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U of U Electric Car Discount Program Expands To Broader Community

Whittney Evans
From left to right, University of Utah President David Pershing, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright.

Salt Lake City and the University of Utah are partnering to offer consumer discounts on electric vehicles. Together, they’ve negotiated prices with area car dealerships in an effort to get cleaner cars on the road.

U Drive Electric launched in 2015, providing university students, faculty and staff discounts on electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Sarah Wright is executive director of Utah Clean Energy, a non-profit that’s helped to make the program possible. This year, she says the program is open to pretty much anyone who works, lives or learns in the Salt Lake area.

“We want to make this as widely available as possible, so that we can start to transition to a cleaner fleet and make it easier and simpler for those that are ready to move to an electric vehicle to do so,” Wright says.

Those who are interested in buying an electric vehicle can sign up at, and get a discount code to present to participating dealers. Discounts vary but range between 3 percent and 25 percent. The prices are listed on the website.

About half of Utah’s air pollution is caused by tail pipe emissions.

University of Utah President David Pershing says U researchers are studying ways to address Utah’s air quality problems and U Drive Electric can be another part of the solution.

“We want to be innovative in what we do and we want to work toward making a healthy environment for our entire community,” Pershing says.

Seventy six electric cars were purchased in the first two months of the program in 2015. Officials want to double that number in 2016.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski says U Drive Electric helps bridge the city’s sustainability divide, by providing options for people who may otherwise not be able to afford cleaner transportation. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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