All posts by cleantransportation

Electric Vehicle Drivers Share Their Experience of Going Electric

The electric frontier is rapidly expanding as more and more automotive brands begin producing electric models of their latest cars. This means the type of automotive owner who drives electric vehicles (EVs) is also expanding. Recently, we interviewed five electric vehicle drivers about their experiences with driving electric.

MEET THE DRIVERS

Lisa Etnyre Boneham

Lisa Boneham is a Business Consultant in Sales, Marketing and Public Relations. She purchased her first EV in 2019, a Tesla Model 3 which is her EV of choice to this day. “Compliments of a friend who was a Tesla owner, I toured the Tesla Factory in early 2019. Going into the factory tour, I was only slightly interested in learning about electric vehicles. Coming out of the tour, I was sold, and had to have my own Tesla,” Boneham exclaimed. 

Boneham’s favorite place to charge is in her garage, although she also enjoys the Tesla Super Chargers she finds on the road. “My greatest joy is probably the money I save by plugging my car in to charge vs. paying for gas at the gas station,” said Boneham.

Boneham’s longest electric road trip so far was 560 miles roundtrip. “I know I could easily drive across the country hassle free because of the availability of charging stations and the fact that charging stations are located near food, shopping, restrooms, etc.” Boneham said. She typically drives 15,000 electric miles per year.

Helen DiPietro

Helen DiPietro first purchased an EV in 2016 and currently drives a 2019 Nissan LEAF, her EV of choice. DiPietro is an office manager for the NC State College of Engineering. Her favorite place to charge her EV is in her driveway.

DiPietro drives between 8,000 to 10,000 electric miles each year. “My longest trip in mileage and time was from Raleigh to Boone,” she said. The trip took 12 hours and about 200 electric miles. 

“I was initially impressed with EVs’ quick response (still one of my favorite aspects), brake-regeneration feature, comfort, quietness and reduced maintenance. Since then, I have appreciated my Nissan LEAF’s remote climate conditioning– turning air conditioning on in the summer to cool the car before driving and turning the heat on in the winter to warm up the car,” DiPietro said.

Dave Erb

Dave Erb purchased his first EV in 2016, but he worked on projects focused on electric vehicles dating back to 1992. Erb had a long career as an automotive engineer and came from the heavy truck and transit bus industry. He is a retired UNCA Mechatronics Engineering Faculty and also served on the Asheville Transit Committee until he reached term limit. 

Erb and his wife own two EVs: a 2015 Chevy Spark EV (Erb’s EV of choice) and a 2019 Tesla Model 3. “They’re polar opposites on the EV spectrum, and each just about perfectly suited for the way we use it,” Erb said. He typically drives 16,000 electric miles per year and his favorite place to charge is at his “beyond net-zero” solar powered home.

The pair made their longest electric road trip in the Tesla. Erb and his wife drove 2,900 miles from Asheville to Minneapolis to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Ohio and back to Asheville. “We passed (without using) as least as many Tesla Superchargers as we used, and got quite a bit of our charging for no extra cost at the hotels where we stayed,” Erb explained.

“Any sustainable transportation system has to center around electrified powertrains, so I’ve made that my specialty since the mid-1990s. The most notable societal drivers for going electric are noxious emissions (criteria pollutants), energy supply, security and cost, and greenhouse gas emissions. There are also numerous purely automotive reasons to electrify including noise, vibration and harshness, driver feel, packaging flexibility and acceleration performance. By most measures, EVs are just better vehicles, so the decision to drive them kind of makes itself,” Erb noted.

Chris Maxwell

Chris Maxwell is a Computer System Administrator at NC State University and purchased his first EV in 2016. Maxwell drives a 2021 Energica Motorcycle, his EV of choice. Harley-Davidson dealerships are his favorite place to charge. Maxwell said, “They welcome everyone and usually have shaded outdoor seating.”

Maxwell drives between 20,000 to 30,000 electric miles each year. His longest electric-powered road trip was over 3,740 miles long from start to finish, from Raleigh to Dallas and back.  

Maxwell loves the convenience and ease of charging his motorcycle while on the road. “The great thing about an EV is you can unplug a soda machine at any old gas station to charge – electricity is everywhere,” said Maxwell.

Dianna Tarallo

Dianna Tarallo, a Meetings & Events Professional, purchased her first EV in 2017 and drives an average of 10,000 electric miles each year. Tarallo’s favorite place to charge is at her home, where she had adequate power to install a Level 2 charger. 

Tarallo’s EV of choice is a Chevy Bolt, which she loves for its fast pick up and speediness. On the road, Tarallo uses apps like PlugShare to locate nearby chargers and see reviews and tips from other EV drivers.

In the first month of owning an EV, Tarallo took her longest road trip up the east coast from Virginia to Massachusetts and back, over 1,000 miles. Tarallo had some advice for those considering going electric: “Don’t be intimidated by going electric! After getting the hang of your range and taking a ‘practice’ road trip or two, you’ll never look back. It’s exciting to feel like you’re already a part of the future.”

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Today’s EVs are fully capable of serving as your only vehicle, and each of these drivers found the perfect one to fit their needs. If you’re interested in clean transportation technologies, electric and hybrid vehicles, then explore what’s best for you at www.fuelwhatmatters.org

Stay tuned for more EV driver profiles and in-depth videos featuring everything EVs have to offer!

NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program Advances Technologies and Public Education

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)’s Clean Transportation program propels the development, awareness and use of alternative fuels and advanced transportation technologies. Our clean transportation program’s outreach and education initiatives include workshops, meetings, conferences and communication campaigns highlighting the benefits of using clean transportation technologies- from alternative fuel to sustainable fleet management.

Currently, the clean transportation team is hosting weekly webinars through the Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series, a collaborative partnership with NAFA Fleet Management Association and The 100 Best Fleets, to share the best practices and information on the latest fleet technologies. 

Heather Brutz staff profileThe clean transportation team also provides technical assistance in the form of training and fleet assessments. Heather Brutz, Finance and Operations Manager for the clean transportation program, was on a team that conducted a quantitative analysis evaluating the potential impacts of alternative fuel vehicles on transportation revenue in North Carolina. “My analysis showed that the current electric vehicle fee covers the lost revenue from the gas tax that electric vehicles do not pay because they do not use gasoline,” Brutz said.

John Bonitz staff profileNCCETC’s staff helps to diversify fuel supplies, reduce emissions and support cleaner air and greater energy security. John Bonitz, a specialist on the clean transportation team, assists in administering federal funding through the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) project which focuses on reducing transportation-related emissions. The CFAT project is funded with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds provided by the NC Department of Transportation. Bonitz supports the CFAT project by alerting fleets when applications open, processing these applications and collecting quarterly reports. 

Bonitz is also a part of the first electric cooperative demonstration of a new electric-vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charger created by Fermata Energy. This electric vehicle (EV) charger does more than power an EV – it’s bi-directional, which means it can pull the power from the vehicle’s batteries back into the electric grid. Last year, Fermata Energy asked Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Ahoskie, North Carolina to help demonstrate this V2G charger using the co-op’s two leased Nissan Leaf EVs. “Working with Roanoke Electric Cooperative to document their demonstration of dollar values from a bi-directional charger has been, by far, the most rewarding project yet,” Bonitz said. 

Rick Sapienza staff profileNew transportation technologies are always on the horizon and U.S. fleets are currently in a frenzy to electrify, according to Richard Sapienza, Director of the Clean Transportation program. So, the clean transportation team recently hired two new clean transportation specialists.  “I welcome the expertise and assistance of our two new hires, Lisa Poger and Alrik Lunsford,” Sapienza said. “Both have significant and relevant industry experience and can hit the ground running.”

Sapienza has more than 35 years of industry experience under his sleeve and strives to support public and private fleets as well as the public consumer, giving them the knowledge to make informed decisions. For 2021, Sapienza is looking forward to doing more public education through webinars, conferences and demonstration events. Sapienza explained, “The reach and impact that these events have across the industry makes me proud to be involved in this important effort.”

GET TO KNOW THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE TEAM

Lisa Poger, Senior Clean Transportation Specialist

Lisa Poger is an environmental scientist and has worked for regulated electric utility industries for 15 years. She has assisted in several programs centered around electric vehicles and their implementation through outreach and education efforts to advance transportation adoption across the state.

What kind of expertise are you bringing to/focusing on at the Center?

I bring a utility perspective to NCCETC for transportation electrification.

What experience in the clean energy industry have you previously had?

I have over a decade of experience in the utility and electric generation industry with a focus on renewables and demand response, identifying and creating new opportunities for cleaner energy solutions. Prior to joining NCCETC, I managed electric transportation projects and led the statewide electric vehicle collaborative, Plug-in NC, at Advanced Energy North Carolina. Plug-in NC brought together industry stakeholders to identify and address barriers affecting electric transportation market transformation.

Alrik Lunsford, Clean Transportation Specialist

Alrik Lunsford is native to Durham, NC and received his bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and Design from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He’s also an alum of North Carolina Central University, where he received a post graduate degree in Public Administration. 

What kind of expertise are you bringing to/focusing on at the Center?

I am an experienced grant writer with an array of education and marketing strategies to foster both learning and partnerships. My expertise lies in design and product branding, attention to detail and the ability to foster relationships with other organizations. 

What experience in the clean energy industry have you previously had?

Previously, I oversaw Clean Fuel Advanced Technologies grant activities while serving as an Education and Outreach partner to NCCETC. During this time I increased stakeholder awareness of clean energy practices through publications, facilitating training, workshops and grant writing.

I also co-facilitated Rural Planning Organization transportation meetings that determined transportation project funding for local counties. The information gleaned from these presentations helped guide local elected officials and technical staff on both high and low priority issues governed by the NC Department of Transportation statutes and policies.

The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: State Lawmakers Focus on Incentives, Fees, and Government Procurement in Q1 2021

Raleigh, NC – (May 6, 2021) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q1 2021 edition of The 50 States of Electric Vehicles. The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

The report finds that 48 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q1 2021 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to rebate programs, additional fees for electric vehicles, and state procurement of electric and zero-emission vehicles. A total of 521 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q1 2021, with the most active states being Massachusetts, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Hawaii.

Q1 2021 State and Utility Action on Electric Vehicles

The report discusses three trends in electric vehicle actions taken in Q1 2021: (1) utilities requesting approval for new electric vehicle program portfolios, (2) state lawmakers considering road usage fees and taxes on electricity used for vehicle charging, and (3) policymakers addressing government procurement of electric vehicles.

“Funding for transportation infrastructure continues to be a hot topic at state legislatures, with many states evaluating additional registration fees for electric and hybrid vehicles,” observed Autumn Proudlove, Senior Policy Program Director at NCCETC. “This year, however, we’ve also seen a lot of states exploring road usage fees and taxes on the electricity used to charge electric vehicles.”

State & Utility Electric Vehicle Actions 2018 – 2021

The report notes five of the top policy developments of the quarter:

  • New Jersey regulators approving electric vehicle programs for Atlantic City Electric and PSE&G New Jersey;
  • Virginia lawmakers approving electric vehicle rebate and grant programs;
  • The Colorado Public Utilities Commission approving a modified transportation electrification plan for Xcel Energy;
  • The Oklahoma State Legislature adopting a tax on electricity used for vehicle charging at certain types of charging stations; and
  • Kansas and North Dakota legislators exempting charging stations from public utility regulation.

“State lawmakers appear to be making up for many of their COVID-shortened 2020 legislative sessions, introducing more than 350 bills in the first quarter of 2021 to encourage the continued transition to electric vehicles,” noted Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC.

View the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q1 Update Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q1 Update FULL Report

View other 50 States Reports – Solar, Grid Modernization and Electric Vehicles

 

ABOUT THE N.C. CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY CENTER

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, sustainable energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the  Center, visit: http://www.nccleantech.ncsu.edu. Twitter: @NCCleanTech

2021 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Winners Share Their Story

In the fourth year of the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)’s “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest, students in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school submitted their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state. Students were asked to create art focused on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep the air clean. NCCETC congratulated three artists located in Black Mountain, Hampstead and Cary, N.C.

Heather Brutz, Finance & Operations Manager of the Clean Transportation Program at NCCETC, and leader of the art contest, said her goals were to educate the public about what steps we can take to improve air quality, as well as engage young people’s creative talents to help get the word out. Brutz said she originally came up with the Student Art Contest while recalling a previous job as a middle school teacher and hoped that the contest would engage young people’s creativity to help spread the message about ways we can reduce air pollution from vehicles. 

“When I was a teacher, I would often try to engage students in a variety of different ways to teach a lesson. I applied that same thinking when I came up with the idea of the art contest. I wanted to engage a different audience than we sometimes engage in our other educational activities and I wanted to engage them in a different sort of activity than what we were already doing,” Brutz explained. “Artwork is so powerful and I wanted to work together with young artists to spread the message about ways we can keep our air clean.”

This year’s artwork was judged by a panel of four judges: Carla Davis, communications coordinator for NC State University’s Sustainability Office; Erin Champion, academic coordinator for the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State University; Traci Rider, assistant professor of architecture in the College of Design at NC State University; and Vincent Fazzio from Lamar Advertising. All of the winners selected by the judges were also voted in the top three artwork in their categories on NCCETC’s Facebook page.

The Center received a great number of submissions from students across the state. Brutz said, “I am very pleased at the number of submissions we received this year. We received 70 art submissions from all across North Carolina. It was a very competitive contest, and while we were only able to choose three winners to have their artwork displayed on billboards, every single young artist who submitted should feel proud of their artwork.”

We talked to winners of the contest about their artwork and what clean air means to them:

Ella Millwood – Elementary School Winner | Black Mountain Elementary School, Black Mountain, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I wanted to enter because I wanted everyone to see what the world could become. 

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

That people should help keep our air clean.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

I think it is important because if the air is really polluted, we wouldn’t be able to breathe and there would be very little life on earth.

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

We walk and carpool whenever possible. 

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was surprised! I didn’t think I would actually win.

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

People to stop polluting our air and realize what the world could be.

Anything else you’d like to share.

I think that’s all!

Vivienne Butanis – Middle School Winner | Surf City Middle School, Hampstead, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I wanted to enter the Student Art Contest because I wanted to express my disdain for the way we are treating our environment. It was an art class assignment to connect our art class to science. It was a way for me to see how I could interpret the current conditions of our environment into an art piece. 

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

My artwork is trying to express how badly we are currently treating the environment. My artwork depicts our earth from two points of view: the first point of view shows where the air is polluted, and another point of view of how our environment might look if taken better care of.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

Keeping our air clean is important to me because at the rate we are burning fossil fuels and destroying the ozone layer, the earth won’t be inhabitable much longer which is a big part of why taking care of the environment is vital. We are not protecting the environment for just ourselves but for generations to come.

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

I like to ride my bike and skateboard so I can get to places without having to increase my carbon footprint. It’s easier to get around in a coastal community only using a skateboard and a bike.

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was very surprised and happy because I saw this contest as a good opportunity to put myself out there. My teacher says that art is not meant to be hidden in a drawer. We should put our work out there to cause a change. Sometimes that change is as simple as a thought.

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

I hope that people can see the current state of our environment and strive to make it better. Hopefully it will spark a change in everyone. We can not do everything but we can all do something.

Anything else you’d like to share.

Thank you for the opportunity of this contest that allows us to connect and reach people outside of our communities. 

Ashleigh Smith – High School Winner | Cary Academy, Cary, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I entered the contest because I thought that it provided a unique opportunity to spread an important message, and as an artist I really love to use my artwork to help out in my community if I can. It was also just really fun to make!

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

There is a really nice greenway near my house and my family and I love to use it to get some exercise or a breath of fresh air by walking, running, skateboarding, or riding our bikes. I was inspired by that greenway and my brother’s love for mountain biking to create a piece that incorporated both and displayed a love for the beauty of nature and the outdoors, which will hopefully help convince people to help keep their air clean.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

The state of our environment is more important to how we live our lives than I think a lot of people realize. If we care for our environment, it will care for us too and that can be as simple as carpooling with a friend or riding your bike to the store instead of driving. 

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

Yes! I take regular walks with my mom around our neighborhood, and I always try to organize a carpool when going someplace with friends because it’s both environmentally-friendly and fun.

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was so surprised, I couldn’t believe it! Everyone who submitted artwork is really talented and I’m glad that my work could be among theirs as well. 

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

I hope that it will inspire people to see the beauty and opportunities that nature holds, and further strive to understand how and why we need to take care of the air. 

Anything else you’d like to share.

Special thanks to my brother for modeling for me, as he is actually the person on the bike silhouetted in my art piece. He let me take pictures of him riding and then I used them to create my work.

Electric Vehicles Are Paving the Way for Emission-Free Transportation

Electric vehicles are gaining popularity as the cost of batteries continues to decrease, and many are beginning to gravitate towards them to not only help save the environment but also to help them save money. Electric vehicles (EVs) are transforming the automotive industry worldwide, with global sales increasing by 43 percent in 2020.

Dave Erb

Today, EVs offer many more advantages than just helping drivers decrease their carbon emissions. ”There are numerous purely automotive reasons to electrify, including noise, vibration and harshness, driver feel, packaging flexibility and acceleration performance,” Dave Erb, a retired automotive engineer who has been driving an EV since 2016, noted.

A study by the University of California Berkeley (UCB) found that electric heavy-duty trucks are already cheaper to own and operate than an internal combustion engine (ICE) truck, and light-duty EVs will hold a total cost of ownership advantage within the next five years.

UCB is not the only observer predicting lower prices, Bloomberg New Energy Finance published their prediction last year that EVs will reach up-front price parity, without subsidies, directly competing with prices for internal combustion vehicles by the mid-2020s.

EVs require less expensive and less frequent maintenance and offer high quality performance, known for operating smoothly and quietly while also providing more torque and agility while driving. “By most measures, EVs are just better vehicles, so the decision to drive them kind of makes itself,” Erb said.

Chris Maxwell

Although some believe recharging EVs is more troublesome than refueling at a gas station, many EV drivers actually find it to be more convenient. Chris Maxwell purchased his first EV in 2016 and drives up to 30,000 miles every year. “The great thing about an EV is you can unplug a soda machine at any old gas station to charge – electricity is everywhere,” Maxwell explained. He doesn’t worry about the range, because he can easily find electricity to recharge.

Range can also be a concern for drivers to switch to electric vehicles, but average electric vehicle range continues to increase while the price of all models continues to decrease. The UCB study states, “In the near future, when the average EV range increases, nearly 98 percent of all daily trips can be taken on a single charge.” By 2025, a number of EV models will be able to provide a range of 350 miles on a single charge, the same average range of light-duty ICE vehicles.

Drivers who purchase an EV are also eligible for tax credits and incentives for making the green choice. Many electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles purchased new are eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. In North Carolina and many other states, qualified EVs may use HOV or carpool lanes, regardless of the number of occupants, allowing them to bypass high congestion traffic areas.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), maintained by NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)’s Energy Policy & Markets team, reported that 50 states plus the District of Columbia took a total of 598 policy and deployment actions related to EVs and charging infrastructure in 2020. Their 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2020 Annual Review identified the top ten EV trends which included state policymakers adopting bold EV targets, encouraging charging infrastructure development at multi-family buildings and states & utilities offering additional incentives for low-income customers.

NCCETC Clean Transportation Specialist John Bonitz noted, “With EV’s already lower operational costs, and price-parity predicted with gas vehicles in the next couple years, electrification is an increasingly compelling consideration for many fleet owners.”

The future of EVs is bright as more and more automakers continue electrifying their vehicles. Electric pick-up trucks are on the horizon, too, with Tesla, Ford, Rivian, General Motors, GMC-Hummer, Lordstown Motors and more expected to release models in the next few years.

Vote Now: “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Polls Open

The polls are open for the “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest – vote now for your favorites!

Vote for your favorite art in each age category (kindergarten through high school). Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep our air clean. Examples: walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using electric vehicles or biofuels, and more.

Winners in each category will be featured on billboards across the state!

The contest poll closes at midnight this Sunday, May 9.

Winners will be announced soon. Stay tuned on nccleantech.ncsu.edu and FuelWhatMatters.org. For more information or any questions, email Amira Ferjani at aferjan@ncsu.edu.

Submit Your Artwork for the 2021 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state

Show how you can help keep the air clean for Earth Day this year!

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has officially launched the 4th Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest, where students in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state!

Students’ artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep our air clean. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using electric vehicles or biofuels, and more. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org.

The winner will be chosen based on:

  • Relevance and appropriateness of the message
  • Visual design
  • Public votes on our Facebook account (link to vote to come once all submissions are received)

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended.

Recommended dimensions:

  • 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
  • 400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi 
  • Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Text may be added on final billboards with the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline.

Art submissions will be accepted through Sunday, May 2. Please submit here or by emailing Amira Ferjani at aferjan@ncsu.edu. Public voting will begin Monday, May 3 and last through Sunday, May 9 – stay tuned for a link to vote once all submissions have been submitted!

Artists who are over 18 or parents/legal guardians submitting on behalf of their children can submit artwork by directly emailing Amira Ferjani at aferjan@ncsu.edu. You are agreeing to the legal terms below. Teachers submitting artwork on behalf of their students must return a signed permission form.

Winners will be announced in May. Stay tuned on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters.org!

For more information, questions or if you submitted artwork in last year’s contest, please email Heather Brutz at hmbrutz@ncsu.edu.

Roanoke Electric Leading the Way in Savings with Proven EV Technology

This article is based on reporting from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, by Cathy Cash.

Early results from the first electric cooperative demonstration of a new electric-vehicle-to-grid charger show promise that such systems can help reduce peak demand and save members money.

Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Ahoskie, North Carolina, is demonstrating a special electric vehicle (EV) charger that can do double duty: It can both energize an EV and use the car’s batteries to feed power back to the electric grid.  This bidirectional, or V2G, capability could help utilities avoid peak power costs by tapping into the lower-priced energy stored by an EV during nighttime or off-peak hours.  “The overall goal is to stabilize our rates, become more efficient as a utility and prove new ways to save our members money,” said Curtis Wynn, president and CEO of Roanoke Electric, which serves about 14,000 members.

The Fermata FE-15 bidirectional charger at Roanoke Electric’s headquarters, with two Nissan LEAFs. Left to right, Wallace Ridgeway (Fermata Energy), Anita Knight (Roanoke Manager of Engineering), Ricky Robinson (Roanoke Warehouse Coordinator), and Dr Holmes Hummel (CleanEnergyWorks).

“The overall goal is to stabilize our rates, become more efficient as a utility and prove new ways to save our members money,” said Curtis Wynn, president and CEO of Roanoke Electric, which serves about 14,000 members.

This new charger is the first of its kind in the US to receive the certification of UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), which reassures end users that the device has undergone rigorous safety testing and engineering.  The maker of the new charger, Fermata Energy, asked Roanoke Electric last year to help test its FE-15 charger using the co-op’s two leased Nissan LEAF EVs. The device can draw up to 111.6 kilowatt-hours in V2G capacity from the vehicles’ 62-kWh lithium ion batteries.

Already, the system shaved 11 kW off its January peak, saving $105, said Anita Knight, Roanoke Electric’s manager of engineering.

“It’s a very small percentage based on average demand on a monthly basis, but it is proving the concept,” Knight said.

Wynn said the co-op will use the test results to inform an upcoming commercial EV rate design study that will enhance its current pilot residential EV rate. The ultimate goal is to determine how to pass on savings and create EV incentives for members.

The Fermata FE-15 bidirectional charger at Roanoke Electric’s headquarters. Left to right, Dr Holmes Hummel (CleanEnergyWorks), Wallace Ridgeway (Fermata Energy), George Stamper (Roanoke VP of Engineering), Ricky Robinson (Roanoke Warehouse Coordinator), Anita Knight (Roanoke Manager of Engineering), and John Bonitz (NCCETC).

NCCETC is supporting this demonstration with analysis, technical assistance, and facilitation. Richard Sapienza, Director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program, said, “This V2G demonstration project is helping prove the benefits and economics of the technology, which is an important component of technology application and commercialization.  There have been many cool and interesting technologies that did not achieve commercial success because they did not solve a problem, meet a need and/or make economic sense.  We have a technology that works. This project is identifying the use cases where it can be applied in a beneficial manner.”

  NCCETC clean transportation specialist John Bonitz added, “the really exciting thing about Roanoke Electric’s leadership is seeing their confidence in a future where electric school buses and cars will help support the grid and shave peaks, etc., all of it helping the whole cooperative save money.”  

Watch this blog for further updates as this demonstration progresses and accumulates more data on V2G value streams.

Coming Next Month: 2021 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Launches

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school are invited to submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state!

This Earth Day, you can show us how you help keep the air clean!

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is excited to announce the 4th Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest this March, where students residing in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork focused on the theme of actions that individual families can take to reduce the amount of air pollution from vehicles. 

Winners will have their artwork featured on billboards across the state to help spread the word about ways that we all can help keep the air clean!

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using biofuels, electric vehicles, and more. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted.

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended.

Recommended dimensions:

  • 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
  • 400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi 
  • Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Text may be added on final billboards with the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline.

The winner will be chosen based on:

  • Relevance and appropriateness of the message, judged by NCCETC
  • Visual design, judged by NCCETC
  • Public votes on our Facebook account

If you submitted artwork last year and have questions or concerns, please contact Heather Brutz at hmbrutz@ncsu.edu

The official link and email to submit photos will be posted this March. Stay tuned on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters.org!

Sustainable Fleet Series: Best Practices, Fleet Electrification, The 100 Best Fleets in The Americas & more Available to Stream Now

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center’s (NCCETC)  2020 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference featured the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technology, operations and implementation. All 17 sessions focused on best practices to make fleets run more efficiently, with award-winner and expert speakers. 

These webinars are available to stream online now with over 30 hours of knowledge and expertise from fleet managers across the country. 

Also available on-demand, The 100 Best Fleets announced their 2020 Winners of The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas. In a later webinar, the top three fleets were featured in “100 Best Fleets: Top 3 Fleets Best Practices” to discuss their approach and best practices to distinguish themselves among the 38,000 public fleets in North America.  

The top fleet, San Luis Obispo County, California, explained how they used their “intent based leadership” program to transform their fleet and achieve 99 percent customer satisfaction. As the Fleet Manager in San Luis Obispo, Rocky Buoy led the multi-year campaign to improve inspections and ensure repairs were completed correctly the first time. 

Buoy stressed the importance of creating a culture “where people want to come to work” and investing in the fleet employees. “It’s paramount that we commit to training and developing our employees; investing in them is investing in the organization’s and their future,” Buoy said.

Governor Roy Cooper made a statement at NCCETC’s “Electrification of Transportation and Climate Change Impact” webinar on September 30, 2020. Governor Cooper discussed Executive Order 80, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent statewide and adopt 80,000 zero-emission vehicles by 2025 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

“Carbon neutrality must happen globally by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” Governor Cooper stressed. “That will require transformation in all sectors of our economy, including transportation.” 

Governor Cooper also joined 14 other governors and D.C. last summer to strive for all medium and heavy duty vehicles sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2050. “North Carolina’s VW settlement funds will be invested to speed up school bus and transit electrification and put more chargers within reach of North Carolina drivers,” the governor added.

The “Idle Reduction an Easy Win” webinar featured a panelist of experts who dispelled idling myths and explained why idling wastes fuel, puts excess wear and tear on engines and systems and produces harmful emissions. 

One of the experts on the panel, Patricia Weikersheimer, is a coordinating writer for the Argonne National Laboratory which supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. “At the national scale, idling in the United States consumes more than six billion gallons, adding up to more than $15 billion each year,” said Weikersheimer. Idle reduction can become a gateway for other initiatives that can reduce carbon emissions and support fleet sustainability. 

Other topics covered in these webinars include “Best Practices & Lessons Learned in Charging Infrastructure Deployment”, “Renewable Fuels, Lubricants & Other Biobased Products” and a roundtable with the Sierra Club to share the results of a survey of local fleet managers and create a form to assist each other through fleet electrification.

To view all of the past webinars and sessions from NCCETC Clean Transportation, Sustainable Fleet Webinar Series from NCCETC and The 100 Best Fleets, as well as the Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference series and others, click here.

Stay tuned for future updates about the 5th annual 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference online at sustainablefleetexpo.com.

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