We visited the University of North Carolina at Charlotte last year to talk to Chris Facente, Automotive and Motor Fleet Supervisor, about the university’s fleet of electric vehicles. Check out our video on it here.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has 115 electric vehicles on its campus, including Polaris GEMs and Nissan Leafs. Facente said they’d like their fleet to be 25 percent electric in about two years.
Electric vehicles are cheaper to run because they don’t require gas and require less maintenance – and they produce no harmful emissions.
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.
New, free Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar: Ethanol as Part of Your Fleet’s Fuel Strategy on February 27
On Wednesday, February 27from 2 to 3 p.m., please join us for another free Sustainable Fleet Webinar on Ethanol as Part of Your Fleet’s Fuel Strategy. Hear from industry subject matter experts and fleets that have successfully integrated ethanol into their fleet fueling options, and learn about deployment considerations and best practices.
Industry subject matter experts will provide a general overview of ethanol fuel basics, properties and benefits. Several fleets from different vocations will tell their stories regarding their decision to integrate ethanol, their experiences, and lessons learned. There will also be a round table opportunity to have myths dispelled, and questions and concerns answered.
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.
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.
Last Friday and Saturday, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s Clean Transportation team ended National Drive Electric Week with an Alternative Fuel Vehicle Demonstration & Tailgate for the NC State vs. Virginia Cavaliers football game.
The event began Friday, Sept. 28 with a driver meet-up and car show. There were about 20 plug-in electric, hybrid and biofuel vehicles on display, both from local dealerships and from electric vehicle owners and enthusiasts, including several Tesla models, BMWs, Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Toyota and more.
Owners enjoyed showing off their vehicles to guests who were curious to learn more about them, and the Clean Transportation team were able to answer questions and hand out fact sheets and studies done by the Center.
There was even a Tesla Model X that did a dance!
Saturday was the NC State game outside of the Close-King Indoor Practice Facility where many of the same alternative vehicles were on display for guests to look at inside and out. Nissan representatives were also on site and guests played the “Run the Route Challenge” and the “Blind Spot Challenge.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.