Penn State Berks charged up with electric vehicle donated from Eisenhauer Nissan

April 02, 2015

No longer the stuff of science fiction movies, electric vehicles are a reality, and they’re coming to Penn State Berks in the form of a donation of a Nissan Leaf from Eisenhauer Nissan. Pete Eisenhauer, owner of Eisenhauer Nissan, handed the keys to Penn State Berks Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk on April 2 at the Lion Shrine outside the Thun Library.

The acquisition of the Nissan Leaf allows Penn State Berks to realize its goal of operating a solar-powered electric vehicle as part of its sustainability initiatives. The Leaf will operate as part of a solar energy generation and consumption system that includes solar panels, an inverter and a charging station. 

"The gift of the Nissan Leaf from Eisenhauer Nissan provides new and exciting opportunities for Penn State Berks to educate our students and the larger community about sustainability and alternative energy sources,” stated Hillkirk. “We will use the vehicle to highlight the importance of sustainability and link to a number of other solar energy initiatives at Penn State Berks."

With its electricity use offset by the solar array’s energy output, the vehicle will provide an excellent opportunity for students and faculty to conduct research on sustainable technologies and showcase the practical benefits of clean energy. On average, the energy provided to the grid by the solar array will meet or exceed the energy taken from the grid to charge the vehicle’s battery.

Students will monitor how much energy is generated by the solar panels and how much is consumed by the car over the course of time. One of the objectives of the research will be to determine the optimal number of solar panels required to power an electric vehicle driven in the weather conditions that exist in southeastern Pennsylvania. Penn State will make the energy generation and consumption data available to the public via their website:

“When approached about the Penn State Berks sustainability project, we knew we had an opportunity to enhance the program with a unique vehicle like the Nissan Leaf,” explained Pete Eisenhauer. “The vehicle should allow Penn State Berks to conduct research and study the opportunities of alternative fuel vehicles. Since Eisenhauer Nissan is the No. 1 volume Nissan Dealer in Pennsylvania for 2014, we feel it is important to support community projects within our area. We hope the Leaf enhances the Penn State Berks sustainability project and look forward to gaining insight into the data gathered by the University while studying the vehicle.”

In addition to using the car for research and relevant academic courses, the college also plans to use it for recruitment visits to high schools and community colleges throughout the region.

The Nissan Leaf gets the equivalent of 126 miles per gallon with a 100 percent electric drive system powered by an advanced rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and nine range-maximizing features that help the driver go farther on every charge. It can be charged at a 240-volt charging dock, and it takes about five hours to go from empty to a full charge with the 6.6 kW onboard charger. The Leaf has zero tailpipe emissions and comes standard with a 110-volt charger that plugs into a regular outlet and a 80 kW AC synchronous electric motor.

  • Nissan Leaf delivery

    Pete Eisenhauer, owner of Eisenhauer Nissan, donated a Nissan Leaf to Penn State Berks. Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk accepted the keys April 2.  

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    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated April 03, 2015