Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop for Local Governments and Citizens
By the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We put together a list of transportation-related events we’re looking forward to in the first half of 2019! There are many diverse conferences and events taking place all over the country, connecting transportation professionals, showcasing the latest technology, and sharing new ideas and practices. Just in the first few months of 2019, there are conferences covering general transportation, clean transportation, energy, fleet management, grid, work trucks and more. Take a moment to consider marking these on your calendar!
2019 NC Transportation Summit | January 9-10 in Raleigh, NC
North Carolina’s projected growth requires consideration and careful action, especially regarding population growth. In fact, the state’s population is expected to increase by 3 million people by the year 2040. That impressive number is equivalent to the entire state of Kansas relocating to North Carolina. While a remarkable statistic, this growth has the potential to create new challenges. The Summit is an exceptional opportunity for people to gather and consider these fast-approaching and disruptive shifts. In attendance will be policy makers, transportation and industry experts, and representatives from city/county governments. The Summit is anticipating 500 attendees from across the state. The gathering will also include exhibitors who will demonstrate and display cutting-edge technologies, advances in engineering, as well as services in multiple disciplines.
Energy Independence Summit 2019 is the nation’s premier clean transportation policy summit. The Summit provides a unique opportunity for Clean Cities Coalitions and leaders in the clean transportation industry to network and build partnerships with each other, and with key Congressional and Administration policymakers in Washington, DC. The agenda includes:
• Outlook for the Alternative Fuels Industry: Roundtable of Clean Transportation Industry Leaders
• Clean Transportation Policy Accomplishments in 2017 and Congressional Outlook for 2018
• Partnering with Utilities to Advance Clean Fuels and Vehicles
• The Volkswagen Settlement: How to Leverage Alternative Fuels Investments
• Innovative State and Local Clean Transportation Programs
• What Smart Cities and Smart Mobility Mean for Alternative Fuels
The 2019 Mid-year Appalachian Energy Summit will be hosted by the University of North Carolina Greensboro on Thursday, February 28. The Mid-year Summit brings together students, faculty, and leaders in academia and business to exchange ideas and share best practices in support of a clean energy economy. Since 2012, the Summit has provided a platform through which UNC System campuses have worked together to avoid almost $800 million in utility costs.
The NTEA Work Truck Show is North America’s largest work truck event is your once-a-year chance to see all of the newest industry products. The Green Truck Summit offers cutting-edge solutions at the forefront of technology. The Fleet Technical Congress is an event where fleet managers can explore the latest technology solutions. A conference for commercial truck manufacturers, upfitters, distributors and body builders of all sizes.
NAFA Fleet Management Association 2019 Institute & Expo | April 15-17 in Louisville, KY NAFA’s annual Institute & Expo, the largest event of the fleet management industry, introduces several exciting improvements to the 2019 event to fit attendees’ goals more fully than ever before, offering registrants access to groundbreaking education in fleet and mobility, as well as the opportunity to increase their networking power and learn of new fleet products.
Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo 2019 | April 23-26 in Long Beach, CA The Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, North America’s leading conference and expo showcasing the real-world application of the latest transportation technologies, drive trains, and clean fuels. ACT Expo combines the best educational content in the industry with a cutting-edge trade show floor showcasing the most innovative technologies on the market today. Connected vehicle technologies, fuel efficiency improvement strategies and equipment, and drivetrain electrification will be key focal points for the 2019 show, set against the backdrop of increased use of alternative fuels, innovative powertrain solutions and economic & environmental fleet sustainability.
2019 State Energy Conference | April 30-May 1 in Raleigh, NC
The State Energy Conference provides actionable insight into the business of energy, connecting technical innovation, diverse resources and industry opportunity to help drive North Carolina’s regional energy economy forward with national impact.
The top electricity stakeholders, from regulators, ISOs, and utilities to technology providers, academics, and government agencies, put their heads together to determine how we will modernize the electric sector: the Grid Evolution Summit. The Summit will give you an opportunity to create solutions that will leave a lasting impact on our energy future.
The Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference will showcase the latest and greatest technologies in the biofuels, electric, natural gas, and propane arenas. The conference will also have a strong focus on data-driven decisions and technologies. With 50+ speakers and 40+ exhibitors, this event will highlight the leading edge of sustainable fleet practices and alternative fuel opportunities.
Earlier this month, 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 $1,100,101 is being awarded for ten projects to a variety of public and private entities. In total, the awarded equipment displaces 62,949 gallons of diesel/gas a year, reducing 54,042 kg of daily emissions.
The awards include:
• Alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) purchase and conversions by UNC Charlotte
• Electric PTO (power take-off) bucket trucks by Viatec Incorporated and Town of Apex
• AFV conversions to bi-fuel propane by City of Charlotte and thyssenkrupp
• Diesel retrofit by North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division
• Electric motorcycle purchases by law enforcement in Davidson County, Orange County, and Town of Matthews
Learn more about each project:
City of Charlotte
The City of Charlotte, a large municipality with a fleet of more than 3,400 vehicles, will convert eleven vehicles to run on liquid propane gas (LPG) to further the City’s greenhouse gas reductions. After the conversion, eight vehicles in the City’s Landscape Management Division and another three vehicles in Housing Code Enforcement Division will be able to run on either gasoline or propane, according to need, fuel availability, or economics. NCCETC estimates that this project will displace more than 7,200 gallons of gasoline per year. This project is part of a larger effort to champion vehicle efficiency and pollution reductions by the City: Nearly 22% of the City’s total fleet is alt-fueled, including 30% of their light-duty fleet.
Davidson County Sheriff
Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Lexington, NC, will add three 2018 Zero Motorcycles to its Motor Division, each with a projected 25,000 annual mileage per year. NCCETC estimates that this use of electric motorcycles will reduce 3,938 kg total emissions annually. The Sheriff’s Department also plans to implement a data collection tool to capture mileage accumulation information, which will be compared to tracking of the Office’s existing gas fueled motorcycle fleet. The information will be used to determine the fuel economy as well as gallons of gasoline displaced.
NC DOT Rail Division
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Rail Division in Raleigh, NC, has developed a specialized selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions reduction system that will be retrofitted onto a Piedmont passenger rail F59PH locomotive. The SCR system is known as a Blended Aftertreatment System, or BATS, and improves the locomotive’s emissions levels 55 to 80%.NCDOT’s Piedmont passenger rail service travels through nine counties between Raleigh and Charlotte, NC – Wake, Orange, Durham, Alamance, Guilford, Davidson, Rowan, Cabarrus, and Mecklenburg – all of which are indicated as EPA non-attainment for one or more pollutants (ozone, CO/CO2). The locomotive will be put into standard revenue service with an estimate of 300 days of use annually, and an expected annual mileage of 103,800 miles per year. NCCETC estimates this project will reduce an astounding 19,275 kg emissions and reduce demand for 9,000 gallons of fuel every year. This exciting project also delivers pollution reductions that are extremely cost-effective.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office plans to acquire an electric motorcycle, expanding the capacity of the specialized Motorcycle Unit to patrol County parks, trails, and greenways along with traffic enforcement, funeral escorts, dignitary escorts, and outreach and education events. The unit has been using gasoline Harley Davidson FLHP Electra Glide motorcycles, and looks forward to the addition of the stealthy electric motorcycle. The Orange County Sustainability Coordinator will work with the Sheriff’s Office to provide administrative support, tracking, and reporting on this project to estimate and publicize pollution reduction benefits. Orange County has been diligently working on their fleet to improve fuel economy and reduce transportation pollution for years. In 2018, the County reported more than 11% of their fleet being alt-fueled, including 23 hybrids and 15 bi-fuel propane vehicles. Orange County owns and operates 16 Level 2 electric charging stations, and hosts two DC Fast Charge stations in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill.
thyssenkrupp / Alliance Autogas
Thyssenkrupp, an elevator company with a large fleet of light-duty maintenance vehicles, plans to convert seven vans and a truck to reduce pollution emissions in Mecklenburg County. In Charlotte, NC, six 2018 Ford Transits and one 2018 Ford F-150 will be converted to run on either liquid propane or gasoline. The vehicles will be able to run on either gasoline or propane, according to need, fuel availability, or economics. NCCETC estimates that this project will displace more than 13,000 gallons of gasoline per year. This is part of a larger corporate shift: Nationwide, in the last four years, thyssenkrupp has reduced their fuel use by over 2 million gallons by right-sizing their vehicles and by moving towards alternative fuels like propane and electric. Locally, the project will be implemented in cooperation with fuel provider, Alliance Autogas, who will help thyssenkrupp establish necessary propane refueling infrastructure.
Town of Apex
The Town of Apex, NC, a rapidly growing municipality with 302 vehicles and over 201 pieces of equipment, will retrofit three bucket lift truck vehicles with electric PTO (power take-off) units, allowing the trucks’ diesel engines to reduce idling while operating on overhead utilities, signs, and signals. By greatly reducing diesel truck idle time, these electric PTOs will significantly reduce vehicle emissions, improving local air quality and the health of bucket truck operators and workers as well as reduce engine maintenance costs. The Town will meticulously collect fuel and mileage data on each vehicle in operation. By comparing these to historical data, the Town will be able to clearly quantify the benefits of this technology, both in terms of fuel usage and reductions in vehicle pollution, thus estimating the project’s positive effects on air quality in Wake County.
Town of Matthews Police Department
The Matthews Police Department is purchasing an electric motorcycle in order to diversify their fleet, giving them an efficient and environmentally conscious means of accessing and patrolling areas that conventional vehicles cannot reach. An electric motorcycle will allow MPD to promote safety and environmental protection to pedestrians, cyclists and others in areas such as the Four Mile Creek Greenway, a paved multi-use pathway that is popular for area hikers, bikers, walkers, and animal lovers. The electric motorcycle will displace a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria patrol car, currently getting 18 miles per gallon of gasoline.
The University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) in Mecklenburg County will replace one heavy duty bucket truck with a hybrid vehicle, and conduct a hybrid electric conversions on one 15-passenger van to reduce emissions per mile. They will also purchase new bi-fuel light duty trucks to run blends of ethanol. These replacements and up-fits will allow the campus to build on its successful fleet hybrid electrification that began as part of the state Petroleum Displacement program, which includes a fleet of over 100 GEM electric vehicles and awards for maximizing the use of E-85 in flex-fuel vehicles. NCCETC estimates these replacements and conversions will result in 53,975 kg total emissions reduced annually. Carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide reductions are estimated to cost only $2.25 and $2.10 per kilogram per year.
Viatec, a Pittsboro NC company (with locations in Greenville SC and Northern California) will retrofit 12 bucket lift truck vehicles with electric PTO (power take-off) units in NC municipalities with significant air pollution, including Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh and Cary. This electric PTO allows bucket truck crews to turn off their engine and perform work in a safe, clean and quiet environment, benefiting the owners, operators and the communities in which they work. By greatly reducing diesel truck idle time, these electric PTOs will significantly reduce vehicle emissions. NCCETC estimates that bucket trucks burn nearly a gallon of diesel fuels per hour of idling. Based on an industry study conducted by Quanta Services (Green Truck Show March 2018), an electric PTO system is estimated to save about 1800 gallons of fuel annually, in standard operations. In addition, eliminating the idling on the truck engine also reduces carbon emissions to the tune of almost 38,000 pounds of CO2. The noiseless operation of systems creates safer operating conditions for the crew and the reduced wear-and-tear on the truck engine extends the truck life. This electric PTO is built around an EPA Certified production hardened electric power train and is “Buy America” compliant. The unit is fit for utilities, tree service, sign and light companies and other aerial device application. Industry proven and tested components deliver a reliable and near maintenance-free solution.