Dakota Roach –
The Public Safety department at Illinois College has recently invested in a new form of transportation to supplement patrols and enhance the safety of students at Illinois College. The new vehicle, jokingly nicknamed by some students as “The Pope Mobile” for its size, shape, and color, is a low speed vehicle (LSV) that runs on electricity, making it eco-friendly.
This new additional to campus has caught the attention of many students and faculty members at IC, leaving them questioning what the vehicle is and what it is being used for. When asked about the new LSV, Director of Public Safety Jeff Regan stated, “The new LSV is not meant to replace the Public Safety car, but to allow officers campus access they don’t otherwise have.”
Public Safety currently has access to cars and golf carts, but one Public Safety car is in need of repairs or replacement, and thus created the need for a replacement. The LSV is perhaps better than a standard vehicle in that it is capable of driving across campus on the sidewalks and is also street legal. The vehicle comes with four doors, a hard top, sirens, top light, and a PA system.
The new addition to public safety hails from a company called Moto Electric Vehicles in Florida. Traditionally, this vehicle has been used by airports, police, and colleges across the US to increase accessibility and visibility, both of which our Public Safety will be using the LSV for at IC as well. Capable of transporting four people at a time as well as having a small cargo space in the back, the vehicle is useful in a variety of ways.
Having a top legal speed of 25 to 30 miles per hour, this vehicle is not for use off of campus. Being electric, the LSV can hold a charge for roughly two days before needing charged again. Charging ports were installed at the back of Memorial Hall and at the Facilities building. There are currently tentative plans to install ports or provide extension cords for charging the vehicle at Gardner and Tanner. The vehicle is being kept near the lower entrance to Memorial.
When asked about the use of electric vehicles in place of traditional gasoline, Regan commented, “Illinois College is currently expressing interest in expanding its use of electric vehicles for both economic and environmental reasons.” Fortunately for IC, the use of electric vehicles appears to be within budget, as our new LSV is listed online for fifteen thousand dollars, considerably less than the cost of a new car.
With so many benefits, it is only reasonable that there be one downside. While the Public Safety LSV is equipped with all terrain tires, the vehicle is incapable of driving through snow. During the winter the vehicle will be stored in the Lincoln Hall basement to be kept for less snowy weather, and the traditional Public Safety car will be used instead.
The Public Safety “Pope Mobile” is currently in use for patrols across campus, and while there are currently no plans for the purchase of another such vehicle for the department in the near future, there is a fair chance that students will be seeing more electric vehicles as Illinois College expands its vehicular collection.
Dakota Roach, from Jacksonville, Illinois, is a junior majoring in English Literature and Creative Writing. Dakota is a Student Ambassador, an active member of CEA and SAGE, and is a writer for The Rambler.