U and SLC tackle dirty air by making electric cars easy and affordable

In a joint press conference, the University of Utah and Salt Lake City today announced the launch of an electric vehicle purchase program extending discounts on multiple makes and models of vehicles. The second round of U Drive Electric offers U community members and Salt Lake City community members the opportunity to purchase or lease electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices through Oct. 31, 2016.

This joint program is aimed at improving air quality and community health both today and for future generations. With almost 50 percent of Utah’s urban air pollution coming from tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles represent an important tool for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front.

In the first round of U Drive Electric in 2015, 76 electric vehicles were purchased in less than two months. This year, the program is expanding to include more options, with several additional dealers participating and with a new opportunity to purchase used electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. By maximizing choices, consumers can find the best options that fit their needs.

“The U is committed to improving air quality in the Salt Lake valley and to reducing its carbon footprint,” said President David W. Pershing. “We are excited to yet again offer a program to community members that allows them to participate with us in making a difference in Utah.”

Members of the U community include faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as anyone who has been a visitor or guest at a university event. In addition, the program is available to Salt Lake City residents and individuals who regularly work, conduct business in, or visit Salt Lake City.

“Salt Lake City is thrilled to join the University of Utah and Utah Clean Energy in offering solutions to our community,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “U Drive Electric lowers barriers to owning clean vehicles and will catalyze a sense of unity among participants to help solve our air quality problem.”

To offer this incentive, the U Sustainability Office is coordinating with Salt Lake City and partnering with Utah Clean Energy, a nonprofit, public interest organization that works to drive the transition to a clean energy future. This program is enabled by generous grants from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) and Patagonia Outlet of Salt Lake City.

Car dealers are able to offer a discount because the program drives targeted customer demand during a limited timeframe. To those who enroll through the program, there will be discounts on BEV (battery-electric) or PHEV (plug-in-hybrid electric) car models from BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and additional used car models. Discounts vary by vehicle make and model, but range between 3 percent and 25 percent off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Participating community members can sign up for the program at udriveelectric.org. Once registered, participants work directly with any of the selected dealers to purchase or lease the electric car of their choice. Participants must sign a contract before Oct. 31, 2016, to guarantee the discount.

Interested community members are invited to a workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 6-7 p.m. at the J. Willard Marriott Library on the U campus, 295 S. 1500 East, in the Gould Auditorium. Additional workshops will be hosted throughout Salt Lake City in September and October. More information on all workshops is posted at udriveelectric.org.

Media Contacts

Matthew Rojascommunications director, Salt Lake City
Office: 801-535-6040

Kate Bowmansolar project coordinator, Utah Clean Energy
Office: 801-903-2031

Annalisa Purserassociate director, University Marketing & Communications
Office: 801-581-7295 Mobile: 435-232-0312