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National Drive Electric Week: The Economic & Environmental Benefits of Driving Electric

National Drive Electric Week is an annual event held each October to celebrate all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The national campaign is presented by Plug In America, Sierra Club and Electric Auto Association and consists of hundreds of free events across the United States. 

This year, National Drive Electric Week events will be held from September 25 through October 3, 2021, both in-person and online. Thousands of North Carolinians attend National Drive Electric week events each year, and there are ten individual events currently scheduled for this year across the state. 

National Drive Electric Week began in 2011 to provide free, helpful and in-depth information for those beginning their electric vehicle (EV) journey. Today, more than two million EVs have been sold in the United States, and 96 percent of EV drivers report they will purchase another EV for their next vehicle, according to a recent survey conducted by Plug In America. 

As with any new technology, people often have questions before they make the switch to driving electric, and National Drive Electric Week gives people the chance to interact with electric vehicles and ask EV drivers any questions they may have. 

The Clean Transportation program at NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has participated in the campaign for many years now and, in 2020, sponsored five virtual webinars on electric vehicles topics including best practices and lessons learned of charging infrastructure deployment, idle reduction and EV options for fleets. This year, attendees will also get a chance to experience electric vehicles in-person at two EV ride and drive events at NC State University.

“After participating in National Drive Electric Week for several years now, I’ve seen the impact of giving people the opportunity to ask questions and get their hands on an electric vehicle,” said Richard Sapienza, Director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program, “When they leave, they’re confident in making the switch to going electric and several have purchased an electric vehicle following one of these events.”

Experience Driving Electric

NCCETC is kicking off National Drive Electric Week at NC State in Raleigh, NC with a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show on September 25, 2021. The following Monday, September 27 NCCETC is hosting another EV owner meet-up and test drive at Venture Plaza on NC State’s Centennial Campus. 

NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program is also currently hosting free webinars showcasing the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technologies and operations, including electric, as part of the 2021 Sustainable Fleet technology Virtual Conference. The conference began September 9 with “Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Planning Best Practices and Considerations for Today & the Future” (which is available to watch in full online) and includes two more upcoming webinars focused on EVs.

Links and event dates are provided below to learn more and register for upcoming National Drive Electric week events and webinars.

September 23rd – Idle Reduction Simple & Impactful

September 25th – Tailgate & Plug-In Electric Vehicle Car Show at NC State University

September 27th – Electric Vehicle Owner Meet-up & Test Drive at NC State University’s Centennial Campus

September 30th – Innovative Charging Solutions

Can’t make it? Watch a Video Tour from an EV Driver Online Through Our EV Driver Profile Series

Those interested in going electric can also explore a variety of EVs and their drivers’ experiences driving electric in our Electric Driver profile series. Jarred White’s EV of choice is a 2013 Ford C-Max Energi hybrid, and he said, “One of the most significant advantages of driving a plug-in hybrid are the fuel savings on the ‘first and last mile’; short trips to the store where it’s nice to know that I’m only using electric.”

There are many benefits to driving electric, including high-quality performance and the notable quietness of an electric engine — something White has also expressed can be a con of owning an EV. “Because the engine is so quiet, I’ve accidentally left my car on overnight multiple times!” White explained. 

Dave Erb has been involved in projects focused on and promoting EVs for two decades. Erb worked as an automotive engineer and spent the majority of his career in academia as faculty for UNCA Mechatronics Engineering. He also served on the Asheville Transit Committee until he reached term limit.

After purchasing his first electric vehicle in 2016, Dave and his wife were hooked and traded their last gas car in for another all-electric vehicle in 2019. The couple resides in Asheville, NC with their 2015 Chevy Spark EV and a 2019 Tesla Model 3. “We haven’t bought gas in over a year and a half,” Erb said. 

If you can’t make it to an in-person event, the NCCETC has you covered! Watch the video below for a tour of Erb’s 2015 Chevy Spark EV and hear why it’s his EV of choice.

NC Cooperative Demonstration of Vehicle-to-Grid Smart Charger Shows Economic Value

Electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential to be more than just a means of transportation now that more automakers are selling vehicles compatible with vehicle-to-grid technology, like Nissan LEAF, Ford F150 Lightning, and the Thomas Built C2 Jouley school bus. Bidirectional capable charging stations can transform electric cars, buses, garbage trucks, fleet vehicles and more into mobile energy storage banks.

Preliminary findings from a demonstration of two-way, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology in North Carolina show the economic potential for using bidirectional charging technologies to feed energy stored in electric vehicle batteries back to charging sites, especially when the grid is experiencing high demand. 

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is coordinating with Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) to demonstrate and evaluate the economic case for the use of a two-way charger made by Fermata Energy, maker of the first EV charger certified for the North American standard for bidirectional charging. The project also benefits from support from partners including Advanced Energy, Clean Energy Works, and Environmental Defense Fund.

REC’s headquarters in the rural town of Ahoskie, NC, is the demonstration site for the project, where technicians for the utility’s growing broadband business use the utility’s two Nissan LEAF electric vehicles. The cooperative provides electricity and broadband services to a wide variety of industrial, recreational, educational, community and other interests in addition to farms in northeast North Carolina.

The two-way “smart” charger provides power to Roanoke Electric’s two EV cars, and it is one of the first chargers delivered from Fermata’s manufacturing site in Danville, Virginia. This charger not only curtails a vehicle’s charging in response to peak system demand, but also, it can discharge the energy stored in a connected EV to meet some of the demand at the site when demand on the grid is high. 

The V2G charging technology was thoroughly tested by Underwriters Laboratory to meet the North American standard for bidirectional charging. The purpose of this current demonstration has been to illuminate the value potential of V2G for fleet managers, energy professionals and utility companies— and the project is well on its way to accomplishing that goal.

Initial Results

Fermata Energy’s FE-15 is capable of providing 15 kilowatts of power both to the car and back to the site served by the grid. REC schedules dispatch of the on-board battery in response to predicted peaks, which usually lasts two to three hours. Using only one of REC’s Nissan LEAFs, the V2G system has been able to reduce the utility’s load, on average, by 14.14 kW during the entirety of the 85 event hours to date, across a variety of operating conditions. 

As an example, during a window of recent events, the two-way EV charger discharged the EV battery at 14 kW on average, and it saved the cooperative nearly $440.

The results from this small window suggest savings of over $2,660 a year per two-way charger. The value of this single unit hints at the potential for much bigger savings when multiplied by many units, serving multiple EVs or integrated with entire fleets of EVs. While some chargers may not have an EV connected during every peak period, utilities will develop experience over time with a minimum fraction of availability across thousands of EVs and two-way charging stations, accessing hundreds of MWh of energy storage on-board local EVs.

In addition to system-wide savings, V2G chargers can also create savings for non-residential customers that pay demand charges. Despite having relatively modest demand charges of $9.50/kW, Fermata’s software and charger strategically dispatched the Nissan LEAF battery to reduce REC’s headquarters building demand charges by $234 over a two month period. At larger facilities, Fermata has demonstrated the FE-15 is capable of capturing the full 15 kW in savings possible, and in parts of the country where demand charges can surpass $20/kW, customers could realize savings of over $300 a month.

For REC and its members, and any utility with demand charge and demand response programs in which V2X technology can participate, the benefits of system-wide savings as well as customer savings can be realized simultaneously. Using REC’s local and system demand charges, each FE-15 operating at maximum capacity could result in $3,500 to $4,000 of savings each year.

Roanoke Electric has also been able to demonstrate another application that V2X technology makes possible for improving energy assurance and reliability. REC’s facility has an on-site generator that allows it to isolate itself from the grid, and Fermata’s V2X charger can discharge the Nissan LEAF battery to partially power the facility either by dispatching stored energy when the site’s usage is highest, or by reacting to scheduled discharges for a set duration. The ability for smart charging to respond to an islanded load powered by the generator increases the resilience of sites that use generators as back-up power systems.

These results have important implications for the affordability of electricity, both for grid operators and for the member owners of the electric cooperative. REC’s CEO Curtis Wynn has underscored the improvements to grid utilization that the utility can attain when distributed storage is available to member-owners on the Roanoke Electric grid.

The Potential of Vehicle-to-Grid Technology

As public and private fleets in the United States replace internal-combustion engine vehicles with EVs, integration of V2G technology could enable EVs to serve as energy reservoirs to help keep the grid running smoothly during demand peaks and during system outages. 

In this demonstration at REC, the dollar savings appear to nearly offset the cost of the EVs. The cooperative’s two new Nissan LEAFs with 62kWh battery capacities are leased at less than $250 per month, and the demonstration has documented a generated value of as high as $230 a month. The implications for dropping the net cost of electric mobility to Roanoke Electric member-owners is tremendous.

On a residential scale, electric vehicle drivers could use vehicle-to-building technology to power their homes during lengthy blackouts. With a bidirectional charging system, homeowners could pull power from their electric vehicle batteries to keep fridges, lights, the internet and heating and cooling systems on in their homes, especially when jeopardized by heat waves or hypothermia as seen this year in Texas.

Vehicle-to-building technology could also keep the power on for critical services such as hospitals and shelters during extreme weather conditions and other emergency outages, reducing or even eliminating the cumulative numbers of hours these essential systems have to use backup diesel generators. 

As the demonstration continues, REC staff are exploring a pilot application of the technology with commercial customers, focusing first on locations having higher voltage service — in line with the design of the FE-15 device.

John Bonitz, a specialist for NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program, said, “Preparing for a future where fleets of electric buses and cars will be electrified, this demonstration at Roanoke Electric Cooperative is helping prove the benefits and economic value of integrating V2G technology to shave peaks, improve grid utilization and increase resilience – all while helping the cooperative and its members save money. And we’re honored to be involved.” 


ABOUT THE TEAM

This demonstration is possible only due to a unique partnership between six organizations:  Roanoke Electric Cooperative serves about 14,000 accounts in Northeastern North Carolina out of their headquarters in Ahoskie, NC.  Fermata Energy is a company created for the dual purposes of accelerating the adoption of EVs and accelerating the transition to a renewable energy future, and it is their bi-directional EV charger and proprietary software system that allow electric vehicles to earn money while they are parked.  Clean Energy Works provides advisory services for accelerating investment in grid-edge solutions.  Advanced Energy is a nonprofit energy consulting firm that assists utilities with program design and electric transportation initiatives. Environmental Defense Fund, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems, including supporting policies that accelerate transportation electrification to create a zero-emission future.  The NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program is supporting the demonstration with analysis, technical assistance and facilitation. NCCETC also hosts the largest outreach and engagement events in the region on sustainable fleets, the Sustainable Fleet Technology virtual conference series.

Electric Vehicle Drivers Share Their Experience Driving Electric for National Drive Electric Week

This September 25th through October 3rd, 2021, the United States will celebrate National Drive Electric Week, sponsored by Plug in America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association. The celebration, which started in 2011, helps spread awareness about the benefits of driving electric, including decreased emissions, fuel savings and enhanced performance of electric vehicles (EVs). This year, National Drive Electric Week consists of hundreds of free events across the United States, both in-person and online.

The Clean Transportation program at NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has participated in the campaign for many years now and, in 2020, sponsored five virtual webinars on electric vehicles topics including best practices and lessons learned of charging infrastructure deployment, idle reduction and EV options for fleets.

NCCETC is kicking off National Drive Electric Week at NC State in Raleigh, NC with a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show on September 25, 2021. The following Monday, September 27 NCCETC is hosting another EV owner meet-up and test drive at Venture Plaza on NC State’s Centennial Campus. 

Those interested in going electric can also explore a variety of EVs and their drivers’ experiences driving electric through our Electric Driver Profile series. NCCETC sat down with seven EV drivers to hear about the benefits of going electric.

Lisa Etnyre Boneham

Helen DiPietro

Take a video tour of Helen DiPietro’s 2019 Nissan LEAF EV:

Dave Erb

Take a video tour of Dave Erb’s 2015 Chevy Spark EV:

Wendy Gilliatt

Take a video tour and ride-a-long in Wendy Gilliatt’s 2017 Chevy Bolt EV:

Chris Maxwell

Dianna Tarallo

Jarred White

Links and event dates are provided below to learn more and register for upcoming National Drive Electric week events and webinars.

National Drive Electric Week: Join us in Raleigh September 25th & 27th!

Please join the NC Clean Energy Technology Center to kick off National Drive Electric Week at NC State University in Raleigh NC with a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show at the NC State versus Clemson football game.  For game-day on September 25th, due to the game-day congestion and traffic, if you do not have tickets for the game or parking arrangements, it is not advised that you come to visit the plug-in electric vehicle show.

Location is outside Close King Indoor Practice Facility in the parking lot of Carter Finley Stadium at the corner of West Chase Blvd. and Peter Karmanos Jr. Dr.

Day: Saturday, September 25, 2021
Time: 11:30 am – 3:30 pm EDT
Location: Close King Indoor Practice Facility
Raleigh, NC 27607

Register Now!

Join us to celebrate National Drive Electric Week, as well as Energy Week at NC State University, with an Electric Vehicle Owner Meet-Up/Car Show and Test Drive at Venture Plaza on NC Sate University’s Centennial Campus.  Venture Plaza is the open area near the Venture Buildings across from 930 Main Campus Drive.  Come learn about and experience electric vehicles. The EV owner’s meet-up will be at the open space across from 930 Main Campus Drive.  Non-EVs will have to park in one of the Centennial pay lots. (See:  https://centennial.ncsu.edu/visit/) There will be food trucks.

All attendees and volunteers are required to wear face masks whenever they are within six feet of another person at all National Drive Electric Week 2021 events.

Day: Monday, September 27, 2021
Time: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm EDT
Location: Venture Plaza
930 Main Campus Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606

Register now!

Can’t make it out? Take a video tour of an electric vehicle instead!

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center invites you to join electric vehicle driver Dave Erb for a video tour of his 2015 Chevy Spark EV.

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.

DSIRE Adds electric Vehicle and Charging Station Incentive Programs to Database

DSIRE Adds Electric Vehicle and Charging Station Incentive Programs to Database

Raleigh, NC – (August 24, 2021) The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) announced the addition of incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).

DSIRE now includes state and utility incentives for the following technology types:

  • Passenger Electric Vehicles
  • Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles
  • Zero-Emission Vehicles
  • Electric School Buses and Electric Transit Buses
  • Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicles
  • Neighborhood Electric Vehicles
  • Off-Road Electric Vehicles
  • Level 2 Electric Vehicle Service Equipment
  • Direct Current (DC) Fast Charging Equipment
  • Make-Ready Charging Equipment

 

“Adding electric vehicles and charging equipment to DSIRE is the largest expansion of its scope since we added energy efficiency technologies in 2006,” said Brian Lips, DSIRE Project Manager at NCCETC. “The 250+ additional incentives will maintain DSIRE’s status as the one-stop-shop for reliable information about policies and incentives for clean energy technologies.”

State and Utility Incentives for Electric Vehicles

DSIRE now includes over 250 incentive programs for the purchase of electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure. There are currently state or utility incentives available in 38 states plus DC for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and electric buses. Incentives for electric vehicle charging infrastructure are currently available in 43 states plus DC.

State and Utility Incentives for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

“With the rapid growth in the electric vehicle market and the increased attention from the federal and state governments on accelerating deployment of EV infrastructure and vehicles, we believe that this was a critical expansion of the DSIRE portfolio. Furthermore, we believe the EV market is likely to increasingly converge with the rest of the clean energy space as ‘smart’ buildings, energy storage, and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies are folded together under the banner of grid modernization. Policymakers are exploring new regulatory approaches and incentives to get these technologies past early adoption and into mainstream use. We at NCCETC plan to make sure DSIRE is ready to help homeowners, businesses, policymakers, and others that need to navigate this rapidly changing policy landscape, says Steve Kalland, Executive Director of the NCCETC.

Summary maps showing the availability of electric vehicle and charging incentives are now available here. NCCETC plans to continue adding policy content related electric vehicles and charging infrastructure to DSIRE, including electric vehicle sales or adoption goals, state procurement targets, and charging-enabled parking requirements.

 

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

DEQ Invites Public for Comments on Draft Phase 2 Volkswagen Mitigation Plan Until September 7

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)’s Division of Air Quality is currently accepting public comment on the state’s Draft Phase 2 Mitigation Plan to invest $67 million in Volkswagen Settlement funds. The Draft Phase 2 plan focuses on efforts to reduce pollution impacts while incentivizing zero emission vehicles and outreach to under-resourced communities.

The funds represent North Carolina’s share of the $2.9 billion federal settlement with Volkswagen (VW) due to its misrepresentation of diesel emission standards in certain vehicles. The Division of Air Quality was designated as the lead agency to manage the project in 2017 by Governor Roy Cooper, and Wilmington Trust officially named North Carolina as a State Beneficiary in January 2018.

Phase 1 Awards were announced in 2020 and the competitive application process resulted in 116 proposals for two grant programs: the Diesel Bus and Vehicle Program and the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Infrastructure Program. The awards included $12.2 million for school bus replacements, $6.1 million for transit bus replacements, $4.2 million for on-road heavy duty equipment such as refuse haulers, dump trucks and debris trucks, and $3.4 million for zero-emission vehicles DC Fast Charge stations.

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) partnered with the Division of Air Quality to host a series of public information sessions in July to explain the draft plan to those interested in receiving funds for eligible projects. The recordings and presentations from the public information meetings can be found online here

A series of in-person public information sessions will also be held for counties eligible in the Historically Under-Resourced Counties Outreach Program. Additional meeting dates, locations and times will be posted on the DEQ Volkswagen Program webpage.

The Historically Under-Resourced County Outreach Program is being developed by the DEQ to help counties that historically lack resources needed to effectively identify eligible vehicles for grant programs and submit quality applications. The DEQ’s Draft Phase 2 Mitigation Plan identifies 31 Historically Under-Resourced Counties eligible for maximum funding amounts allowed by the VW Mitigation Consent Decree.

Public agencies as well as public/private partnerships will be eligible for Phase 2 funding. The Draft Phase 2 VW Mitigation Plan currently allocates 80 percent of funding to the Diesel Bus & Vehicle Replacement Program and 15 percent for the ZEV Infrastructure program. Through the Diesel Bus & Vehicle Replacement Program, 40 percent of Phase 2 funding will go towards replacing school buses, 20 percent of funding will be eligible for transit bus replacements and another 20 percent will be eligible for clean heavy-duty equipment and vehicle replacements.

The DEQ’s ZEV Infrastructure program was designed to expand the state’s ZEV charging infrastructure network along priority designated corridors. Phase 2 proposes a dedicated allocation for light-duty charging projects and the DEQ plans to coordinate with the NC Department of Transportation to determine optimal locations for these EV charging stations for state fleet vehicles and attractions on state owned property.

“These funds from the VW Settlement represent an opportunity to advance clean and sustainable transportation in North Carolina,” said Heather Brutz, Finance & Operations Manager for NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program. “We encourage interested parties to read over the plan and submit comments on how this round of funding will be allocated.”

Comments on the Draft Phase 2 Mitigation Plan may be submitted online via Microsoft Forms or emailed to daq_NCVWGrants@ncdenr.gov. Voicemail comments will also be accepted at 919-707-8429.

All comments will be accepted until September 7, 2021 at 5 p.m.

Success Stories for Sustainable Fleet Management at the 2021 Virtual Conference

The agenda for the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference has officially been announced! Attendees will be able to tune in for valuable presentations and conversations every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 to 3:30 PM ET starting on September 9 and ending on October 19, 2021.

Sessions at the Fifth annual 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference (SFT) will showcase the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technologies and alternative fuel operations, as well as implementation in the biofuels, electric, natural gas, hydrogen and propane arenas. Session topics and speakers were carefully selected to highlight the current technologies, topics and issues happening in today’s fleet industry as we navigate the rapidly evolving transportation industry.

Richard Sapienza, Director of the Clean Transportation program at NC Clean Energy Technology Center, surveys fleet managers year-round to find relevant session topics suited for their needs. There are a myriad of strategies to achieve fleet sustainability and new clean transportation technologies are always on the horizon, and topics discussed at the SFT are meant to share best practices and lessons learned across the industry.

Currently, both public and private fleets in the United States are gearing up for an electric vehicle revolution as the transition towards vehicle electrification expands. Transitioning entire fleets away from conventional fuel vehicles, however, is a much more complex process than individuals deciding to go electric.

“This transition affects every fleet from light to medium to heavy-duty vehicles, which all have different use cases and needs regarding power levels, charging and range,” Sapienza explained. “You can’t just flip a switch and instantly see the change, but we’re hoping to make that change more accessible for these fleet managers.”

Attendees of SFT can expect to learn and share more about electric vehicle infrastructure planning, alternative and renewable fuels applications and decarbonization uses, idle reduction, sustainable fleet management and more. Session topics include a strong focus on data-driven decisions, tools and technologies from real-world applications of leading edge technologies.

Alternative fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas have proven to be viable ways for fleets to reduce emissions and help conserve fuel. Not only are alternative fuels featured in a session on fleet decarbonization, but attendees can also learn from success stories about propane autogas and natural gas applications in addition to a session focused on hydrogen as a transportation solution.

SFT 2021 features award-winning and expert speakers who will share the best practices to help fleets run more efficiently. From simple strategies like idle-reduction programs to more complex strategies including fleet charging costs and deployment, the conference agenda covers it all. Each session spotlights different opportunities for fleets to find the best solutions for managing a sustainable fleet.

Building towards a sustainable fleet is a multi-aspect process that involves planning, understanding, learning, tracking, analyzing, training and changing organizational culture, which can be challenging for individual fleets to navigate. SFT serves as a resource for public and private fleets by leveraging the knowledge of top performing fleets and industry experts sharing their best practices and operations for increasing vehicle fleet efficiency and sustainability.

“We’re trying to build a community to exchange and share ideas from lessons learned so that we can all avoid the potholes in the road,” Sapienza said. Early-adopters exist for every trend and technology, and fleet managers can learn from them to increase their own fleet’s efficiency both environmentally and economically.

The sustainable fleet practices presented at SFT 2021 provide a process of continuous improvement, fleet modernization and impact and risk reduction, while also working towards decarbonization and cost savings.

Who should attend?

  • Public & Private Fleet Managers
  • Purchasing Officials
  • State Government Leaders
  • Municipal Government Officials
  • Non-Profit Stakeholders
  • Clean Cities Coalitions & Stakeholders
  • Alternative Fuel Trade Organizations
  • Sustainability Managers
  • Academic Leaders & Researchers

Learn more & register for individual SFT 2021 virtual sessions below:

Don’t miss out on future updates for the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference- sign up for the clean transportation newsletter or stay tuned online at www.sustainablefleetexpo.com.


The NC Clean Energy Technology Center hosts the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference as part of its mission to advance a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies.

The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: Fleet Electrification, Fast Charging Networks, and Utility-Owned Residential Charging Programs in Focus During Q2 2021

Raleigh, NC – (August 4, 2021) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q2 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 46 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q2 2021 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to rebate programs, rate design for vehicle charging, and additional fees for electric vehicles. A total of 537 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q2 2021, with the most active states being Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Oregon.

Q2 2021 State and Utility Action on Electric Vehicles

The report discusses three trends in electric vehicle actions taken in Q2 2021: (1) utilities piloting utility-owned residential charging station programs, (2) policymakers and utilities taking steps to encourage fleet electrification, and (3) utilities working to grow fast charging networks.

“As regulators continue to consider the appropriate role for utilities in the deployment of transportation electrification infrastructure, many utilities are filing proposals to pilot programs involving utility-owned charging stations in homes and at businesses,” observed Autumn Proudlove, Senior Policy Program Director at NCCETC. “Other states, however, have more firmly committed to a make-ready approach, where utilities own only make-ready infrastructure and not charging stations themselves.”

2021 Proposed Legislation on Electric Vehicles (as of Mid-July 2021)

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

  • Duke Energy filing its Make-Ready and Phase II Electrification of Transportation program proposals in North Carolina;
  • Arizona, Oregon, and South Carolina initiating transportation electrification investigations;
  • Colorado lawmakers enacting expansive transportation legislation;
  • Connecticut and Hawaii legislators adopting zero-emission vehicle procurement targets for state fleets; and
  • California regulators approving San Diego Gas & Electric’s Power Your Drive program extension.

“Following the actions taken this quarter, only nine states have not exempted EV charging station owners from regulation as public utilities in at least some configurations,” observed David Sarkisian, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC. “Many states have moved on to other regulatory issues, such as determining the types of investments that electric utilities can make in charging infrastructure, and operating requirements and efficiency standards for charging equipment.”

View the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q2 Update Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q2 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

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.