Tag Archives: clean transportation

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets winners series – City of Durham

Fleet members of the City of Durham. Photo contributed by City of Durham.

This week, Fuel What Matters features 100 Best Fleets of the Americas winner City of Durham.

City of Durham’s fleet, which consists of about 1,520 vehicles and equipment, is a typical municipal fleet with cars and trucks (both light/heavy duty), refuse collection vehicles, police and fire vehicles, and construction equipment, according to Fleet Management Director Joseph Clark.

Durham has received the 100 Best Fleets Award every year since 2010, has been named as a Top 50 Fleet by the Leading Fleets Award Program from 2014 to 2018, and has multiple times been recognized for the Green Fleet Awards.

“We are proud to be afforded the opportunity to both participate and be recognized,” Clark said of the 100 Best Fleets award.  “Our highest ranking has been 7th, but we are optimistic for the future.”

Clark said he thinks the City of Durham fleet’s careful cost analyzation to determine what works well for the organization and its stakeholders is what the fleet does best.

Durham uses a  Fleet Information Management System that captures accurate relative data; and dealer and OEM level software and technician training.  The fleet also benchmarks other leading agencies in their successes and failures to minimize missteps and maximize returns; and uses optimized tuning equipment, advanced telematics and idle reduction technology to increase fleet efficiency.

“Our recognition is tied to our dedication to managing the fleet utilizing some of the best and latest tools available,” Clark said.

Durham also has plan in place with a goal of reducing annual maintenance cost and average cost per mile, increasing average fuel economy, and reducing fossil fuel consumption, Clark said.

Through the years, underutilized vehicles have been removed, allowing the fleet to decrease in size. Clark said this has been done by outsourcing police upfit builds, remarketing used vehicles within the City, and adopting a sustainability plan that includes fuel reduction goals, right-sizing and right-typing vehicles, utilizing smaller engines in police vehicles, eliminating 4-wheel drive when not needed, and more.

To keep improving on the City of Durham’s fleet, Clark said they hope to further invest in hybrid vehicles, along with continued investment in anti-idle technology.

In addition to reducing fossil fuel use and right-sizing vehicles, Durham’s fleet also implements programs for its staff.

The fleet holds monthly staff meetings where discussion is focused on topics that encompass the whole organization, Clark said. The City has a program called Idea Starter that encourages new ideas and has a pool of funds to contribute to selected ideas.

“Recognition is a key component that encourages ideas to be brought forward,” Clark said. “We push a continuous learning philosophy.”

Throughout the years, the fleet has also faced challenges. There was a period of time when economic factors forced underfunding of fleet replacement — a deficit that created a backlog of vehicles, Clark said. The fleet continues to try to remedy the backlog while investing new ideas when opportunities exist.

When it comes to advice, Clark suggests “buy-in from the top.”

“Buy-in from the top is paramount — if upper management does not support the idea, it will be difficult to be successful,” Clark said.

 

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets series: City of Concord

Members of the City of Concord Fleet Services Department hold their 100 Best Fleets award for 2018. Photo contributed by City of Concord Fleet Services Department.

Seven fleets from North Carolina made it on the 100 Best Fleets in the Americas’ list of winners for 2018 — and in the next several weeks, Fuel What Matters will be featuring each fleet and what it has done to achieve success.

This week,  Daniel Nuckolls, Director of Fleet Services since 2002, talks about the City of Concord Fleet Services Department. This was the fifth year Concord has placed in the 100 Best Fleets.

Nuckolls said Concord’s fleet has become more efficient through the years by implementing a career development program, rightsizing vehicles, and using alternative fuels and technologies.

Concord began implementing more fuel-efficient strategies and equipment in 2003. Electric cars and EV chargers are used throughout the city, and today, about 5 percent of Concord’s light-duty fleet is comprised of hybrid electric vehicles.

In the police fleet, Concord moved from 9-cylinder cars to 6-cylinders, which Nuckolls estimates saves about 34K gallons of fuel per year. Concord also uses B20 blend biodiesel for all diesel vehicles, which he estimated displaces 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

“Fuel usage over the last 10 years has not increased very much at all — it remains flat,” Nuckolls said.

The City Of Concord is an active participant in the Clean Cities coalition and is a core stakeholder in the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, according to their website. Fleet Services also developed and administers the Concord Air Awareness Program, which educates and informs City employees about air quality issues.

“From the very get-go, we wanted to implement alternative fuels,” Nuckolls said. “Mainly for air quality, but also, certain things are helping cost.”

One of the most successful improvements of the City of Concord Fleet Services Department, Nuckolls said, is the Career Development Program, which is designed to reward and advance the careers of technicians, parts personnel, and supervisors by converting their training and experience into ASE Certifications (Automotive Service Excellence).

The Career Development Program was implemented in 2003 when the fleet had a total of 3 ASE certifications among 8 technicians, 2 supervisors, and 2 parts personnel. Now, the fleet has 84 ASE certifications with 6 Master Mechanic certifications.

Nuckolls said the program has led the fleet to become the lowest cost fleet in North Carolina for five consecutive years.

“As fleet director, I feel it is important to encourage individuals to distinguish themselves and to provide incentives for continuous improvement,” Nuckolls said. “As our technicians become more proficient, so does our fleet maintenance program, which drives our fleet availability and productivity. “

Posted by Nicole Deck

National Bike to Work Day 2018

A bicyclist chats at a pit stop at last year’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC. Photo contributed by BikeRaleigh.

All month long, communities around the US have been celebrating National Bike Month 2018. May is halfway through, but there are dozens of bicycling events happening around North Carolina that are still to come — including this Friday’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC.

If you’ve never tried out a bike route to work, National Bike to Work Day is a great day to explore your options and meet other bicycling enthusiasts. Commuting with a bike can help you save money on gas, avoid traffic, get exercise, and be more environmentally friendly by not contributing to air pollution.

Fontaine Burruss, Bikeshare Coordinator for City of Raleigh Department of Transportation, said Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day event is for anyone from longtime bicycle commuters to those who are trying it for the first time.

Sign for a pit stop during last year’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC. Photo contributed by Bike Raleigh

“It’s a great way to both celebrate those who bike to work already, and also encourage people who are in interested in biking to work but maybe haven’t taken that leap,” Burruss said.

The City of Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day event will be throughout the morning and evening this Friday, May 18, with pit stops located around the city packed with refreshments and giveaways. Most pit stops will be around in the morning, ranging from 6 to 11 a.m., with one pit stop after work from 4 to 6 p.m.

To find the map of pit stops in Raleigh, view below (pit stops are indicated by the orange bicycle symbols) and click here for the interactive version complete with hosts and times they will be there. You can also map out your route and view bike lanes by using Raleigh’s online bike map or downloading BikeRaleigh’s free mobile app.

Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day is a one-day event, but Burress said she hopes it makes a lasting change in people’s lives.

“Often what we find is people who try it once realize it’s not as hard as they think it is to bike to work, and they’re open to trying more often,” Burress said.

If you can’t make it out Friday, Durham County will also have a Bike to Work Day event next Thursday, May 24, with several pit stops located throughout the city from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.  Stop on your way to work for food and prizes; and for each location you stop, you also get entered into a raffle.

If you’re new to commuting, Durham County has a Bike Buddy program, where a partner can help show the way. View the Durham event map here and visit www.bikedurham.org for more information.

There are plenty of more National Bike Month events happening around North Carolina in May. For more in Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Knightdale and Wake Forest, visit gotriangle.org. For events in Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville and Black Mountain, visit strivenottodrive.org.

Before you go, be sure to check NC Department of Transportation Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation’s safety and education page to be aware of laws and safety measures when it comes to bicycling in the city.

NCCETC releases 50 States of Electric Vehicles Report

42 States and DC Took Action on Electric Vehicles During Q1 2018

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center released its Q1 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 report finds that 42 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q1 2018 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to electric vehicle fees, fast charging deployment, and electric vehicle studies.

The report notes four trends in electric vehicle activity apparent or emerging in Q1 2018: (1) states considering multi-faceted electric vehicle plans, (2) contention around utility ownership of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, (3) examining the role of demand charges in vehicle charging rates, and (4) piloting the co-location of energy storage systems with electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

A total of 275 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q1 2018 – more than were taken in the entirety of 2017 (227 actions). New York, New Jersey and Hawaii took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, followed by Massachusetts, Washington and Minnesota.

Q1 2018 Legislative and Regulatory Action on Electric Vehicles

“So far in 2018, we see a number of states taking actions that incorporate multiple strategies or involve existing statewide goals,” noted Allison Carr, Clean Transportation Specialist at NCCETC. “Several states and utilities are starting to connect electric vehicle planning with other statewide electric grid modernization, transportation and environmental goals.”

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

• Hawaii utilities publishing their Electrification of Transportation Strategic Roadmap;

• California regulators approving utilities’ first wave of proposed electric vehicle programs and investments;

• A Maryland working group proposing a statewide electric vehicle portfolio;

• Missouri utilities proposing new electric vehicle programs; and

• Pennsylvania regulators issuing a policy statement on third-party electric vehicle charging.

“It is exciting to watch states live up to their reputation as laboratories of democracy,” said Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC. “States are testing out a variety of strategies to build strong electric vehicle markets and charging networks, with many states taking multi-pronged approaches themselves.”

View the 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q1 2018 Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q1 2018 FULL Report

View the 50 States Reports – Solar, Grid Modernization and Electric Vehicles

Driving on Solar Miles

Driving on Solar Miles: Integrating Residential Solar and Electric Vehicle Charging panel at the 2018 State Energy Conference of North Carolina

Heather Brutz of NCCETC introduces the panelists of Driving on Solar Miles: Integrating Residential Solar and Electric Vehicle Charging at the 2018 State Energy Conference of North Carolina. Photo by Nicole Deck.

Industry experts discussed options available today for integrating residential solar with electric vehicle charging at the 2018 State Energy Conference of North Carolina last month. Panelists addressed some of the most commonly used technologies as well as the future of residential solar, electric vehicle charging and the grid.

The three panelists were Bharat Balagopal, a doctoral student at North Carolina State University; Stew Miller, President of Yes Solar Solutions; and Stan Cross, CEO of Brightfield Transportation Solutions. Heather Brutz, Transportation Finance and Operations Manager at NCCETC, was moderator.

Stan Cross (Brightfield Transportation Solutions) shared a map of electric vehicles and charging stations in North Carolina, and discussed the statistics of annual community benefits per 10,000 EVs:

• Approx. EV miles driven annually = 120M miles

• Barrels of Oil Avoided by EVs = 221K barrels

• GHG reduced from gasoline to grid power = 44M lbs.

• GHG reduced when Solar Driven = 84M lbs.

• EV-related fuel savings = $8.2M

• EV-related maintenance savings = $3.6M

• EV-related $$ Retained in the Community = $7.6M

Stew Miller (Yes Solar Solutions) said that the average gas-powered vehicle emits the equivalent of 11,435 lbs. of CO2 annually.  And on average, using the NC electric grid to charge an EV releases 4,185 lbs. of CO2 each year.

Daily Cycle of Solar & Storage graphic by Yes Solar Solutions.

Miller said that by using solar and storage like Tesla Powerwall to generate and store the electricity needed to power their vehicles, EV drivers can reduce their transportation-related emissions to zero. Powering EVs with a home solar system is typically cheaper than charging your car with electricity from the grid as well, Miller said.

Bharat Balagopal discussed electric vehicle charging and integration with the smart grid.

According to Balagopal, benefits of community charging are:
• EVs are flexible loads that can improve the stability of the grid
• Sooth the adverse effect of renewable fluctuations by quickly changing the charge rates
• Improve the power quality by peak shaving (reducing the load) and valley filling (increasing the load)

However, risks include:
• Uncontrolled charging of multiple EVs can destabilize the grid
• Simultaneous charging of EVs can introduce huge load to the grid

To alleviate those risks, Balagopal said, researchers at Advanced Diagnosis, Automation, and Control Lab (ADAC) devised a method for smart charging of EVs to maximize benefits and minimize the risks of EV integration. Their technology, he said, can intelligently schedule the charging of the EVs based on energy needs, working schedule, renewable energy generation and load pattern.

There are two main enabling technologies that allow them to intelligently control the charging of the EVs — the Collaborative Distributed Energy Management System and the Smart Battery Gauge. To learn more, click here.

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