Electric Vehicle

No longer the stuff of science fiction movies, electric vehicles are a reality, and they have arrived at Penn State Berks in the form of a donation of a Nissan Leaf from Eisenhauer Nissan.

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. 

What We're Doing

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. 

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.

Energy generation and consumption data is now available.

How It Works

The way the system will work is that solar panels will generate electricity that is supplied to the grid.  This energy will serve as an "offset" to the energy drawn separately from the grid to charge the batteries in the vehicle.

About the Nissan Leaf®

The Nissan LEAF® gets the equivalent of 126 miles per gallon with zero tailpipe emissions using a 100% electric drive system powered by an advanced rechargeable lithium-ion battery and an 80 kW AC synchronous electric motor. Nine range-maximizing features help the driver go farther on every charge. It can be charged using a 240-volt charging station in about five hours with the 6.6 kW onboard charger. The LEAF also comes complete with a 110-volt charger that plugs into any standard receptacle for overnight charging. 

The Leaf also has zero tailpipe emissions and comes standard with a 110-volt charger that plugs into any regular outlet and an 80 kW AC synchronous electric motor.


Our Partners in Sustainability

  • Eisenhauer Nissan
  • Motech Industries
  • Fronius USA
  • Schneider Electric
  • Colonial Electric
  • Reading Electric Renewables
  • SSM Group