Tag Archives: alternative fuel

Posted by Nicole Deck

2019 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference Expo A Success

The 2019 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo showcased the latest and greatest technologies in the biofuels, electric, natural gas and propane arenas – including everything from a 2-seater 6-foot tall electric GEM to a 15-ton Ford F-750 Danville Public Works propane truck with an attached Petersen Lightning Loader.

More than 50 speakers in a variety of backgrounds presented their ideas and practices last week in Durham, NC – highlighting the leading edge of sustainable fleet practices and alternative fuel opportunities – including fleet managers, technicians, company presidents and CEOs, university professors, researchers, analysts, nonprofit managers and more. 

Rick Sapienza, Clean Transportation Program Manager at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, said the event met the main objective well – which was to guide and exchange ideas.

“The conference was strong on all levels – speakers, attendees, and technologies presented,” Sapienza said. 

“It was great to see professionals from different industries and backgrounds coming together to discuss strategies for improving the sustainability of transportation in our state,” said Heather Brutz, Clean Transportation Finance and Operations Manager.

Conference tracks included Trends in Advanced Fuels and Fueling, Integrated Fleet Technology Solutions, and Fleet Efficiency & Sustainability. Within those, the sessions were Electric Vehicles; Propane; Natural Gas; Biofuel Solutions; Telematics; Recruiting, Retention and Career Development; Infrastructure and Intelligent Solutions; Heavy Duty Vehicle Efficiency; Electrification and the Grid; Rural and Small Town Fleet Operations; Fleet Efficiency and Idle Reduction; and Procurement Solutions.

The expo hall was full of more than 40 diverse exhibitors and over a dozen vehicles inside and outside the convention center, including an ECO Vehicle systems propane bus, GoSolar Tesla, EV ARC (a solar-powered vehicle charging by Envision Solar), a plug-in hybrid Durham Police car, Altec JEMS electric bucket truck, a SMARTPTO Viatec bucket truck, Ingevity adsorbed natural gas truck, Dannar Mobile Power Station (MPS) electric work vehicle, Thomas Built Buses Jouley Saf-T-Liner C2 electric school bus, Zero Motorcycles and more.

“This year, the excitement and open two-way conversation stood out. People were engaged,” Sapienza said. 

Fleet managers are looking for ways to improve the performance, efficiency and sustainability of their fleets, and more technology and equipment is coming out to aid in that endeavor, said Allison Carr, Clean Transportation Specialist at NCCETC.

“There is a genuine interest in development and integration of sustainable strategies into fleets,” Sapienza said. “The appetite is there, and there is creativity on the part of the technology providers, as well as the end-users.”

New this year, the pre-conference day included a workshop: Fleet Efficiency & Sustainability in a Campus Setting, where experienced fleet managers discussed the metrics needed to make smart decisions for alternative fuels and technologies in various campus settings. Speakers included William Evans, Princeton University; Chris Facente, UNC Charlotte; Kathy Wellik, Iowa State University; Charles Bey, UNC Asheville; Ronald Gitelman, Yale University; Michael Duffy, University of Virginia (Both Yale University and the University of Virginia are NAFA Sustainable Fleet Accredited, and Iowa State University is in process for accreditation). 

To close-out pre-conference day, the Mobile CARE and NC Smart Fleet Awards were awarded

The Fleets & Advanced Mobility Solutions plenary panel with Greg Treinen of Daimler/Freightliner; Bill Combs of Penske; Stuart Weidie of Alliance AutoGas/Blossman Gas; Michael McDonald of UPS; and moderator Mark Smith of the U.S. Department of Energy – Vehicle Technologies Office; covered what each speaker is doing in their fleet to continue to improve on efficiency, performance and sustainability.

McDonald with UPS said that as a fleet manager, he looks at vehicles and uses what works best in every application – whether is electric, propane, natural gas or biofuel. 

“Every technology that’s been mentioned or not been mentioned has a drawback. There’s no one fuel that solves the problem,” McDonald said. “Ask questions, get as much as you can from the questions you ask, and formulate your own opinion.”

The Planning for an Advanced Transportation Future plenary panel with Geoff Morrison of Cadmus; Diane Turchetta of Federal Highway Administration; Phil Bisesi of ElectriCities; Jibonananda Sanyal of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Chris Werner of North Carolina Department of Transportation; and moderator Cassie Powers of National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO); covered what each speaker is doing to get ready for the inevitable changes and new advanced technologies coming to the world of transportation. Overall, they agreed that integration, communication, collaboration and partnership were the keywords to make it happen.

Keynote speakers included David Dunn, Fleet and Facilities Management Division Manager of the City of Orlando; and Mark Smith, Technology Integration Program Manager at US Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.

Smith talked about the state of transportation and where it’s heading; integrating more technology within light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, alternative fuel infrastructure and energy efficient mobility systems and technologies; and the importance of Clean Cities coalitions. Smith said the Department of Energy ‘envisions more choices and more efficient and affordable technology, when and wherever it’s needed.’

Dunn pointed to the ways the City of Orlando continues to work to make its fleet more sustainable. He said that change doesn’t have to happen overnight – successful results can be slow and steady.

“Sustainability is not a destination; it is a never-ending journey,” Dunn said.

Presenter PowerPoint presentations will soon be available at www.SustainableFleetExpo.com. Stay tuned for next year’s conference dates!

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tailgate at Durham Bulls Game

Join us for an Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tailgate before the Durham Bulls baseball game on Saturday, July 13 from 5:30-6:35 p.m. outside of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park stadium! Check out a lineup of alternative fuel vehicles, which may include electric, hybrid/plug-in hybrid electric, propane, natural gas, biodiesel or ethanol.

Sustainable Fleet Webinars: Telematics Applications for Fleets

Telematics is a powerful tool that allows fleets real-time monitoring and information regarding any activity or metric that is important to their business and operations. Applications and benefits include driver safety and behavior, asset management, maintenance, route optimization, security, liability protection, lower costs, and increased efficiency.

Please join us on March 28 from 2 to 3 p.m. for a free Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar on Telematics Applications for Fleets.  Hear from industry experts and fleets that have successfully employed this technology regarding its capabilities, applications and benefits. Telematics continues to bring new solutions to help improve fleet operations.  Learn how it can help yours.

Register now here.

Electric Vehicles Takeaways in 2018

 EnergyWire recently featured an article “7 Takeaways From a Wild Year for EVs,” covering the biggest news related to electric vehicles in 2018. While electric vehicles are still mostly absent from showrooms, the article stated, signs of progress were apparent in many places last year. In the U.S., the 1 millionth EV was sold, and battery prices continued to drop.

The top 7 takeaways from 2018:

Tesla news: Despite controversy involving Elon Musk’s negative publicity, Tesla hit its 5,000-a-week goal in September, and the Model 3 is by far the top-selling pure-electric car in the US.

New EV pickup truck in the works: Rivian, an auto technology startup, is producing an all-electric pickup truck and SUV with a large amount of specs, including 400 miles on a charge, towing 11,000 pounds, and more. It is expected to arrive around year 2020 or later.

EV charging gets funding: Investment is coming from several quarters, including Volkswagen. Major utilities, seeing an opportunity to sell electrons, are also getting in on the act.

Policymakers and regulators get on board: Many policymakers around the country have made major transportation announcements, including Gov. Jerry Brown calling for California to add 5 million EVs by 2030.

“Invasion of the scooters”: Electric scooters have spread to dozens of cities and have been ridden millions of times, and the companies making them are now worth billions of dollars.

Heavy vehicles make progress: The falling cost of batteries and changing attitude toward carbon emissions and policy changes have moved up the timeline for electric buses and trucks. Dozens of school districts and transit districts also announced they are buying electric buses.

Incumbents step in: GM announced it would lay off thousands of workers, and one reason for it was to double its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles in the next two years. President Trump expressed negative opinions on electric vehicles, and a bill to kill the $7,500-per-vehicle EV tax credit was introduced.


Worldwide and in the United States, electric vehicles had a big year of news and changes – and the state of North Carolina was no exception.

Total EV registrations (both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles) in North Carolina were at 7,946 in 2017, and in 2018, the numbers jumped to 10,001 just through June, representing a 26 percent growth, according to EVadoption.com.

In August 2018, the US Department of Transportation announced that North Carolina’s City of Greensboro, the Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority (GoTriangle), and Chapel Hill Transit were to be awarded a total of $4,225,000 in federal grants for its Low or No-Emission (Low-No) Bus Program Projects, which supports deployment of electric buses into their fleets.

The City of Greensboro received $1,900,000 in funds to replace older vehicles with battery electric buses and purchase charging stations. The Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority (GoTriangle) received $943,000 to purchase battery electric buses to replace older vehicles at the end of their useful life. Chapel Hill Transit received $1,382,000 to purchase battery electric buses to replace the oldest vehicles in their fleet.
Gov. Roy Cooper signs Executive Order 80 in Cary, NC in October 2018.

In October 2018, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 80, which calls for the State of North Carolina to protect its environment while growing clean energy technologies. Cooper called for the number of zero-emission vehicles (“ZEVs”) to grow at least 80,000 by year 2025, according to a press release from Gov. Cooper.

Also in 2018, NCCETC unveiled new EV policy research tools with DSIRE Insight, which provides research and analysis services to energy industry professionals. These reports provide concise, useful information concerning state legislative and regulatory developments, along with actions on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. The series of quarterly reports is available by subscription here.

Check out last year’s 50 States of Electric Vehicles reports here. The complete 2018 Annual Review will be available at the end of January 2019, and can be found on the same webpage or on www.FuelWhatMatters.org.

Posted by Nicole Deck

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Demonstration & Wake Forest 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

CFAT awards & new funding

NCCETC Awards $1.2 million in Air Quality Improvement Grants
New round of funding released

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) announced the results of a call for projects through the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project. The 2017-2018 $5.6 million initiative, focused on reducing transportation-related emissions, is supported with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT). More than $1,245,300 is being awarded for eight projects to a variety of public and private entities. A new round of funding has also been released, and the applications are due June 8, 2018. Apply here!

The awards include: 

    Alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) leasing by BuildSense, Inc.

    AFV conversions and idle reduction technology by City of Charlotte

    Idle reduction technology by Convoy Solutions and Viatec Incorporated

    AFV conversions by Gaston County North Carolina Propane Gas Association (NCPGA), and City of Winston Salem

    Diesel retrofit by North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division

The CFAT project operates in counties that do not meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards. More than half of North Carolinians live in counties that have unhealthy air. In total, the awarded equipment displaces 353,265.16 gallons of diesel/gas a year, reducing 97.02 kg of daily emissions.

Round 2 of funding request for proposal period has opened and awards will be announced by September 2018. Up to $1,455,000 in federal funding is being awarded for projects to a variety of public and private entities. The deadline to apply for this final CFAT round of funding for 2018 is June 8, 2018. For the application and more information, click here.

Posted by Nicole Deck

First Responder Clean Transportation Demonstration Day

Ron Luttrell of Zero Motorcycles talks to a guest test driving a Zero Motorcycle at First Responder Clean Transportation Demonstration Day. Photo by Mark Lienhard, EVOLVE GT LLC
First responders of all types got a chance to trade their typical mode of transport for a day and test drive several different alternative fuel vehicles, including LPG, CNG, PHEV and electric motorcycles, on a closed track.
About 60 first responders attended First Responder Clean Transportation Demonstration Day at the NC Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR), where they got a chance to learn about alternative fuel vehicles and clean transportation technology applications for law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency medical services.
The day started out with testimonials, real-world case study presentations and learning sessions, and was followed by vehicle test drives on NCCAR’s closed 2-mile, 40-foot wide serpentine road course in Garysburg, NC.
First responders and guests take a look at an ICOM Alternative Fuel Systems vehicle. Photo by Mark Lienhard
The NCCAR Road Course from above. Provided by North Carolina Center for Automotive Research
Most attendees took a lap around the track, said Richard Sapienza, Clean Transportation Program Director at North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center – many reaching more than 100 MPH.
“It was a lot of driving and a lot of fun,” Sapienza said. “I wanted to be able to push the vehicles and see their performance in a safe environment, and that was achieved.”
The vehicles at the event were two Ford Explorer Interceptors, a Ford F350 PU, Chevy Tahoe, Ford F150 PU, Police Plug-In Focus and two Zero Motorcycles. The idle reduction technologies on display included a Smeal SG-09 APU Fire Truck, ZeroRPM REV Group Ambulance, Stealth Power Chevy Police Tahoe, and LGS Group Vehicle Technologies.
An up-close shot of a Zero Motorcycle. Photo by Mark Lienhard
First responders and guests check out the Charlotte Fire Department firetruck. Photo by Mark Lienhard
The two Zero Motorcycles featured the Z-force motor — a single moving part with no fluid, clutch or transmission, according to www.zeromotorcycles.com. Several attendees commented on both the motorcycles’ ability to pick up speed quickly while also remaining strikingly quiet, especially when comparing to most gas-powered motorcycles’ recognizable rumble.
The ambulances and fire trucks used idling technology, which minimizes the amount of time vehicles need to idle and allows them to use less of their engine or generator.
Attendees learned that all of the alternative fuel technologies could be used to save money, improve efficiency and extend vehicle service life.
Because of the event’s success, NC Clean Energy Technology Center hopes to repeat a demonstration day in the future.

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