Who owns this tiny blue car?

This small van is frequently parked near Orion and looks like it drove right out of a children’s book.
Photo Ilja Bouwknegt

The small blue car is plugged into an equally blue charging station. Who owns the small van, and what is it doing there? Resource searched for the owner.

We begin our quest at the Orion front desk. The receptionist sends us to the sixth floor, to the department PFO, practical facilities support. That is where Tanja Borst works, the enthusiastic driver of the small vehicle.

‘We call it our Tesla. The tiny van is available for the people who work in the practical support division. They set up everything that students use in the practical labs, such as equipment and glass items. We try to have the same equipment available in every education building, but sometimes, additional items are needed. And, occasionally, extra materials need to be picked up at the chair groups. That is when we use our tiny van. We can load a cart and transport it across the campus.’


‘In the past, we used a normal diesel-powered car for all our transportation needs, but when it needed to be replaced, we started looking at electricity-powered alternatives. This is our second EV. It is convenient and easy to drive. It has a scanner that enables you to check in with your card. Only PFO workers are given clearance to use the small van. If you do not have PFO clearance, it will start beeping really loudly. So, you can try, but I advise against it. The tiny van is not terribly fast.’

You always look a bit foolish when you get in

‘You always look a bit foolish when you get in. In the past, we occasionally had to drive it all the way through Wageningen to the Dreijen. With a massive line of cars behind you. Once, a young man called out, “Hey! Nice car!” from his car window. That was nice.’

‘Our “Tesla” is not always charged properly, and when the battery drops below a certain percentage, it simply stops. That can happen when you’re somewhere on the campus, and yes, then we have to push.’

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