Category Archives: Featured

2018 Diesel Emission Reduction Grants available

The North Carolina Division of Air Quality is now accepting proposals to fund clean diesel projects.  More than $694,000 is available for eligible projects through the Mobile Source Diesel Emission Reduction Grant program, according to a press release.  Grants can be used to cover a wide range of projects, including repowering non-road construction or agricultural equipment with cleaner burning engines, converting vehicles to run on alternative fuels and repowering a locomotive.

Individuals, businesses and organizations from the public and private sector are eligible to apply. The division will prioritize funding for non-road equipment projects, according to the press release, but proposals for on-road and locomotive projects will be considered if funding is available.

Applications must be received by email by 5 p.m. November 2, 2018 to be considered.

More information on eligible projects and application instructions are available at https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/motor-vehicles-air-quality/mobile-source-emissions-reduction-grants.

Information from: North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

Presentations at 2018 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference

Did you miss the 2018 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference, miss a breakout session, or want to view one of the speaker presentations again? Check out a compiled list of Powerpoint presentations from the conference below! (Not all are included.)

KEYNOTES & PLENARY PANELS

PLENARY PANEL, VW SETTLEMENT

 

Learn more about the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo at www.sustainablefleetexpo.com!

Posted by Nicole Deck

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Demonstration & Tailgate

Last weekend, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s Clean Transporation team kicked off National Drive Electric Week with an Alternative Fuel Vehicle Demonstration & Tailgate for the Wake Forest University vs. Towson State University football home opener game!

The kickoff events started on Friday, September 7 with the driver meet-up and car show.  Several plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids were on display for guests to check out, and members of the Clean Transporation team, Heather Brutz, Rick Sapienza, Allison Carr and John Bonitz, answered visitor’s questions about alternative fuels.

Saturday, September 8 was game day in Winston-Salem, where a long line-up of plug-in vehicles and a biofuel vehicle were displayed, including brands and names such as BMW, Mitsubishi, Volt and Bolt, and Tesla.

Tesla

Clean Transportation Director Rick Sapienza accepted the game ball from Wake Forest’s mascot the Demon Deacon and spoke in a live radio interview to discuss alternative fuels, the Center and what it does (listen here).

The next and final Alternative Fuel Vehicle Demonstration & Tailgate will be September 28 and 29 at the NC State University vs. Virginia Cavaliers football game! Come check out a line-up of some of the latest plug-in electric vehicles and other alternative fuel vehicles.

Learn more and register for the event now here!

Posted by Nicole Deck

Durham Bulls baseball game

The evening before the 2018 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo, the Clean Transportation team at NC Clean Energy Technology Center displayed several plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles outside of the Durham Bulls baseball game on Aug. 21.

Learn more about electric vehicles by checking out our Electric Vehicles FAQ flyer here.

Attendees of the pre-conference events came to watch the game, enjoy networking and eat a barbeque dinner.

Rick Sapienza, Clean Transportation Director, accepted the game ball on the field and spoke with game announcers in a live radio interview (listen to below)!

 

2018 Mobile CARE and NC Smart Fleet Awards

The 12th annual North Carolina Mobile Clean Air Renewable Energy (CARE) awards and the NC Smart Fleet awards were announced as part of the 2018 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo held at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, N.C. !

The Mobile CARE awards recognize transportation emission reduction efforts that are advancing alternative fuel and transportation technology activities in North Carolina. For Mobile CARE, candidates were sought in three main categories: Individual, Policy/Organization, and Fuel/Technology Providers.

This year, the judges selected Jason Wager, coordinator of the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) for 18 years, for the Individual award; Town of Cary for the Policy/Organization award, and Novozymes for the Fuel/Technology Providers award.

Individual

Jason Wager, coordinator of the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC)

This award goes to an individual in North Carolina who-in both their professional and personal life- has worked to advance the adoption of sustainable transportation technologies and practices.

Jason Wager has been the coordinator of the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) for 18 years. He provides leadership in the alternative fuels industry not only in the Charlotte region, but throughout the state and country. In North Carolina, Wager has been a long time education and outreach provider for the Clean Fuels Advanced Technology Program, a steering committee member for Plug-in NC and a member of NCSEA’s Electric Vehicle Working Group. He has organized countless educational activities related to clean transportation technologies in the Charlotte region. Nationally, Wager has served as a mentor to other Clean Cities coordinators and is a member of the Clean Cities Coordinator Council; these activities enable him to educate and assist new Clean Cities Coordinators.

Policy/Organization

Town of Cary

This award goes to a public or private organization that has created a policy that deserves to be held up as an example of a Best Practice that should be more widely adopted.

The Town of Cary first adopted a Strategic Energy Action Plan in 2012 and modified it in 2015. As one of the three focus areas for reducing energy use was fleet. The overall plan calls for reducing energy use by 13% by 2020. As part of their Strategic Energy Action Plan the town has created a Fleet Efficiency Standard Procedure, which puts in place standard procedures around purchasing more efficient vehicles, utilization of vehicles, driver training on how to drive more efficiently, route selection to reduce vehicle miles traveled, and mandated annual reporting. The Town of Cary has seen a 11% improvement in MPG across their fleet and a 17% reduction in vehicle miles traveled since implementing the standard procedures.

Fuel or Technology Provider

Novozymes

This award goes to a fuel or technology provider in the state of North Carolina that has worked to advance the adoption or availability of clean transportation technologies in the state.

With a headquarters in Franklinton, TN, Novozymes is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of enzymes that help break down organic matter into biofuels. Novozymes has committed to following the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Globally, Novozymes has committed to reducing their carbon footprint by 100 million tons by 2020; as of 2016 they were 69% of the way toward their target. Here in North Carolina, Novozymes has been consistently committed to supporting educational efforts that promote clean transportation technologies. They have helped support the Particle Falls exhibit, the alternative fuel tailgates, and have a long-standing relationship with NASCAR regarding education on ethanol.

N.C. Smart Fleet

N.C. Smart Fleet focuses on fleet commitment and accomplishments in reducing petroleum use, thus reducing CO2 emissions and other harmful emissions. North Carolina based fleets (both public and private sector) are recognized by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center as supporters, leaders or champions based on their sustainability practices.

The following organizations were recognized at the NC Smart Fleet awards event:

BuildSense
UNC Charlotte
Town of Cary
Orange County
NCDOT Rail Division
Epes Transport
City of Durham
City of Winston-Salem
Go Durham
City of Charlotte
Gaston County

Champions

NC Smart Fleet Champions: BuildSense; City of Charlotte; City of Durham; Epes Transport System LLC; NCDOT Rail Division; Orange County; Town of Cary; City of Raleigh; UNC Charlotte

NC Smart Fleet Champions have achieved the highest level of recognition that we offer. Through demonstrated emissions reductions, improvements in fuel economy, use of alternative fuel vehicles, and use of best practices, these fleets serve as examples for the rest of us.

  • BuildSense: BuildSense is a design-build general contractor with an emphasis on green-building in commercial and residential. Even among Champions, BuildSense stands out from the crowd with nearly 90% of their fleet being alt fueled, consuming almost 70% alternative fuel, including CNG, B100 biodiesel, and electricity. In 2018, they reduced their fuel use over 2017 consumption, and they burned only B100 in their biodiesel vehicles.
  • City of Charlotte: The City of Charlotte continues remarkable progress in interdepartmental collaboration and management of fleet data, which gives them extra leverage to reduce air pollution and improve fuel economy across City functions.  For the second year, their application includes Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department; City Fire Department; Solid Waste Services; Water; Department of Transportation; Engineering and Property Management; Housing and Neighborhood Services. Nearly 22% of their total fleet is alt-fueled, including 30% of their light-duty fleet.
  • City of Durham: In 2017 City of Durham engaged an array of efforts and policies to cut pollution and plan for fuel efficiency: They used GIS and telemetry data to scrutinize efficiencies, routes, and idling in Solid Waste. The City replaced a number of police cruisers with fuel efficiency as a criterion. The City made substantial facility improvements and started a new stringent right typing / rightsizing replacement program.
  • EPES Transport System, Inc.: This freight hauler continues to run both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks; and they continue to improve fuel economy through techniques such as monitoring tire pressure, mandating speed limits, purchasing trucks that are more aerodynamic, and using telematics. EPES continues testing several brands of trailer tails, and an electric APU device to further reduce fleet idling.
  • Town of Cary: Despite continued growth of population and demands for public services, Town of Cary continues to lead in purchasing high MPG vehicles, robust use of smart-fleet technologies, and exemplary policies to push their Championship status. In 2018 they significantly increased their alt-fueled share of total fleet to almost 5 and a half percent. The Town’s formal rules and guidance on clean transportation includes fuel efficiency, purchasing, right-sizing, and route-planning policies.
  • UNC Charlotte: UNC Charlotte’s steady Championship for clean transportation policies and practices shows in their 2018 application.  After last year’s surge in use of electric vehicles from 48 new charging stations, light rail entering campus, and a new bike-share system, this year UNC-C tracked reductions in both vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and fuel consumption.
  • NCDOT Rail Division: NCDOT Rail Division is a new member of NC Smart Fleet for 2018. They run 8 locomotives for passenger service between Raleigh and Charlotte, and they have a strong history of innovation in pollution reduction. Despite new routes and increased vehicle miles traveled due to growth of demand for their services, the Rail Division continues to lead in deploying emissions reduction technologies.
  • Orange County: Orange County has been diligently working to improve fuel economy and reduce transportation pollution for years. This year’s Championship application highlighted the more than 11% of their fleet being alt-fueled, including 23 hybrids and 15 bi-fuel propane vehicles. The County reports 100% of its diesel vehicles being equipped with particulate filters or other emission reduction equipment. The County also have an Annual Sustainability Report on fleet MPGs, their GHG emissions inventory is being updated to include fleet activities, and they are directly coordinating with departments to implement telematics systems and a CarShare program.

Leaders

NC Smart Fleet Leaders have demonstrated a commitment to improving the sustainability of their fleet and have implemented some clean transportation technologies and best practices in their fleets.

NC Smart Fleet Leaders: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools; City of Winston-Salem; Durham City Transit Company (GoDurham); Gaston County; GoTriangle

  • City of Winston-Salem: City of Winston-Salem is a new addition to the NC Smart Fleet program, and they join by reporting almost 2% of their fleet is alt-fueled, including 1.8% of whole fleet, 2.6% of light-duty fleet, using electric, hybrid, & CNG technologies. W-S reports an impressive 1% reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from 2017 to 2018. This is a 141,000-mile reduction.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenberg School District Building Services Department: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools showed continued leadership in clean transportation in a number of ways. They significantly added to their alt-fueled fleet, increasing their percentage from less than 1% to more than 3.5% of fleet, using both dedicated and bi-fuel Propane, and gas-electric hybrids. They continue to use technologies such as anti-idling, GPS, route planning, and driver prompts to remember MPGs and Eco Driving techniques.
  • Durham City Transit Company: Durham City Transit Company is a new addition to the NC Smart Fleet program, shining with more than 40% of their fleet being alt-fueled – 25 hybrid buses out of total fleet of 61.
  • Gaston County: Gaston County is also a new addition to the NC Smart Fleet program, joining with more than 13% of their total fleet being alt-fueled. Almost 32% of their medium duty fleet runs on propane with the option to run gasoline.
  • GoTriangle: GoTriangle is another new addition to the NC Smart Fleet program for 2018. This regional transit agency serves more than 1.7 million people per year and has noteworthy policies in regards to clean transportation. GoTriangle reports 100% of their fleet using particulate filters.

The Mobile CARE and NC Smart Fleet awards are given by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center with support by the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Posted by Nicole Deck

Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo 2018

Industry experts discuss the present and future of alternative fuel vehicles

Allison Carr, Clean Transportation Specialist at NCCETC, talks about the 50 States of EVs reports.

Fleet industry professionals, alternative vehicle experts, and sustainability advocates from around the country gathered recently for the 2018 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo in Durham, NC.

More than 50 speakers presented their practices and ideas at the two-day conference, including fleet managers, technicians, company presidents and CEOs, university professors, researchers, analysts, nonprofit managers and more. With all of the varying backgrounds in transportation, there seemed to be a definitive consensus on alternative fuels – whether electric, propane, biofuel or natural gas – the industry is moving forward, and the future looks bright.

“The electrification movement and the movement to diversify our source of fuels – it’s happening. There’s no point of return now,” said Tony Posawatz,  industry leader and keynote speaker on day one of the conference. “The costs are coming down; the ecosystem is being built. But it will take some time.”

Tony Posawatz, the keynote speaker on day one of the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference.

Keynote speaker Posawatz; who is recognized as an industry leader in product innovation and electrified vehicles as Vehicle Line Executive/Director for the Chevrolet Volt (and founding member), Avalanche, and Cadillac Escalade; kicked off the conference on Wednesday morning.

Posowatz noted the alternative fuel market has steadily risen each year, and more and more choices have become available to consumers.

“It’s important for the industry to grow and for customers to be satisfied,” Posawatz said.

“The Triangle Research area is an important area for taking transportation where it needs to go,” Posowatz said. “It’s an area for emerging technology, automobile, mobility as well as energy and environment altogether.”

Posawatz noted that while the industry is obviously improving, it’s still impossible to predict.

“The future of mobility is before us,” Posawatz said. “It will surprise us all, even myself. Anyone who tells you they know what it will look like… they’re wrong.”

Panelists speak at the Electric Vehicles breakout session, including Christopher Facente, Fleet Manager at UNC-Charlotte; Ben Prochazka, Vice President of Electrification Coalition; Jesse Way, Climate Policy Analyst, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM); Mark Goody, Manager of Electric Vehicle Programs at FleetCarma; and Whitney Schmidt, EV Charging Sales Director, Carolinas and Tennessee, ChargePoint.

The three conference tracks included Connected Fleets, Alternative Fuel Solutions, Deployment and Lessons Learned, while 12 breakout sessions covered Predictive Analytics; Electric Vehicles; Solutions for Port & Freight; Smart Mobility; Propane; Local, State, Federal Policies & Resources; Managing for Fleet Efficiency; Biofuels; Sustainable Garage & Facility Operations; Smart Cities & Smart Grid; Natural Gas; and Idle Reduction.

Future of Sustainability panel, left to right: Tony Posawatz, Stuart Weidie, CEO of Alliance AutoGas; Scott Phillippi, Automotive Maintenance and Engineering Manager at UPS; Loreana Marciante, Low Carbon Mobility Strategy Manager at Paul Allen Philanthropies; and Scott Curran, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The first plenary panel, Future of Sustainability, featured Stuart Weidie, CEO of Alliance AutoGas; Loreana Marciante, Low Carbon Mobility Strategy Manager at Paul Allen Philanthropies; Scott Phillippi, Automotive Maintenance and Engineering Manager at UPS; and Scott Curran, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Phillipi compared the current state of the industry as a ‘big sandbox with a lot of different technologies.’

“We’re in a time in technology where perfect is a moving target,” said Phillippi. “As technology evolves, we may find that different things come to the forefront.”

While the plenary panel all came from different backgrounds, they agreed each alternative fuel and technology has its place and application.

“We’re seeing change happen more rapidly,” said Rick Sapienza of NCCETC. “There’s not one set solution. Use all the tools available to you.”

VW Settlement Plenary Panel, left to right: Michael Abraczinskas, Director, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDEQ); Alexa Voytek, Senior Program Manager of Office of Energy Programs at Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEQ); Joe Annotti, Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA); Debra Swartz, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; and and Michael Buff, infrastructure team, Electrify America.

At the VW Settlement Plenary Panel, Michael Buff of Electrify America; Michael Abraczinskas of NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDEQ); Alexa Voytek of Office of Energy Programs at Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEQ); and Debra Swartz, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; discussed settlement funds coming from Volkswagen.

Over 40 exhibitors showcased their products, services, and vehicles in the Expo Hall. Plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles from Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chevy, and Chrysler were on display, as well as other vehicles fueled by natural gas and propane, including a heavy-duty Freightliner CNG trash roll-off hoist truck.

 

“The conference was a great success,” said Rick Sapienza, Clean Transportation Director at NCCETC. ” It brought together transportation professionals to exchange ideas on clean transportation technologies with a good mix of what is working today, and strategic thought-provoking discussion to consider and prepare for what might be coming tomorrow.”

“As we deploy new technologies and new companies come on board, the one thing that is certain is there are going to be bumps along the way,” Phillippi said. “This is not going to be easy, but it will be worth the effort.”

Upcoming Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo 2018

WHAT:  The Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo, organized by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University and the N.C. Department of Transportation, offers this event for fleet managers and transportation-related decision-makers at organizations of all sizes.  The conference will showcase the latest on technologies in the biofuels, natural gas and propane arenas. There will also be a strong focus on data-driven decisions and technologies.

WHEN:   August 22: 8:30am – 6:00pm; Reception 6:00pm-7:30pm

August 23:  9:00am – 4:00pm; (2:30pm-4:00pm NC Smart Fleet Awards/Keynote)

WHERE: Durham Convention Center

301 West Morgan Street, Durham, NC 27701

WHO:  Keynote speakers include:

• Scott Curran, PhD, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

• Robert Gordon, DeKalb County, Georgia Government Fleet Management Department

• Tony Posawatz, automotive innovation leader

• Chris Werner, Director of Technical Services, NC Department of Transportation

Plenary panel speakers

Future of Sustainable Transportation

• LoreanaMarciante, Smart City Challenge Initiative

• Scott Phillippi, UPS Corporate Automotive Engineering

• Stuart Weidie, Alliance AutoGas

• Scott Curran, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

VW Settlement

• Michael Abraczinskas, NC Division of Air Quality

• Michael Buff, Electrify America

• Alexa Voytek, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Energy Programs

• Debbie Swartz, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

• Joe Annotti, Glandstein, Neandross & Associates (moderator)

Over 50 speakers will present their expertise in Breakout Sessions with three tracks including Data & Solutions; Alternative Fuels & Advanced Technologies; Policy & Technology. View Agenda

Over 40 exhibitors will showcase products, services, and vehicles in the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference Expo Hall. Vehicles on display will include plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles from Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chevy, and Chrysler. Other vehicles fueled by natural gas and propane will be displayed, including a heavy-duty Freightliner CNG trash roll-off hoist truck. View Exhibitor List

Advanced registration is required. Full details can be found at the conference web page:
https://www.sustainablefleetexpo.com/.

50 States of Electric Vehicles Q2 2018 report

36 States and D.C. Took 274 Actions Related to Electric Vehicles

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q2 2018 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 full Q2 2018 report, or an annual subscription to the report, may be purchased here.

The report finds that 36 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q2 2018 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to electric vehicle rebate programs, followed by DC fast charging and Level 2 charging station deployment.

The report notes three trends in electric vehicle activity apparent or emerging in Q2 2018: (1) states diverging on the issue of regulatory oversight of electric vehicle charging stations, (2) states and utilities working to expand electric vehicle and charging access to low-income and disadvantaged communities, and (3) electric vehicle activity concentrating in particular states and regions.

A total of 274 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q2 2018 – more than were taken in the entirety of 2017 (227 actions). Seven states – New York, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Minnesota – accounted for over half of these actions.

Q2 2018 Legislative and Regulatory Action on Electric Vehicles

“Although the majority of electric vehicle policy activity is occurring in particular states and regions, many states throughout the country are beginning to study questions related to electric vehicles and address initial regulatory issues surrounding vehicle charging infrastructure,” noted David Sarkisian, Senior Policy Analyst at NCCETC.

The report notes the top electric vehicle actions taken during the quarter were:

• California regulators approving $738 million for electric vehicle infrastructure investments;

Governor Cuomo announcing up to $250 million for electric vehicle expansion in New York;

Utility regulators in Alabama and New Orleans addressing oversight of electric vehicle charging stations;

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada permitting NV Energy to own, operate, and rate base electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and

The Vermont State legislature initiating an investigation into electric vehicles and charging.

“While we continue to see legislative actions on electric vehicles most concentrated in the states that are part of the Multi-State Zero-Emission Vehicle Taskforce, action pertaining to electric vehicles is occurring across the country,” noted Heather Brutz, Clean Transportation Manager at NCCETC. “This activity ranges from efforts to remove regulatory barriers to the creation of new incentive programs to directly promote vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment.”

To view the executive summary, click here.

To purchase the full report, click here.

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets – City of Raleigh

https://www.raleighnc.gov/home/content/AdminServSustain/Articles/AltFuelProgram.html
City of Raleigh Prius vehicles charging up. Courtesy: www.raleighnc.gov

The City of Raleigh has more than 2,000 registered vehicles in its fleet used for a wide variety of services, including the police force, garbage, maintenance and repairs, public utilities, water and sewer and more, according to Fleet Services Superintendent Travis Brown.

Along with the wide range of vehicles, Raleigh also has a large number of alternative fuels and alternative vehicles to match.

The City, which isn’t new to the 100 Best Fleets list, uses 385 vehicles with B20 biodiesel, over 1,000 E85 flex fuel-compatible vehicles, 223 hybrids, 18 electric powered neighborhood vehicles,  25 vehicles that use propane, and 7 that use natural gas.

Brown, who has worked with the City of Raleigh for 16 years, said the City has been working to transform the fleet even before he arrived, when the City was already using biodiesel.

Brown said that so many alternative fuels have been introduced into the fleet because they help to reduce emissions, improve air quality, promote domestic energy production, help decrease fuel costs, and can help farmers.

The goal of the City is to take care of its citizens, Brown said – and using alternative fuels is a part of that.

“It’s about being a good steward of a city, and trying to do the right thing,” Brown said.

Raleigh also uses anti-idling technology in many of the police fleet vehicles. The Energy Xtreme Law Enforcement anti-idling system allows vehicles to operate their full electrical system (including lights, camera and radio) without using the vehicle’s engine, according to the City of Raleigh website.

After the first quarter of the anti-idling technology usage, about 962 gallons were saved from 29 vehicles that used it, according to the website. The projected annual savings were estimated at $63,199.

Previously, many City police vehicles were driving Ford Crown Victorias, and now they’re driving hybrid sedans – which Brown said saves a lot of money when it comes to fuel. The Crown Victorias were getting around 13-18 miles per gallon (MPG), he said, and the hybrids get around 30-38 MPG.

“It’s been a good investment on return, going that way,” Brown said.

In addition to alternative fuels, the City schedules vehicle replacements every year to ensure the fleet is kept modern.

Raleigh also uses a maintenance management system, which provides GPS information for departments on engine faults, idling, equipment and accountability.

The most challenging part of managing a fleet, Brown said, is communicating and educating – getting the word out to all staff about changes and plans, and educating on new ways of doing things and how those changes are beneficial.

Brown said he addresses it as much as he can by having meetings with service departments and providing data on fuel usage.

When running a fleet, Brown advises doing research, networking with those in the same industry to see what works for their fleet, looking at your own to figure out what could work for yours, and attempting to do some forecasting.

“There’s so much technology out there, and the automotive industry is changing so much,” Brown said. “Don’t look at necessarily what’s happening today – try to find what’s coming up three years down the road. You don’t want to get something approved, and then it’s outdated.”

Looking ahead, Brown said Raleigh hopes to push more telematics, eventually adding the technology to all vehicles being used. Currently, Raleigh uses a maintenance management system, but the City would like to upgrade to a web-based system so they can provide more transparency to users and customers.

Learn more about the City of Raleigh’s alternative fuel use by visiting the website here.

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets series: Wake County

Wake County Government General Services Administration Fleet Operations displays its 100 Best Fleets awards since 2010.

The goals of Wake County’s fleet are the same as most: to carry out productive, safe, efficient and sustainable service at the lowest cost possible.

But the smartest and most successful way to achieve that goal, they have found, is by implementing new technology to continuously track data and uncover information.

“It doesn’t appear to be moving fast, but there’s a lot going on,” said Fleet Director Thomas Kuryla as he walked around the vehicle shop at Wake County General Services Center. “Even on slow days when there isn’t a lot of mechanical work, there’s a lot of planning and data analysis.”

Wake County has been on the 100 Best Fleets list every year since 2010, once placing number three out of the country.

There are about 1,000 vehicles in the fleet, including cars, trucks, trailers and boats, with emergency response vehicles representing half.

About 60 vehicles run on diesel, and 20 run on B20 biodiesel, Kuryla said. 400 of their vehicles are E85 compatible. Wake County hasn’t purchased new hybrid or electric vehicles in about 3 years, but around 50 hybrid vehicles are currently in the fleet.

Wake County EMS truck is lifted for maintenance repairs.

Out of the 1,000 vehicles and 200 that are serviced, there are a total of 10 mechanics.

“Our vehicles are in good enough shape that we don’t need as many,” Kuryla said.

Wake County has a preventative maintenance program in place that averts as many repairs. Vehicles are also sold with less mileage than most fleets. Many fleets keep their vehicles too long, Kuryla said, which means they’re stuck in the shop more for repairs, resulting in more downtown for drivers.

“By keeping our vehicles ahead of the game, we provide more service than other fleets out there,” Kuryla said. “People will say, ‘No, we can’t afford a new car…’ They need to think long-term and look at the big picture.”

Maintenance in the fleet is also done swiftly.

“At some places, the vehicles will spend two weeks in repair,” Kuryla said. “Here, they wait and leave — they’re working on it within 15 minutes and they’re out in less than an hour unless it’s a major repair.”

Kuryla has been Wake County Fleet Director since 2002, and he has orchestrated and seen many changes. One of the first adjustments Kuryla recommended was to transform and redesign the service and parts departments so that they were connected, and could communicate openly as a team.

“In a lot of industries, they’re battling each other,” Kuryla said. “We really wanted them to be teamed together.”

Kuryla said a big success Wake County’s fleet has had is with telematics, a system that collects data from vehicles when they’re on the road to improve efficiency. Telematics tracks the vehicles’ locations, miles per hour, time spent idling, starting or stopping too fast, whether or not the driver is wearing his or her seatbelt, and more. Drivers will be alerted with a beep when going beyond their limits, and supervisors are also automatically notified in some instances.

When telematics was first installed on the vehicles, drivers were getting a lot of beeps, Kuryla said. It didn’t take long for that to reduce considerably.

Wake County Sheriff vehicle.

Additional upgrades and changes are still to come.

Recently, the fleet introduced reusable oil filters, which increase the life of oil and keep them from ending up in a landfill. The reusable filters were put on 20 vehicles and tested for over a year. Kuryla plans to have all of their vehicles transitioned within 6 months.

The oil is also tracked with software that automatically changes intervals and notifies departments when the oil needs changing.

This year, they plan to introduce a drive over tread depth tire reader, which will generate data on the pressure and alignment, measuring the tread depth of each tire to decide whether or not it should be replaced.

Kuryla said the biggest challenge for their fleet is a common one — making advancements within the budget.

“We try to do our research and data analysis to justify why we want to do something,” Kuryla said. “Like the oil filters. Saying ‘I want to spend $75,000 buying filters’ – someone would say, ‘You’re crazy.’ But we just spent a whole year testing and found that we’ll have that buyback very quick.”

Kuryla suggests when trying to implement changes for a fleet, it’s helpful to talk to those who will be affected by asking their suggestions and opinions. For example, the new tire depth reader is talked about openly in the shop on purpose, Kuryla said. He hopes to increase interest and encourage discussion. When the oil filters were implemented, the mechanics openly discussed their experience and then helped come up with a better system.

“Get buy-in for everything you do.” Kuryla said. “Ask what would you like? What would make your job better? Get them involved. ”

To get where you want to go