Tag Archives: electric vehicles

Electric Vehicles Are Paving the Way for Emission-Free Transportation

Electric vehicles are gaining popularity as the cost of batteries continues to decrease, and many are beginning to gravitate towards them to not only help save the environment but also to help them save money. Electric vehicles (EVs) are transforming the automotive industry worldwide, with global sales increasing by 43 percent in 2020.

Dave Erb

Today, EVs offer many more advantages than just helping drivers decrease their carbon emissions. ”There are numerous purely automotive reasons to electrify, including noise, vibration and harshness, driver feel, packaging flexibility and acceleration performance,” Dave Erb, a retired automotive engineer who has been driving an EV since 2016, noted.

A study by the University of California Berkeley (UCB) found that electric heavy-duty trucks are already cheaper to own and operate than an internal combustion engine (ICE) truck, and light-duty EVs will hold a total cost of ownership advantage within the next five years.

UCB is not the only observer predicting lower prices, Bloomberg New Energy Finance published their prediction last year that EVs will reach up-front price parity, without subsidies, directly competing with prices for internal combustion vehicles by the mid-2020s.

EVs require less expensive and less frequent maintenance and offer high quality performance, known for operating smoothly and quietly while also providing more torque and agility while driving. “By most measures, EVs are just better vehicles, so the decision to drive them kind of makes itself,” Erb said.

Chris Maxwell

Although some believe recharging EVs is more troublesome than refueling at a gas station, many EV drivers actually find it to be more convenient. Chris Maxwell purchased his first EV in 2016 and drives up to 30,000 miles every year. “The great thing about an EV is you can unplug a soda machine at any old gas station to charge – electricity is everywhere,” Maxwell explained. He doesn’t worry about the range, because he can easily find electricity to recharge.

Range can also be a concern for drivers to switch to electric vehicles, but average electric vehicle range continues to increase while the price of all models continues to decrease. The UCB study states, “In the near future, when the average EV range increases, nearly 98 percent of all daily trips can be taken on a single charge.” By 2025, a number of EV models will be able to provide a range of 350 miles on a single charge, the same average range of light-duty ICE vehicles.

Drivers who purchase an EV are also eligible for tax credits and incentives for making the green choice. All-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles purchased new are eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. In North Carolina and many other states, qualified EVs may use HOV or carpool lanes, regardless of the number of occupants, allowing them to bypass high congestion traffic areas.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), maintained by NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)’s Energy Policy & Markets team, reported that 50 states plus the District of Columbia took a total of 598 policy and deployment actions related to EVs and charging infrastructure in 2020. Their 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2020 Annual Review identified the top ten EV trends which included state policymakers adopting bold EV targets, encouraging charging infrastructure development at multi-family buildings and states & utilities offering additional incentives for low-income customers.

NCCETC Clean Transportation Specialist John Bonitz noted, “With EV’s already lower operational costs, and price-parity predicted with gas vehicles in the next couple years, electrification is an increasingly compelling consideration for many fleet owners.”

The future of EVs is bright as more and more automakers continue electrifying their vehicles. Electric pick-up trucks are on the horizon, too, with Tesla, Ford, Rivian, General Motors, GMC-Hummer, Lordstown Motors and more expected to release models in the next few years.

Roanoke Electric Leading the Way in Savings with Proven EV Technology

This article is based on reporting from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, by Cathy Cash.

Early results from the first electric cooperative demonstration of a new electric-vehicle-to-grid charger show promise that such systems can help reduce peak demand and save members money.

Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Ahoskie, North Carolina, is demonstrating a special electric vehicle (EV) charger that can do double duty: It can both energize an EV and use the car’s batteries to feed power back to the electric grid.  This bidirectional, or V2G, capability could help utilities avoid peak power costs by tapping into the lower-priced energy stored by an EV during nighttime or off-peak hours.  “The overall goal is to stabilize our rates, become more efficient as a utility and prove new ways to save our members money,” said Curtis Wynn, president and CEO of Roanoke Electric, which serves about 14,000 members.

The Fermata FE-15 bidirectional charger at Roanoke Electric’s headquarters, with two Nissan LEAFs. Left to right, Wallace Ridgeway (Fermata Energy), Anita Knight (Roanoke Manager of Engineering), Ricky Robinson (Roanoke Warehouse Coordinator), and Dr Holmes Hummel (CleanEnergyWorks).

“The overall goal is to stabilize our rates, become more efficient as a utility and prove new ways to save our members money,” said Curtis Wynn, president and CEO of Roanoke Electric, which serves about 14,000 members.

This new charger is the first of its kind in the US to receive the certification of UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), which reassures end users that the device has undergone rigorous safety testing and engineering.  The maker of the new charger, Fermata Energy, asked Roanoke Electric last year to help test its FE-15 charger using the co-op’s two leased Nissan LEAF EVs. The device can draw up to 111.6 kilowatt-hours in V2G capacity from the vehicles’ 62-kWh lithium ion batteries.

Already, the system shaved 11 kW off its January peak, saving $105, said Anita Knight, Roanoke Electric’s manager of engineering.

“It’s a very small percentage based on average demand on a monthly basis, but it is proving the concept,” Knight said.

Wynn said the co-op will use the test results to inform an upcoming commercial EV rate design study that will enhance its current pilot residential EV rate. The ultimate goal is to determine how to pass on savings and create EV incentives for members.

The Fermata FE-15 bidirectional charger at Roanoke Electric’s headquarters. Left to right, Dr Holmes Hummel (CleanEnergyWorks), Wallace Ridgeway (Fermata Energy), George Stamper (Roanoke VP of Engineering), Ricky Robinson (Roanoke Warehouse Coordinator), Anita Knight (Roanoke Manager of Engineering), and John Bonitz (NCCETC).

NCCETC is supporting this demonstration with analysis, technical assistance, and facilitation. Richard Sapienza, Director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program, said, “This V2G demonstration project is helping prove the benefits and economics of the technology, which is an important component of technology application and commercialization.  There have been many cool and interesting technologies that did not achieve commercial success because they did not solve a problem, meet a need and/or make economic sense.  We have a technology that works. This project is identifying the use cases where it can be applied in a beneficial manner.”

  NCCETC clean transportation specialist John Bonitz added, “the really exciting thing about Roanoke Electric’s leadership is seeing their confidence in a future where electric school buses and cars will help support the grid and shave peaks, etc., all of it helping the whole cooperative save money.”  

Watch this blog for further updates as this demonstration progresses and accumulates more data on V2G value streams.

Sustainable Fleet Series: Best Practices, Fleet Electrification, The 100 Best Fleets in The Americas & more Available to Stream Now

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center’s (NCCETC)  2020 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference featured the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technology, operations and implementation. All 17 sessions focused on best practices to make fleets run more efficiently, with award-winner and expert speakers. 

These webinars are available to stream online now with over 30 hours of knowledge and expertise from fleet managers across the country. 

Also available on-demand, The 100 Best Fleets announced their 2020 Winners of The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas. In a later webinar, the top three fleets were featured in “100 Best Fleets: Top 3 Fleets Best Practices” to discuss their approach and best practices to distinguish themselves among the 38,000 public fleets in North America.  

The top fleet, San Luis Obispo County, California, explained how they used their “intent based leadership” program to transform their fleet and achieve 99 percent customer satisfaction. As the Fleet Manager in San Luis Obispo, Rocky Buoy led the multi-year campaign to improve inspections and ensure repairs were completed correctly the first time. 

Buoy stressed the importance of creating a culture “where people want to come to work” and investing in the fleet employees. “It’s paramount that we commit to training and developing our employees; investing in them is investing in the organization’s and their future,” Buoy said.

Governor Roy Cooper made a statement at NCCETC’s “Electrification of Transportation and Climate Change Impact” webinar on September 30, 2020. Governor Cooper discussed Executive Order 80, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent statewide and adopt 80,000 zero-emission vehicles by 2025 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

“Carbon neutrality must happen globally by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” Governor Cooper stressed. “That will require transformation in all sectors of our economy, including transportation.” 

Governor Cooper also joined 14 other governors and D.C. last summer to strive for all medium and heavy duty vehicles sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2050. “North Carolina’s VW settlement funds will be invested to speed up school bus and transit electrification and put more chargers within reach of North Carolina drivers,” the governor added.

The “Idle Reduction an Easy Win” webinar featured a panelist of experts who dispelled idling myths and explained why idling wastes fuel, puts excess wear and tear on engines and systems and produces harmful emissions. 

One of the experts on the panel, Patricia Weikersheimer, is a coordinating writer for the Argonne National Laboratory which supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. “At the national scale, idling in the United States consumes more than six billion gallons, adding up to more than $15 billion each year,” said Weikersheimer. Idle reduction can become a gateway for other initiatives that can reduce carbon emissions and support fleet sustainability. 

Other topics covered in these webinars include “Best Practices & Lessons Learned in Charging Infrastructure Deployment”, “Renewable Fuels, Lubricants & Other Biobased Products” and a roundtable with the Sierra Club to share the results of a survey of local fleet managers and create a form to assist each other through fleet electrification.

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.

Stay tuned for future updates about the 5th annual 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference online at sustainablefleetexpo.com.

Green Garage Winners’ Best Practices for Environmentally-Friendly Fleet Maintenance & Operation

Last year, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), No Spill Systems, RinseKit and the United Soybean Board sponsored The 100 Best Fleets launch of their new Green Garage Contest. 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. 

At the end of the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference, the NCCETC hosted a webinar where the winners of the 2020 Green Garage Contest were announced and shared the innovative and simple ways they “green the maintenance garage” through operations improvements and cost savings. The webinar was originally held December 9, 2020 and full videos and transcripts are available for all of the conference’s sessions online

Tom C. Johnson, author of the Green Fleet Awards, the Green Garage Contest and The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas, 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 City of Tulsa, Oklahoma was recognized as the Green Garage’s 2020 number one fleet for integrating recycling into their Learning With a Wrench (LWW) internship program. LWW allows students in Union Public Schools to work with City of Tulsa employees who maintain the City’s fleets of trucks, cars, backhoes and other large equipment to gain hands-on vehicle maintenance experience. 

“Oklahoma had an excellent discussion of parts cleaning processes, products used, auditing by the stay and their fluid containment practices,” noted Courtney Boznic, chief judge of the Green Garage Contest.

Through the recycling training, both students and technicians learned to be more aware of the materials used and which ones could be reused or recycled. The first exercise students were given was to create a device to collect oil from quart bottles so that the bottles can be recycled and the oil can be reused to heat the shop during cooler temperatures. 

The Mechanical Shop Supervisor and Instructor of LWW, Gary Burr, has mentored over 100 high school students with the City, two of which were hired as technicians. “The oil collection devices built by the students were dispersed through the shop to help each one of the technicians remember to recycle,” Burr explained.

Burr also worked with technicians and students to find the best location for recycling bins in the shop. The technicians were encouraged to be much more mindful of the waste oil, plastic, paper and cardboard they handled to ensure it was not just thrown away. “Shop-wide participation in recycling improved,” he noted. 

SECOND PLACE

The University of California Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) was recognized as the number one Green University Fleet in North America for its research on electric buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Jack Brouwer, a professor at Irvine and the Director of NFCRC 

Jack Brouwer is a professor at the University of California Irvine and the Director of NFCRC. In a study that compared a 2015 electric hydrogen fuel cell bus with 2018 electric battery buses, the fuel cell bus not only had shorter fueling times, but a longer mile range and higher passenger capacity. While electric battery buses can be more efficient for shorter-range use, fuel cell buses are still a comparable alternative to diesel. 

Hydrogen is also essential for the electric grid’s transition away from non-renewable energy sources. Due to vulnerabilities in solar and wind power, Brouwer explains, only hydrogen is capable of the magnitude of energy storage required for transitioning the grid to 100 percent renewable energy sources. Not only do batteries lack the storage capacity required for seasonal changes, but the lithium and cobalt required to manufacture them are some of the most expensive and trickiest elements to extract.

“There’s just not enough lithium cobalt around to make batteries of the magnitude that we need for accomplishing this energy storage,” Brouwer said. “Hydrogen, on the other hand, can be made from water and renewable electricity.”

Through research, beta-testing, market dynamics and education, the NFCRC is bridging fuel cell technology development and its successful introduction into the marketplace to accelerate its deployment. 

THE 2020 GREEN GARAGE’S TOP 10 FLEETS:

  1. City of Tulsa, Oklahoma
  2. University of California, Irvine
  3. University of California, Davis
  4. Westerville Schools in Ohio
  5. City of Vancouver, Washington
  6. City of Roanoke, Virginia
  7. City of Albany Georgia
  8. Laketran Ohio
  9. West Valley Construction in California
  10. Essential Utilities Company in Pennsylvania

To learn more about best practices from the top performing fleets, the entire December 9 webinar is available to watch online. This free session features operations and facility strategies and techniques from these top performing fleets, providing need-to-know information and comprehensive commitment to green vehicle maintenance.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop for Local Governments and Citizens

By the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department

Venue

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department facilitated an Alternative Fuel Vehicles workshop on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The three and one-half hour workshop occurred at Council of Governments headquarter located at 1724 Graham Avenue, Henderson, NC.  The goal of KTRCG is to promote regionalism that provides opportunities for local governments to enhance and improve the quality of life for citizens through the effective delivery of services and programs.

Workshop Purpose

The workshop educated local governments and the public about clean energy alternative fuel solutions and technologies that help reduce transportation-related emissions and air pollutants. Participants received information that allowed them to make informed decisions about implementing alternative fuel use into their department fleet of vehicles and daily lives.

Speaker Lineup

The workshop featured four dynamic presentations from NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) Program Director Rick Sapienza, Alliance AutoGas Municipal and Law Enforcement Specialist Mike Phillips, Blue Arrow Telematics Major Account Consultant Melvin McNeill, and Tesla Advisors Gabriella Kuznik and Kristin Landrum.  The workshop culminated with a video from U.S. House of Representatives Congressmen G.K. Butterfield, D-NC 1st District.  

NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Rick Sapienza gave attendees an overview of the services that NCCETC provides.  Sapienza’s presentation discussed ways that attendees could procure funding opportunities for clean transportation vehicles and infrastructure. Sapienza also stated the importance of capitalizing on alternative fuel and advanced transportation technology incentives to cut costs and reduce emissions.

Alliance AutoGas

Mike Phillips discussed the seven components of a successful Autogas Program.  Phillips emphasized using a top-down buy-in approach to implement a turnkey operation in local government department fleets that cut fuel and maintenance costs, while reducing emissions. 

Blue Arrow Telematics

Melvin McNeill discussed vehicle safety and data solutions for law enforcement offered through using telematics.  Participants gleaned a better understanding of the role telematics plays in driver safety implementation and best practices. The examples McNeill provided as to why government entities should integrate telematics, technology and data solutions into their fleets resonated with workshop attendees.

Tesla

Gabriella Kuznik and Kristin Landrum of Tesla discussed their new product line and electric vehicle technologies coming down the pipeline. From their presentation, attendees realized the role that electric vehicles play in the reduction of emissions.  Also, they did an analysis breakdown, putting into perspective the affordability of a Tesla for the average consumer.

The CCC Approach (Combating Climate Change)

Congressman Butterfield stated the importance of using biofuels to produce crops in rural communities to combat climate change.  The House of Representatives has a goal of attaining zero net emissions, leaving the country carbon-free by 2050. This objective parallels Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 initiative to reduce global warming.

Conclusion

Overall, the Alternative Vehicles Workshop was a success.  Evaluation results suggest that participants gained a better understanding of how the transportation sector is the primary direct path to address climate change. Using alternative fuels ensures the reduction of negative emissions.

Posted by Nicole Deck

National Drive Electric Week 2019 Photos

Last week, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center celebrated National Drive Electric Week 2019 with six events in Raleigh at NC State University, Winston-Salem at Wake Forest University, and Pittsboro, NC! Check out the photos from the events below.

NC State Football Tailgate & Expo (Photos by Nicole Deck)

 

Centennial Campus Expo + Ride & Drive (Photos by Nicole Deck)

 

Driver Meet-Up + Ride & Drive (Photos by Nicole Deck)

Winston-Salem events at Wake Forest University (Photos by Matt Abele)

Downtown Pittsboro Expo (Photos by John Bonitz)

Clean Transportation Demonstration Days Oct. 8 & 9

Join the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition and Triangle J Council of Governments for two Clean Transportation Demonstration Days this October 8 & 9!

Register for the Oct. 8 Concord event here, and register for the Oct. 9 Raleigh event here.

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.

Executive Order 80 calls for the State of North Carolina to protect its environment while growing clean energy technologies. The order “affirms North Carolina’s commitment to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels, calls for a 40% reduction in energy consumption in state-owned buildings, and calls for an increase in registered, zero-emission vehicles (“ZEVs”) to at least 80,000 – all by year 2025.”

Clean Transportation Demonstration Days support Executive Order 80 and give government entities across North Carolina information and experience with clean transportation technologies. The day will consist of classroom instruction with real-world case study results, hands-on product static review, networking, and a closed-course ride and drive for those who wish to participate.

Classroom instruction will include alternative fuel options, telematics and other new technologies, safety and more. There will be a diverse display of vehicles including a Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica, police vehicle and fire truck, Zero Motorcycle and more. Lunch will be provided.

*Note: The event is only open to government entities and utilities.

For any questions, contact Rick Sapienza at resapien@ncsu.edu or 919-515-2788 (office)/ 919-332-4510 (cell).

Register for the Oct. 8 Concord event here, and register for the Oct. 9 Raleigh event here.

Six National Drive Electric Week Events This September

 

Join the NC Clean Energy Technology Center for National Drive Electric Week 2019! We will have six events located in Winston-Salem, Pittsboro and Raleigh, NC, including vehicle expos/tailgates, ride and drives, and driver meet-ups. Visit www.DriveElectricWeek.org to find an event near you!

Electric Vehicle Car Show & Tailgate, 4-6 p.m. Friday, September 13 in Winston-Salem, BB&T Field: Join us to kick off National Drive Electric Week at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem with a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show at the Wake Forest Vs. UNC Chapel Hill football game!  Kick-off is at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 13. The vehicles will be located in front of the Bridger Field House.

(For game day on Friday, due to the congestion and traffic, if you do not have tickets for the game or parking arrangements, it is not advised that you come visit the plug-in electric vehicle show. )

Register here.

Driver Meet-Up, Car Show + Ride & Drive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. September 14 in Winston-Salem, BB&T Field:  On Saturday, September 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., bring your plug-in vehicle to a driver meet-up, car show and ride and drive, which is open to the public. The vehicles will be located in the Gold Parking Lot across from Bridger Field House.

Register here.

Electric Vehicle Car Show + Ride & Drive on Thursday, September 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Join us for a car show and ride & drive at Venture Plaza on NC State University’s Centennial campus. For this lunchtime event, there will be food trucks, static EVs and PHEVs to look at as well as test-drive. If you are an owner, there will be room for up to 10 static vehicles for the static car show. Owners are also welcome to participate in the ride & drive portion of the event.

For those who just want to visit and are not part of the Centennial Campus community, pay public parking is available in front of the Hunt Library. This is the same venue as the spring 2019 Earth Day event and will be a similar setup. Come on out have lunch and learn about driving on electricity!

Register here.

Driver Meet-Up & Car Show on Friday, September 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Join us for a plug-in electric vehicle driver meet-up, car show, and ride & drive outside the Close-King Indoor practice facility at the corner of Westchase Boulevard and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive, next to Carter Finley Stadium.  Bring your plug-in vehicle. Open to the public.

Register here.

Electric Vehicle Show & Tailgate on Saturday, September 21, time TBD: Join us for a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show outside the Close-King Indoor practice facility at the corner of Westchase Boulevard and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive, next to Carter-Finley Stadium. Come learn about electric, plug-in hybrid electric and hybrid electric vehicles, as well as register for a chance to win NC State University Football prizes!

(For game day on Saturday, due to congestion and traffic, if you do not have tickets for the game or parking arrangements, it is not advised that you come visit the plug-in electric vehicle show.)

Electric Vehicle Car Show at Pepperfest, Downtown Pittsboro, 3-6 p.m. Sunday, September 22: Join us at the 2019 Pepper Festival in Downtown Pittsboro to check out a display of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles, and talk to us to learn more about them.

Learn more and find an event near you at www.DriveElectricWeek.org!

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