BMW is providing the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis with ten BMW i3 models for 18 months. According to GreenCarCongress, all but two of the i3 models will be used by UC Davis faculty and staff to rent through the campus’s UC Drive program, which is managed by the Fleet Services department. Project researchers will take ownership of the other two i3s.

Dahlia Garas, program director of the Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center, said the project has four main components. “We’re trying to help the campus electrify. We also want to learn how fleets can incorporate used electric vehicles, which are available at a lower price than newer generations. We are learning more about how to integrate electric vehicles with the grid.”

The final component is understanding users and their experience with the vehicles. Center researchers will be conducting education and outreach with campus departments and UC Drive participants to teach them how the cars work. They will also conduct surveys to determine how people’s opinions change about electric vehicles before and after driving one.

“We’re moving toward a transportation system of reduced personal car ownership. This is one slice of conditioning the market, users and institutions like this university to think along those lines.”

The i3 models provided by BMW are from the Model Year 2015-2016 with a total range of around 80 miles.