longer trips throughout California can often get over 40 miles per gallon (MPG) of gasoline. Indeed, the sedan for which we have the first full year’s data, averaged an impressive 13mpg more than its previous strictly internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. Now that all 3 of our UCruz rental sedans are plug-in hybrid, this average savings would translate into taking one ICE rental’s emissions out of the air completely.
Our hope is that, not only will we continue to see these savings continue in our UCruz rental program, but even more of our campus fleet customers will take the experience they have in our rentals and take the plunge in their UC owned vehicles. In the meantime, we now tell our customers that a good portion of their trip will be 'on the sun'. "
Visit Fleet Services to join the fun!