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2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series

The 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series came to an end last month after bringing together industry leaders and top performing fleet managers to share real-world deployment examples of sustainable fleet technologies through 15 webinar sessions. The full webinar recordings are now available online, including strategies for achieving fleet management from nationally recognized fleets.

The 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series (SFTWS) was offered through a collaborative partnership between the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), The 100 Best Fleets and NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA). “The fleet operations and strategies shared in the SFT Webinar Series are the gold standard in the industry,” said Richard Sapienza, director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program. 

Each SFTWS session included in-depth presentations from fleets honored in The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas, an award program that recognizes peak-performing fleet operations in the government fleet section. Originally founded by Tom C. Johnson, The 100 Best Fleets was acquired by NAFA earlier this year to expand their awards and recognition programs.

The first session of SFTWS, 4 Essential Traits for 2021 & Beyond, highlighted 3 fleet managers who successfully increased fleet efficiency, productivity and operational effectiveness, propelling their fleets into The 100 Best Fleets. The webinar panel included the only fleet manager to take 3 different fleets into the top 100, a manager of a first place winner of The 100 Best Fleets and one who was in The 100 Best Fleets for 20 years straight.

The top 100 best fleets in the Americas for 2021 winners were announced in a SFTWS webinar in April, celebrating the hard work and accomplishments of top fleets and their teams. In Best Practices of the Top Fleets of The 100 Best Fleets 2021, the top fleets shared how they distinguished themselves among 38,000 public fleets in North America. 

“These sessions are intended for the entire team to listen in,” Sapienza said. “Fleets can use it as an opportunity to benchmark their operations with knowledge that can be applied immediately.”

The SFTWS also included several sessions focused on alternative fuels including electric vehicles. In the United States, public and private fleets are taking steps toward transitioning away from conventional fuel vehicles but still have uncertainties about the complex process of electrification. While electric vehicle (EV) adoption is forecasted to expand for private citizens, fleets with thousands of vehicles have many more steps to take before they will be able to phase out old vehicles.

Fleet managers can learn more about the comprehensive involvement needed to plan, coordinate, budget and execute fleet electrification from a panel of experts in the session Fleet Electrification Planning“Electrification is inevitable, it’s coming,” said Electrification Coalition’s Jared Walker. “We want to be a resource to provide best practices, strategy, market forecasting and all manners of assistance to our partners as they’re going through this transition.”

Several EV deployment cases were presented in Real World EV Durability, Long Term Maintenance & Operating Cases and Electric Vehicle Use Case Deployment Examples to share lessons and methods for successful EV deployment from the fleets already doing it. 

ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY FLEET MAINTENANCE & OPERATIONS FROM THE 2021 GREEN GARAGE WINNERS

The Green Garage Contest Winners Announcement 2021 concluded the SFTWS by highlighting the innovative and simple ways to “green the maintenance garage”. Winning contestants showed comprehensive top to bottom commitment to green vehicle maintenance and environmentally friendly facilities features and systems.

The Green Garage Contest, organized by NAFA, first launched in 2020 with support from NCCETC, No Spill Systems, RinseKit and the United Soybean Board. The contest was created to bring together the most progressive and environmentally-committed fleets to share the best practices for eco-friendly vehicle fleet maintenance garages.

Tom C. Johnson, author of the Green Fleet Awards and the Green Garage Contest, is the Director of the Green Garage Contest. The winners of the contest are the “best of the best stewards of the environment” Johnson said. 

AND THE WINNER IS…

The Central Fleet Management (CFM) department in the City of Chesapeake, Virginia tied with the University of California Irvine Fleet Services for the Green Garage’s number one fleet for 2021. 

Previously, CFM ranked as the number one fleet for The 100 Best Fleets in 2017 for its guiding goals of operating an environmentally sound fleet, preventing the wasteful use of our resources and practicing environmental stewardship.

CFM prides itself on setting the example for sustainable operations, and it became the first department in the city to start a recycling program in 2005. According to the Fleet Manager George Hrichak, the recycling program has generated over $190,000 in revenue so far.

The University of California Irvine is also no stranger to sustainability, earning second place in the 2020 Green Garage Contest for its research on electric buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells. “They are leaders in hydrogen,” noted Johnson.

2021 GREEN GARAGE CONTEST TOP 10 FLEETS:

  1. Tie
Central Fleet Management, City of Chesapeake, VA The University of CA, Irvine
  1. West Valley Construction, CA
  2. Miami-Dade County, ISD Fleet Management Division, FL
  3. Laketran, OH
  4. Village of Oak Park, IL 
  5. University of California Davis Fleet Services
  6. NYC Parks Department, NY
  7. City of Long Beach, CA
  8. Cobb County Fleet Management, GA
Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series 2021:

Click on the webinar titles below to watch the full recording.

 

Green Mobility in the Southeast

The State of the Green Mobility Industry in the Southeast: Market Trends and Policies Driving Transportation Electrification

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) recently published The State of the Green Mobility Industry in the Southeastern United States, a market study commissioned by the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C. to gain an understanding of the current state of the industry for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure and their related supply chain, as well as biofuels and hydrogen, and to understand market opportunities for Dutch companies.

Electric vehicle adoption across the United States is happening faster than previously forecasted, with annual electric vehicle (EV) sales on track for around 5.6 million units in 2021, up from 2.1m in 2019 according to a report released earlier this month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Several automakers have also committed to produce only electric vehicles, including General Motors, which announced that its vehicle lineup would be entirely electric by 2035.

Still, EVs are in the early stages of adoption and many states have enacted policies and incentives to mitigate the relatively higher up-front costs of electric vehicles and expand the charging infrastructure needed to support them in order to accelerate the adoption and deployment of electric vehicles. Recently, the US Senate passed an infrastructure bill containing approximately $12 billion in support for electric vehicles, including $7.5b for a nationwide charging network.

With the focus on green mobility, including electric and alternative fuel vehicles, growing nationwide, it is expected that green mobility opportunities will also increase in the US Southeast. However, the outlook for these opportunities varies significantly by state and technology depending on adoption rate, state policies and utility efforts, and existing manufacturing facilities and infrastructure.

The Embassy of the Netherlands commissioned the report to be a resource for Dutch companies interested in exploring opportunities in sustainable mobility in  the Southeast US. For the purposes of the report, green mobility is defined to include the following: electric vehicles, batteries, smart charging, charging infrastructure, hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

The State of the Green Mobility Industry in the Southeastern United States also provides an overview of recent developments in federal and state policy, utility programs, and brief descriptions of stakeholders in each state, including private businesses, convening non-profits and industry groups, and relevant research centers. The report covered the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

NCCETC staff from both the Policy & Markets program as well as the Clean Transportation program wrote the report and consulted with several of the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Coalitions across the southeastern United States, including the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition, Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, Louisiana Clean Fuels, Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, and Palmetto Clean Fuels Coalition.

Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina have become leaders in the deployment of EV charging infrastructure in the Southeast. Furthermore, Tennessee is showing great strength for fast charging deployment specifically, with the Department of Environment and Conservation working in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority to develop a statewide EV fast charging network.

The electric vehicle, battery and EV infrastructure manufacturing industries are closely related, with several states having different opportunities across the green mobility landscape in the Southeast. South Carolina and Tennessee lead the region in vehicle manufacturing, while Georgia leads in battery manufacturing and North Carolina has a strong electronics industry supporting electric vehicle supply equipment.

“Legal and regulatory barriers can affect the pace and location of EV technology deployment, while clear policy goals can both provide market certainty and accelerate deployment,” said Autumn Proudlove, a contributing author on the report and NCCETC’s Senior Policy Program Director.

The Policy & Markets team at NCCETC maintains the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a comprehensive online database of federal, state and utility policies and incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Earlier this year, DSIRE announced the addition of incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure to the database.

“Electric utilities are also taking a leadership role in advancing transportation electrification in several Southeast states through direct infrastructure deployment, incentive programs, and special rate offerings,” added Proudlove. Customers in states such as Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina can benefit from rebates for residential and commercial Level 2 charging stations that serve these customers’ private needs.

In August 2021, a new executive order set ambitious targets to make half of all new vehicles sold in the US in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs), heightening attention from federal and state governments to accelerate the deployment of EVs and charging infrastructure to support transportation electrification. These federal policies will continue to drive demand higher across the nation, resulting in an increase in EV manufacturing in the automobile industry in the southeastern US.

For interested Dutch investors, the southeastern states with the greatest opportunity depend on which aspects of the green mobility industry best fit the interests of Dutch companies, according to the report. One of the largest cross-cutting trends for the region is the importance of the automotive industry. “Most of the states in the Southeast are home to either vehicle assembly plants or automotive supply chain manufacturers,” said Heather Brutz, one of the report’s authors and Finance & Operations Manager for NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program.

Additionally, several Southeast states like Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina had a higher prevalence of manufacturing specifically related to battery electric or fuel cell vehicles. Biodiesel and ethanol production has lost popularity, but there are still users and producers of those fuels in the Southeast.

Renewable diesel, on the other hand, is gaining popularity in the US. Due to the refining process for renewable diesel, regions with existing refineries are more likely to have the needed infrastructure and skilled workforce needed for renewable diesel refineries. “This benefits the Gulf Coast states that already have existing refinery industries, especially Louisiana,” noted Brutz.

In the findings of the market study, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee presented some of the greatest manufacturing opportunities for electric vehicle, battery, and charging infrastructure manufacturing. Hydrogen production also shows potential in the Southeast, with Louisiana leading in hydrogen production.

The region’s existing manufacturing infrastructure, combined with federal, state, and utility policies and plans to expand green mobility, offer an opportunity to capitalize on the growing electric and alternative fuel vehicle markets. Several of the Southeast states present significant opportunities in different elements of green mobility, from EV charging infrastructure manufacturing and deployment to production of alternative fuels such as synthetic fuels and hydrogen.


ABOUT THE NC CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY CENTER
The NC Clean Energy Technology Center is a UNC System-chartered Public Service Center administered by the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University. Its mission is to advance a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. The Center provides service to the businesses and citizens of North Carolina and beyond relating to the development and adoption of clean energy technologies. Through its programs and activities, the Center envisions and seeks to promote the development and use of clean energy in ways that stimulate a sustainable economy while reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy and mitigating the environmental impacts of fossil fuel use.

 

The 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q3 2021

Regional Partnerships, Investment in Underserved Communities, and Demand Charge Alternatives Gain Attention in Q3 2021

Raleigh, NC – (November 3, 2021) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q3 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 Q3 2021 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to rebate programs, rate design for vehicle charging, and charging station deployment.

A total of 460 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q3 2021, with the most active states being Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and California. Activity in these states was largely driven by numerous bills related to electric vehicles. So far in 2021, 42 states have enacted legislation affecting transportation electrification.

Q3 2021 State and Utility Action on Electric Vehicles

The report discusses three trends in electric vehicle actions taken in Q3 2021: (1) demand charge alternatives based on utilization under consideration, (2) states and utilities pursuing transportation electrification through regional cooperation, and (3) states dedicating transportation electrification funds for underserved communities.

“We continue seeing strong interest from governors and utilities in collaborating across state lines to build stronger regional networks for EV charging infrastructure,” said Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC.

2021 Proposed Legislation on Electric Vehicles (as of late October 2021)

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

  • The New York State Legislature adopting 100% zero-emission vehicle sales goals;
  • Massachusetts utilities filing major electric vehicle plans;
  • Connecticut regulators approving an expansive electric vehicle incentive program
  • Illinois legislators requiring utilities to file beneficial electrification plans; and
  • New Mexico regulators approving Xcel Energy’s transportation electrification plan.

“States and utilities are taking a variety of approaches to encourage charging infrastructure development, including coordinating their efforts with other states, offering incentives, and designing new rate structures,” noted Autumn Proudlove, Senior Policy Program Director at NCCETC. “Through all of these efforts we are also seeing a growing theme of ensuring significant investment is reaching underserved communities.”

View the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q3 Update Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q3 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

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Helm, NCCETC, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

Strategies & Success Stories for Sustainable Fleet Management On-Demand Now

Eleven FREE Sessions from the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference Available to Stream Online

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center recently concluded the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference featuring the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technology, operations and implementation. The conference consisted of 11 free webinars on best practices to make fleets run more efficiently, with valuable presentations and conversations from award-winning speakers from the industry.

All webinar recordings and resources are available to stream online now so you can access on-demand knowledge and expertise from fleet managers across the country. In total, there were 900 registered attendees for the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology (SFT 2021) Virtual Conference webinar sessions.

The SFT Conference is an annual event hosted by the Clean Transportation program at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) to share strategies for achieving fleet sustainability from experts in the private and public sector. Fleet managers and clean technology innovators gather to discuss lessons learned across the industry for implementing and integrating innovative clean transportation technologies and alternative fuel operations, including the implementation in the biofuels, electric, natural gas, hydrogen and propane arenas.

Director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program, Richard Sapienza, surveyed fleet managers to find relevant session topics to highlight the current technologies, topics and issues impacting today’s fleet industry. “We want to build a community where ideas can be exchanged and we can provide support and strategies for dealing with new technologies to drive efficiency in fleets,” Sapienza said in the first session of SFT 2021.

The Future of Fleet Electrification

SFT 2021 kicked off on September 9 with “Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Planning Best Practices and Considerations for Today and the Future” showcasing effective planning and modeling along with real-world use cases to support an electrified future for different use cases .  Currently, public and private fleets across the country are preparing for the electric vehicle (EV) revolution and, while significant consumer adoption is forecasted, transitioning entire fleets away from conventional fuel vehicles is a much more complex process than individuals going electric.

Attendees of the webinar heard from a panel of experts including David Dunn, Division Manager of the Fleet & Facilities management Division for the City of Orlando, Florida. Dunn emphasized the critical roles public fleets have in leading the EV revolution and being the agent of change, from installation and maintenance of infrastructure to creating solutions for grid vulnerability.

Part of being a leader means embracing change, and Dunn was proud to share his fleet’s latest change- the addition of a DANNAR Mobile Power Station® (MPS). The MPS is a heavy-duty EV designed for infrastructure maintenance and disaster response, equipped with a two-way charger and inverter to provide clean energy for single-day or multiple-day work requirements.

“This [MPS] is a charger, this is a generator, this is a work platform, this is a power station,” Dunn explained. “This is one way to attack the grid vulnerability issue, because you can charge several vehicles off of this one if you need to.”

Electrification was the focus of several SFT 2021 sessions, and those interested in learning more about charging solutions can benefit from the in-depth “Innovative Charging Solutions” webinar which covered power requirements, associated costs and time hurdles involved in meeting the charging needs of diverse use cases.

The last session of SFT 2021, “Future Proofing Electric Charging Infrastructure”, discussed steps to fleet electrification and considerations for fleets to be ready for the future, as infrastructure deployment continues to be a moving target with needs and technology rapidly changing.

Hot Topic – Alternative Fuel Sessions Popular Amongst Attendees

Alternative fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas have proven to be viable ways for fleets to reduce emissions, and two of the most widely attended SFT 2021 sessions included topics in this arena. Attendees learned from the top fleets in the United States, including recent winners of both The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas and The Green Fleet Awards.

“Quite often, when deploying alternative fuel vehicles and sustainable technologies, there’s an increased cost in acquisition, but there are a number of different ways for fleets to mitigate these costs,” said Sapienza.

Typically, alternative fuel vehicles have greater up-front costs than conventional fuel vehicles. However, there can be cost benefits with regard to maintenance and operations costs, as well as vehicle useful life. The webinar “Total Cost of Ownership Comparisons of Alternative Fuel Vehicles versus Conventional Fuel Vehicles” addresses these concerns with a life cycle cost analysis and features examples from top fleets across the country using alternative fuels in their operations.

One of the speakers from this webinar was Andrew Burnham from the Argonne National Laboratory which supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. Argonne has developed the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) tool. The AFLEET spreadsheet was designed to examine light and heavy duty vehicles for metrics like petroleum use, greenhouse gas emissions and more to find the total cost of ownership.

There are many opportunities for fleet’s to mitigate the higher acquisition costs associated with alternative fuel vehicles, including state and federal level funding and incentives. The “Funding Sources and Creative Financing for Alternative Fuel Vehicles” session shared resources and tips on how to take advantage of creative financing options for fleets to achieve their sustainability goals.

Other session topics included “Working with your Utility and Understanding Fleet Charging Costs”, “Idle Reduction: Simple & Impactful” and success stories for specific transportation applications of natural gashydrogen and propane.

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.

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.  Register for an upcoming SFT Webinar online now.

Stay tuned for future updates about the 6th annual 2022 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference online at sustainablefleetexpo.com.

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

A common question from fleet managers is, “how can I be sure the vehicle will be fully charged when I need it?”  In summary, the intelligence of the bidirectional system’s software enables it to be programmed to meet the fleet owners’ needs.

When the V2G system is responding to system-wide peak demand events, they are scheduled in advance, so a fleet manager can choose to reserve the vehicle for the grid (or the building) at that time as if it were reserved for another driver, while simply leaving the vehicle plugged in.  The impetus for this decision is knowing how much it would be worth to leave the vehicle plugged-in for grid operations at that time.  After the bidirectional event, the system allows scheduled recharging to be programmed in a way that meets the fleet operator’s needs while providing transparency about the monetary value the vehicle can provide at different times for grid operations.

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.

EV Drivers Share Their Experience Driving Electric

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:

Arthur Gause

 

Wendy Gilliatt

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

Chris Maxwell

Donnie Parks

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.