Tag Archives: transportation

2022 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference a Success for the Clean Transportation Community

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) welcomed more than 350 registered attendees in Durham, NC for the 2022 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo. The conference showcased the latest and greatest technologies in the biofuels, electric, natural gas and propane arenas – including everything from Progress Solar’s latest mobile solar electric vehicle (EV) charging model to the diverse display of alternative fuel vehicles and other clean transportation technologies.

Over 80 speakers from a variety of backgrounds presented their ideas and best practices during the conference – highlighting the leading edge of sustainable fleet practices and clean transportation opportunities – including fleet managers, technicians, company presidents and CEOs, university professors, researchers, analysts, nonprofit managers, motivational speakers and more. “It was inspiring to see professionals from different industries and backgrounds coming together to exchange ideas for improving the sustainability of transportation in our state and beyond,” said Heather Brutz, Director of the NCCETC Clean Transportation Program.

The sixth annual Sustainable Fleet Technology (SFT) Conference was able to return in-person in 2022 for the first time since 2019, bringing together fleet professionals and decision-makers to share and discuss evolving clean transportation strategies and technologies. Brutz marked SFT 2022 as a success in meeting this objective. “We’re fostering a community where members support each other during this transition to integrate sustainable operations and technologies into their fleets,” said Brutz.

During expo hall hours, attendees were able to network with more than 60 exhibitors while exploring over a dozen vehicles inside and outside of the convention center, with displays including a Chevy Bolt, Ford E-Transit, the City of Charlotte’s Ford F-150 Lightning and Ford Mustang Mach-E, the City of Durham’s bucket truck with a plug-in electric power take-off (PTO) solution by Viatec, Lightning eMotors, Thomas Built Buses Jouley Saf-T-Liner C2 electric school bus, Zero Motorcycles, an Electric Vehicle (EV) Fast Charger from Siemens, Progress Solar’s Mobile Solar Light Tower solution, XL Flee’s Hybrid Electric Upfit, Cenntro’s all-electric Logistar 400 and off-road utility task vehicle ORV, a long-range electric low-speed vehicle from Carolina Industrial Equipment, and more.

“This year the expo hall was full of a lot of electrifying conversations,” said John Bonitz, Clean Transportation Specialist at NCCETC. “There’s a lot of opportunities coming from recent federal and state actions encouraging creativity from both the manufacturers and the end-users.”

During the pre-conference day, NAFA Fleet Management Association hosted a Sustainable Fleet Management Program Boot Camp before announcing the 2022 winners of the 100 Best Fleets and Green Fleet Awards. Triangle Clean Cities also hosted the Triangle Electric Vehicle Summit, and Cenntro vehicles were available for the ride & drive outside of the convention center.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS & BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Keynote speakers John Konkel, Director of GM Fleet in the Southeast Region, and Robert Gordon, Fleet Management Deputy Director in Dekalb County kicked off day one of SFT 2022.

SFT Conference tracks included Vehicle Applications, Fueling Infrastructure, and Planning & Technology. Attendees were able to choose from 12 breakout sessions across the tracks:

  • Alternative Fuel Vehicle Emissions Reductions & Case Studies
  • Best Practices for Managing Fleet Charging Equipment
  • Telematics: Realtime Information for Optimizing Fleet Performance & Safety
  • Hydrogen as a Transportation Solution
  • Charging Equipment Service & Maintenance for Reliability
  • Considerations & Opportunities for Rural Communities
  • Alternative Fuel Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Case Studies
  • Alternative Fuel Resilience Considerations
  • Funding & Financing Your Sustainable Fleet
  • Understanding Batteries
  • Considerations in EVSE Networking, Communications & Specifications
  • Idle Reduction an Easy Win

The plenary panel Industry Roundtable: Getting the Win in Sustainable Fleet was moderated by John Davis, Emmy® Award-winning producer, host and creator of MotorWeek. The panel featured Ted Koupparis of General Motors Fleet, Patrick Campbell of Cummins, Dawn Fenton of Volvo Group North America, Stuart Weidie of Alliance AutoGas, and Patrick Scully of Ballard Fuel Systems.

Stuart Weidie spoke of the long future of the internal combustion engine and the viable role for propane and other alternative fuels, a view shared by others on the panel. They examined the current state of sustainable transportation and identified opportunities for overcoming barriers to meeting goals for today and the future.

Dawn Fenton outlined two of the barriers many heavy-duty fleets face when building toward a sustainable fleet: the lack of established infrastructure for refueling alternative fuel vehicles and the need for incentives on local and nationwide scales.

Fenton said recent federal programs like those outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act have the potential to help public fleets overcome these obstacles. The Act includes expansions and extensions of utility-scale tax credits and rebates to incentivize the purchase of electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks as well as its associated refueling infrastructure.

“Many utilities have also established make-ready programs to help lower the cost of infrastructure for heavy-duty fleet vehicles and equipment,” Fenton added.

Day two began with plenary panel Leadership Triple Play featuring Motivational Speaker & Scottsdale-based Leadership Development Coach Ramsey Bergeron of Bergeron Wellbeing, Lonnie Mayne of Red Shoes Living, Inc. and City of Orlando’s Facilities Management Division Manager David Dunn. The panel highlighted principles for fleet managers to employ to help their organizations successfully embrace change and improve results.

Later that day, Robbie Astrop, Sr. Business Development Manager at ABM moderated the plenary panel Industry Roundtable: Delivering Electrons for Transportation Electrification. Speakers on the panel were Todd Ritter, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of EvStructure; James Tillman, Sr. Vice President Business Development, Brytemove Energy; Sean Ackley, EV & Mobility Segment Lead of Hitachi Energy; and Anne Blair, Electrification Coalition’s Director of Policy.

Sean Ackley, an engineering graduate of NC State University, has had a career focus on electrical infrastructure technologies and execution projects. As Hitachi America’s resident expert on EV technologies, Ackley leverages his background in cloud managed services, product development, testing interoperability, and construction project management in facilitating critical thinking around the transition of large fleets to electric powertrain.

Ackley knows the transition to alternative fuel of large fleets is no small feat and he expressed that during the panel. “It’s a whole ecosystem,” said Ackley. “We’re changing the world.”

Ackley stressed the importance of future-proofing technology to support the expansion of infrastructure and equipment as it evolves. “Start early, think ahead, and get creative,” Ackley advised when asked about specific strategies for load management and deployment.

Overall, the panelists agreed that transitioning fleets to electric vehicles is a multi-aspect process that involves planning, coordination, maintenance, strategies for managing electrical load, and more. The roundtable discussion focused on charging options, use cases, policies and strategies to meet today’s needs, as well as what is needed to further transportation electrification.

Industry Roundtable: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Electric Vehicle Portfolio Planning was the conference’s final plenary panel and joined together several major OEMs to share their plans and investments related to bringing a light-duty EV line-up to market from what is available to what is coming.

”A lot of OEMs have been announcing major developments in regards to electric vehicle offerings within their portfolio,” said Brutz, who moderated the panel’s speakers: Bryan Chapman, Southeast Government Sales Account Manager, Stellantis NA; Ted Koupparis, Sales Enablement Manager, General Motors Fleet; James Morgan, Government Sales Manager, Ford Motor Company; Mark Namuth, Manager, Fleet Commercial Sales, Nissan; and Scott Bargatze, Southeast Commercial Sales Manager, Nissan.

The NCCETC hosts the annual Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference as part of its mission to advance a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies.

PowerPoint presentations will be available in the coming weeks at www.SustainableFleetExpo.com. Stay tuned for next year’s conference dates. Don’t miss out on future updates for the 2023 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference – sign up for the clean transportation newsletter now!

Getting North Carolina Ready for Electric Vehicle Charging

Electrification of transportation is exciting and challenging. Market forces are already pushing us in the direction of electric vehicles (EV), but our electric “refueling” infrastructure is lagging. Public and private investments are being made and more are coming in the form of grants, incentives, and substantial federal investments. In North Carolina alone, VW Settlement funds will bring ~$10 million this year.  And the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) National EV infrastructure program (NEVI) will invest more than $109 million each year over the next five years in North Carolina.  

Now, our challenge here in North Carolina is to prepare for this influx of funding, to ensure we are ready for it, and that we use it effectively and efficiently. This guidance document helps the reader understand how to get ready and where to find detailed guides for different aspects of building the new EV charging infrastructure.  

There are many many “guides” already published, so we sorted through them to find the best and give pointers to them all. Now, you can easily find the best resources for you in our guide to the guides: Getting North Carolina Ready for Electric Vehicle Charging. We encourage local government planners, managers, fleet officers, and finance & purchasing administrators to be aware of this “guide to the guides.”

Let’s get ready!

What You’ll Find in The Guide

Getting North Carolina Ready for Electric Vehicle Charging covers:

  • Charging for homeowners
  • Charging for renters (apartment, townhome and condo dwellers)
  • Charging at work
  • The state of EV charger deployment in North Carolina
  • Locally-sourced North Carolina EV charging guides
  • Links to several valuable guides from organizations like:

    • The U.S. Department of Transportation
    • The Cadmus Group (in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation)
    • Advanced Energy
    • Plug-In NC 
    • The City of Raleigh
    • Sourcewell
    • NC Department of Administration
    • North Carolina Sheriff’s Association 

>> Click here to view the full guidance document.

North Carolina Organizations Can Apply for Phase 2 VolksWagen Funds to Electrify their Fleets & Expand EV Infrastructure

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality is now soliciting proposals for participation in Phase 2 of the NC Volkswagen Settlement Mitigation Program. Phase 2 is the final phase, and the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) plans to invest the remaining $67.9 million settlement funds during the time period of 2022 – 2024.

The funds represent North Carolina’s share of the $2.9 billion federal settlement with Volkswagen (VW) due to its misrepresentation of diesel emission standards in certain vehicles. The Division of Air Quality (DAQ) was designated as the lead agency to manage the project in 2017 by Governor Roy Cooper, and Wilmington Trust officially named North Carolina as a State Beneficiary in January 2018.

SHIFTING GEARS IN PHASE 2

The DAQ is committed to ensuring that the funding is distributed equitably and that rural and lower-income counties receive funding. It is also conducting additional outreach to historically under-resourced counties to encourage more applications for the available funding to facilitate equitable use of the Phase 2 funds.

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is partnering with the DAQ to host a series of public information sessions across the state to inform citizens about the VW Settlement Phase 2 funding opportunities, especially in Historically Under-Represented Counties. The Phase 2 Historically Under-Resourced County Outreach Program (HURCOP) aims to help counties that historically lack resources needed to effectively identify eligible vehicles for grant programs and submit quality applications.

The DAQ identified 37 Historically Under-Resourced Counties eligible for maximum funding amounts allowed by the VW Mitigation Consent Decree. Project applications in the 37 historically under-resourced counties may be eligible for the maximum funding amounts allowed as well as additional project scoring points.

Alrik Lunsford, Heather Brutz, and John Bonitz, with NCCETC’S Clean Transportation program, have conducted several in-person meetings with DAQ staff and will be attending the information session in Kernersville, NC on March 24 from 1 – 3 p.m.. Learn more about the in-person information sessions on the DEQ website and, if you are interested in attending, please register online. You can also find the presentation for the HURCOP information meetings online on the DEQ website.

Past HURCOP In-Person Information Sessions hosted by NCCETC & DEQ:

  • Henderson – February 23, 2022
  • Rocky Mount – February 23, 2022
  • Pembroke – February 24, 2022
  • Goldsboro – February 24, 2022
  • Elizabeth City – March 9, 2022
  • Hickory – March 10, 2022
  • Salisbury – March 16, 2022
  • Wadesboro – March 16, 2022

“These funds are a big opportunity for advancing transportation electrification and other alternative fuels across the state,” Brutz said. Brutz noted that settlement funds can be used to incentivize fleet transition to help reach new targets set by Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 246. The Order calls for an increase in registered ZEVs to at least 1,250,000 by 2030 and for 50% of sales of new vehicles in North Carolina to be zero-emission by 2030.

While developing the plan, the DEQ’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) sought input from North Carolinians across the state to determine how to allocate the funds over the duration of Phase 2. Phase 2 focuses will prioritize vehicle electrification projects. Public agencies, public and private non-profit organizations, as well as public/private partnerships are eligible for Phase 2 funding.

In Phase 2 of North Carolina’s VW Settlement Mitigation Plan, 80 percent of funds are allocated for the Diesel Bus & Vehicle Replacement Program and 15 percent of funds for the state’s Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Infrastructure Program. Through the Diesel Bus & Vehicle Replacement Program, 40 percent of Phase 2 funding will go towards replacing school buses, 20 percent of funding will be eligible for transit bus replacements and another 20 percent will be eligible for clean heavy-duty equipment and vehicle replacements.

The DEQ’s ZEV Infrastructure program was designed to expand the state’s ZEV charging infrastructure network along priority designated corridors. After receiving feedback from state agencies in Phase 1, the DEQ created a dedicated allocation for light-duty charging projects. The DEQ will also coordinate with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to determine optimal locations for installing EV charging stations for state fleet vehicles and attractions on state owned property.

BREAKDOWN OF VW SETTLEMENT FUNDS IN PHASE 2

DEQ is managing the VW settlement funds for Phase 2 through five programs:

  1. School Bus Replacement Program – Application deadline June 6, 2022
  2. Transit and Shuttle Bus Replacement Program – Application deadline May 2, 2022
  3. Clean Heavy-Duty Equipment and Vehicle Replacement Program – Applications open soon
  4. Diesel Emission Reduction Act Program – Application period closed
  5. Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program

Approximately $54.4 million in settlement funds will be available in Phase 2 for the Diesel Bus and Vehicle Program, which has been divided into three subprograms: School Bus, Transit and Shuttle Bus, and Clean Heavy-Duty Equipment and Vehicle Programs. The DEQ has released a program Request for Proposals (RFP) for the School Bus and Transit and Shuttle Bus Replacement Program for Phase 2, and the last program RFP will be released in April 2022.

The School Bus Program, which began accepting applications on March 7, 2022, will allocate $27.2 million in VW funds in Phase 2 of the program to assist interested parties to mitigate NOx emissions by replacing older diesel school buses. The DAQ is hosting an informational webinar for interested applicants and stakeholders on March 25, 2022 from 10 AM to 12 PM. During this webinar, DAQ staff will discuss the School Bus Program RFP and application requirements. Register for the webinar online.

In Phase 2 of the Transit and Shuttle Bus Program program, $13.5 million in Volkswagen funds are allocated to assist interested parties to mitigate NOx emissions by replacing older diesel transit and shuttle buses. Additionally, approximately $6 million has been allocated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) for electric buses in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program eligible counties.

The DAQ is currently accepting proposals for the DC Fast Program – Priority Corridors until May 16, 2022. This program is designed to continue the expansion of the state’s ZEV fast charging infrastructure network along priority designated corridors with the $4.9 million in VW allocated for Phase 2. The DC Fast Program – Existing Site Upgrades RFP to allocate the remaining $2.1 million Phase 2 ZEV Program funds will be released in April 2022 on the DEQ’s website.

The Level 2 Charging Program is divided into four separate programs designed to expand the state’s light duty ZEV charging infrastructure and network. $3 million in VW funds are allocated in phase 2 of the program. The DEQ released an RFP on February 28 for the Phase 2 Level 2 State Agency Program in which $1 million in funds have been allocated to install Level 2 electric vehicle charging infrastructure at state-maintained facilities and attractions. The DAQ is accepting applications for the Level 2 State Agency Program until May 31, 2022.

The DAQ also released the RFP for Public Access Level 2 Charging Infrastructure Program rebates under Phase 2 of the Volkswagen Mitigation plan. The RFP details how to apply for the $1,070,877 available to fund the installations of new publicly accessible light-duty ZEV Level 2 charging stations. Eligible, complete applications will be selected for funding on a first-come, first-served rebate process until funds are exhausted. Applications for the Level 2 Public Access Program will open in the GMS on May 2, 2022.

For updates about in-person and virtual information sessions as well as future RFPs and funding opportunities, you can visit the DEQ’s Phase 2 – VW Settlement website. If you would like to receive email updates about this topic, please send an email with the word Subscribe in the subject line to daq.NC_VWGrants@ncdenr.gov.

Best Practices for Submitting Artwork for the 2022 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school are invited to submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state!

This Earth Day, you can show us how you help keep the air clean! 

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) recently announced the 5th Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest will begin accepting submissions on Monday, March 14, 2022. Students residing in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork focused on the theme of actions that individual families can take to reduce the amount of air pollution from vehicles. Before the contest launches next week, NCCETC wanted to share best practices for students to use so their artwork can shine through in their submissions.

ABOUT THE “KEEP OUR AIR CLEAN” STUDENT ART CONTEST

Heather Brutz, Finance & Operations Manager of the Clean Transportation Program at NCCETC, and leader of the Student Art Contest, said her goals were to educate the public about steps we can take to improve air quality, as well as engage young people’s creative talents to help get the word out.

Students are asked to create art focused on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep the air clean. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using biofuels, electric vehicles, and more. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org

See some examples from students whose artwork has won in the past:

Ashleigh Smith’s artwork was selected as the winning high school submission in the 2021 Student Art Contest for her creative combination of personal storytelling and visual skill to portray how she keeps our air clean. 

Smith featured a greenway near her house that she often visits with her family in her submission. “I was inspired by that greenway and my brother’s love for mountain biking to create a piece that incorporated both and displayed a love for the beauty of nature and the outdoors, which will hopefully help convince people to help keep their air clean,” Smith said. 

In 2019, Adriana Ryder’s artwork was the middle school winner for the Student Art Contest. Ryder focused on reducing pollution from driving in her submission. She explained, “Car-based pollution is one of the most common ways we are poisoning our air. Instead of driving, we could walk or bike- not only will it be keeping our air clean, but it is good exercise!”

Both Smith and Ryder’s artwork convey the “keep our air clean” theme with engaging subjects that show how someone can support it themselves. 

Since the winning artwork is displayed on a billboard, students should try to keep their artwork clear and uncluttered to make it easily comprehensible from a distance. A clear and captivating subject can also aid a student in receiving more votes during the public voting period NCCETC hosts after submissions close. Last year, Smith’s artwork (pictured to the left; photo originally from Cary Academy) was the most popular for high school submissions and gained over 300 votes from the public. 

It is also recommended that students use bright or high-contrast colors to make their artwork clear. Drivers passing by billboards on the highway only have a few seconds to grasp the message, so keeping the focus simple will make the artwork more effective.

GUIDELINES & SPECIFICATIONS

The winner will be chosen based on:

  • Relevance and appropriateness of the message, as determined by the contest judges
  • Visual design, as determined by the contest judges
  • Public votes on our Facebook account

ARTWORK SPECIFICATIONS

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended.

Recommended dimensions:

  • 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
  • 400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi 
  • Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Make sure to leave space in the submission to include the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline on the final billboards if it is not incorporated into your artwork.

RULES

  1. Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles.
  2. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted.
  3. Only one entry per student is allowed and all submissions must be made via the submission form or by email.
  4. Teachers may submit artwork on behalf of their students through email or the submission form; all artwork submitted must return a signed permission form. 
  5. Artists who are over 18 or parents/legal guardians submitting on behalf of their children via email must include a signed permission form for each submission. 

The official link and email to submit photos will be posted on March 14! Stay tuned on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters.org!

The 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q3 2021

Regional Partnerships, Investment in Underserved Communities, and Demand Charge Alternatives Gain Attention in Q3 2021

Raleigh, NC – (November 3, 2021) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q3 2021 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 46 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q3 2021 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to rebate programs, rate design for vehicle charging, and charging station deployment.

A total of 460 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q3 2021, with the most active states being Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and California. Activity in these states was largely driven by numerous bills related to electric vehicles. So far in 2021, 42 states have enacted legislation affecting transportation electrification.

Q3 2021 State and Utility Action on Electric Vehicles

The report discusses three trends in electric vehicle actions taken in Q3 2021: (1) demand charge alternatives based on utilization under consideration, (2) states and utilities pursuing transportation electrification through regional cooperation, and (3) states dedicating transportation electrification funds for underserved communities.

“We continue seeing strong interest from governors and utilities in collaborating across state lines to build stronger regional networks for EV charging infrastructure,” said Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC.

2021 Proposed Legislation on Electric Vehicles (as of late October 2021)

The report notes five of the top policy developments of the quarter:

  • The New York State Legislature adopting 100% zero-emission vehicle sales goals;
  • Massachusetts utilities filing major electric vehicle plans;
  • Connecticut regulators approving an expansive electric vehicle incentive program
  • Illinois legislators requiring utilities to file beneficial electrification plans; and
  • New Mexico regulators approving Xcel Energy’s transportation electrification plan.

“States and utilities are taking a variety of approaches to encourage charging infrastructure development, including coordinating their efforts with other states, offering incentives, and designing new rate structures,” noted Autumn Proudlove, Senior Policy Program Director at NCCETC. “Through all of these efforts we are also seeing a growing theme of ensuring significant investment is reaching underserved communities.”

View the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q3 Update Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2021 Q3 Update FULL Report

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

 

ABOUT THE N.C. CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY CENTER

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, sustainable energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the  Center, visit: http://www.nccleantech.ncsu.edu. Twitter: @NCCleanTech

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Helm, NCCETC, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu

Strategies & Success Stories for Sustainable Fleet Management On-Demand Now

Eleven FREE Sessions from the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference Available to Stream Online

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center recently concluded the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference featuring the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technology, operations and implementation. The conference consisted of 11 free webinars on best practices to make fleets run more efficiently, with valuable presentations and conversations from award-winning speakers from the industry.

All webinar recordings and resources are available to stream online now so you can access on-demand knowledge and expertise from fleet managers across the country. In total, there were 900 registered attendees for the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology (SFT 2021) Virtual Conference webinar sessions.

The SFT Conference is an annual event hosted by the Clean Transportation program at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) to share strategies for achieving fleet sustainability from experts in the private and public sector. Fleet managers and clean technology innovators gather to discuss lessons learned across the industry for implementing and integrating innovative clean transportation technologies and alternative fuel operations, including the implementation in the biofuels, electric, natural gas, hydrogen and propane arenas.

Director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation program, Richard Sapienza, surveyed fleet managers to find relevant session topics to highlight the current technologies, topics and issues impacting today’s fleet industry. “We want to build a community where ideas can be exchanged and we can provide support and strategies for dealing with new technologies to drive efficiency in fleets,” Sapienza said in the first session of SFT 2021.

The Future of Fleet Electrification

SFT 2021 kicked off on September 9 with “Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Planning Best Practices and Considerations for Today and the Future” showcasing effective planning and modeling along with real-world use cases to support an electrified future for different use cases .  Currently, public and private fleets across the country are preparing for the electric vehicle (EV) revolution and, while significant consumer adoption is forecasted, transitioning entire fleets away from conventional fuel vehicles is a much more complex process than individuals going electric.

Attendees of the webinar heard from a panel of experts including David Dunn, Division Manager of the Fleet & Facilities management Division for the City of Orlando, Florida. Dunn emphasized the critical roles public fleets have in leading the EV revolution and being the agent of change, from installation and maintenance of infrastructure to creating solutions for grid vulnerability.

Part of being a leader means embracing change, and Dunn was proud to share his fleet’s latest change- the addition of a DANNAR Mobile Power Station® (MPS). The MPS is a heavy-duty EV designed for infrastructure maintenance and disaster response, equipped with a two-way charger and inverter to provide clean energy for single-day or multiple-day work requirements.

“This [MPS] is a charger, this is a generator, this is a work platform, this is a power station,” Dunn explained. “This is one way to attack the grid vulnerability issue, because you can charge several vehicles off of this one if you need to.”

Electrification was the focus of several SFT 2021 sessions, and those interested in learning more about charging solutions can benefit from the in-depth “Innovative Charging Solutions” webinar which covered power requirements, associated costs and time hurdles involved in meeting the charging needs of diverse use cases.

The last session of SFT 2021, “Future Proofing Electric Charging Infrastructure”, discussed steps to fleet electrification and considerations for fleets to be ready for the future, as infrastructure deployment continues to be a moving target with needs and technology rapidly changing.

Hot Topic – Alternative Fuel Sessions Popular Amongst Attendees

Alternative fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas have proven to be viable ways for fleets to reduce emissions, and two of the most widely attended SFT 2021 sessions included topics in this arena. Attendees learned from the top fleets in the United States, including recent winners of both The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas and The Green Fleet Awards.

“Quite often, when deploying alternative fuel vehicles and sustainable technologies, there’s an increased cost in acquisition, but there are a number of different ways for fleets to mitigate these costs,” said Sapienza.

Typically, alternative fuel vehicles have greater up-front costs than conventional fuel vehicles. However, there can be cost benefits with regard to maintenance and operations costs, as well as vehicle useful life. The webinar “Total Cost of Ownership Comparisons of Alternative Fuel Vehicles versus Conventional Fuel Vehicles” addresses these concerns with a life cycle cost analysis and features examples from top fleets across the country using alternative fuels in their operations.

One of the speakers from this webinar was Andrew Burnham from the Argonne National Laboratory which supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. Argonne has developed the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) tool. The AFLEET spreadsheet was designed to examine light and heavy duty vehicles for metrics like petroleum use, greenhouse gas emissions and more to find the total cost of ownership.

There are many opportunities for fleet’s to mitigate the higher acquisition costs associated with alternative fuel vehicles, including state and federal level funding and incentives. The “Funding Sources and Creative Financing for Alternative Fuel Vehicles” session shared resources and tips on how to take advantage of creative financing options for fleets to achieve their sustainability goals.

Other session topics included “Working with your Utility and Understanding Fleet Charging Costs”, “Idle Reduction: Simple & Impactful” and success stories for specific transportation applications of natural gashydrogen and propane.

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.

Currently, the clean transportation team is hosting weekly webinars through the Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series, a collaborative partnership with NAFA Fleet Management Association and The 100 Best Fleets, to share the best practices and information on the latest fleet technologies.  Register for an upcoming SFT Webinar online now.

Stay tuned for future updates about the 6th annual 2022 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference online at sustainablefleetexpo.com.

NC Cooperative Demonstration of Vehicle-to-Grid Smart Charger Shows Economic Value

Electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential to be more than just a means of transportation now that more automakers are selling vehicles compatible with vehicle-to-grid technology, like Nissan LEAF, Ford F150 Lightning, and the Thomas Built C2 Jouley school bus. Bidirectional capable charging stations can transform electric cars, buses, garbage trucks, fleet vehicles and more into mobile energy storage banks.

Preliminary findings from a demonstration of two-way, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology in North Carolina show the economic potential for using bidirectional charging technologies to feed energy stored in electric vehicle batteries back to charging sites, especially when the grid is experiencing high demand. 

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is coordinating with Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) to demonstrate and evaluate the economic case for the use of a two-way charger made by Fermata Energy, maker of the first EV charger certified for the North American standard for bidirectional charging. The project also benefits from support from partners including Advanced Energy, Clean Energy Works, and Environmental Defense Fund.

REC’s headquarters in the rural town of Ahoskie, NC, is the demonstration site for the project, where technicians for the utility’s growing broadband business use the utility’s two Nissan LEAF electric vehicles. The cooperative provides electricity and broadband services to a wide variety of industrial, recreational, educational, community and other interests in addition to farms in northeast North Carolina.

The two-way “smart” charger provides power to Roanoke Electric’s two EV cars, and it is one of the first chargers delivered from Fermata’s manufacturing site in Danville, Virginia. This charger not only curtails a vehicle’s charging in response to peak system demand, but also, it can discharge the energy stored in a connected EV to meet some of the demand at the site when demand on the grid is high. 

The V2G charging technology was thoroughly tested by Underwriters Laboratory to meet the North American standard for bidirectional charging. The purpose of this current demonstration has been to illuminate the value potential of V2G for fleet managers, energy professionals and utility companies— and the project is well on its way to accomplishing that goal.

Initial Results

A common question from fleet managers is, “how can I be sure the vehicle will be fully charged when I need it?”  In summary, the intelligence of the bidirectional system’s software enables it to be programmed to meet the fleet owners’ needs.

When the V2G system is responding to system-wide peak demand events, they are scheduled in advance, so a fleet manager can choose to reserve the vehicle for the grid (or the building) at that time as if it were reserved for another driver, while simply leaving the vehicle plugged in.  The impetus for this decision is knowing how much it would be worth to leave the vehicle plugged-in for grid operations at that time.  After the bidirectional event, the system allows scheduled recharging to be programmed in a way that meets the fleet operator’s needs while providing transparency about the monetary value the vehicle can provide at different times for grid operations.

Fermata Energy’s FE-15 is capable of providing 15 kilowatts of power both to the car and back to the site served by the grid. REC schedules dispatch of the on-board battery in response to predicted peaks, which usually lasts two to three hours. Using only one of REC’s Nissan LEAFs, the V2G system has been able to reduce the utility’s load, on average, by 14.14 kW during the entirety of the 85 event hours to date, across a variety of operating conditions. 

As an example, during a window of recent events, the two-way EV charger discharged the EV battery at 14 kW on average, and it saved the cooperative nearly $440.

The results from this small window suggest savings of over $2,660 a year per two-way charger. The value of this single unit hints at the potential for much bigger savings when multiplied by many units, serving multiple EVs or integrated with entire fleets of EVs. While some chargers may not have an EV connected during every peak period, utilities will develop experience over time with a minimum fraction of availability across thousands of EVs and two-way charging stations, accessing hundreds of MWh of energy storage on-board local EVs.

In addition to system-wide savings, V2G chargers can also create savings for non-residential customers that pay demand charges. Despite having relatively modest demand charges of $9.50/kW, Fermata’s software and charger strategically dispatched the Nissan LEAF battery to reduce REC’s headquarters building demand charges by $234 over a two month period. At larger facilities, Fermata has demonstrated the FE-15 is capable of capturing the full 15 kW in savings possible, and in parts of the country where demand charges can surpass $20/kW, customers could realize savings of over $300 a month.

For REC and its members, and any utility with demand charge and demand response programs in which V2X technology can participate, the benefits of system-wide savings as well as customer savings can be realized simultaneously. Using REC’s local and system demand charges, each FE-15 operating at maximum capacity could result in $3,500 to $4,000 of savings each year.

Roanoke Electric has also been able to demonstrate another application that V2X technology makes possible for improving energy assurance and reliability. REC’s facility has an on-site generator that allows it to isolate itself from the grid, and Fermata’s V2X charger can discharge the Nissan LEAF battery to partially power the facility either by dispatching stored energy when the site’s usage is highest, or by reacting to scheduled discharges for a set duration. The ability for smart charging to respond to an islanded load powered by the generator increases the resilience of sites that use generators as back-up power systems.

These results have important implications for the affordability of electricity, both for grid operators and for the member owners of the electric cooperative. REC’s CEO Curtis Wynn has underscored the improvements to grid utilization that the utility can attain when distributed storage is available to member-owners on the Roanoke Electric grid.

The Potential of Vehicle-to-Grid Technology

As public and private fleets in the United States replace internal-combustion engine vehicles with EVs, integration of V2G technology could enable EVs to serve as energy reservoirs to help keep the grid running smoothly during demand peaks and during system outages. 

In this demonstration at REC, the dollar savings appear to nearly offset the cost of the EVs. The cooperative’s two new Nissan LEAFs with 62kWh battery capacities are leased at less than $250 per month, and the demonstration has documented a generated value of as high as $230 a month. The implications for dropping the net cost of electric mobility to Roanoke Electric member-owners is tremendous.

On a residential scale, electric vehicle drivers could use vehicle-to-building technology to power their homes during lengthy blackouts. With a bidirectional charging system, homeowners could pull power from their electric vehicle batteries to keep fridges, lights, the internet and heating and cooling systems on in their homes, especially when jeopardized by heat waves or hypothermia as seen this year in Texas.

Vehicle-to-building technology could also keep the power on for critical services such as hospitals and shelters during extreme weather conditions and other emergency outages, reducing or even eliminating the cumulative numbers of hours these essential systems have to use backup diesel generators. 

As the demonstration continues, REC staff are exploring a pilot application of the technology with commercial customers, focusing first on locations having higher voltage service — in line with the design of the FE-15 device.

John Bonitz, a specialist for NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program, said, “Preparing for a future where fleets of electric buses and cars will be electrified, this demonstration at Roanoke Electric Cooperative is helping prove the benefits and economic value of integrating V2G technology to shave peaks, improve grid utilization and increase resilience – all while helping the cooperative and its members save money. And we’re honored to be involved.” 


ABOUT THE TEAM

This demonstration is possible only due to a unique partnership between six organizations:  Roanoke Electric Cooperative serves about 14,000 accounts in Northeastern North Carolina out of their headquarters in Ahoskie, NC.  Fermata Energy is a company created for the dual purposes of accelerating the adoption of EVs and accelerating the transition to a renewable energy future, and it is their bi-directional EV charger and proprietary software system that allow electric vehicles to earn money while they are parked.  Clean Energy Works provides advisory services for accelerating investment in grid-edge solutions.  Advanced Energy is a nonprofit energy consulting firm that assists utilities with program design and electric transportation initiatives. Environmental Defense Fund, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems, including supporting policies that accelerate transportation electrification to create a zero-emission future.  The NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program is supporting the demonstration with analysis, technical assistance and facilitation. NCCETC also hosts the largest outreach and engagement events in the region on sustainable fleets, the Sustainable Fleet Technology virtual conference series.

Success Stories for Sustainable Fleet Management at the 2021 Virtual Conference

The agenda for the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference has officially been announced! Attendees will be able to tune in for valuable presentations and conversations every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 to 3:30 PM ET starting on September 9 and ending on October 19, 2021.

Sessions at the Fifth annual 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference (SFT) will showcase the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technologies and alternative fuel operations, as well as implementation in the biofuels, electric, natural gas, hydrogen and propane arenas. Session topics and speakers were carefully selected to highlight the current technologies, topics and issues happening in today’s fleet industry as we navigate the rapidly evolving transportation industry.

Richard Sapienza, Director of the Clean Transportation program at NC Clean Energy Technology Center, surveys fleet managers year-round to find relevant session topics suited for their needs. There are a myriad of strategies to achieve fleet sustainability and new clean transportation technologies are always on the horizon, and topics discussed at the SFT are meant to share best practices and lessons learned across the industry.

Currently, both public and private fleets in the United States are gearing up for an electric vehicle revolution as the transition towards vehicle electrification expands. Transitioning entire fleets away from conventional fuel vehicles, however, is a much more complex process than individuals deciding to go electric.

“This transition affects every fleet from light to medium to heavy-duty vehicles, which all have different use cases and needs regarding power levels, charging and range,” Sapienza explained. “You can’t just flip a switch and instantly see the change, but we’re hoping to make that change more accessible for these fleet managers.”

Attendees of SFT can expect to learn and share more about electric vehicle infrastructure planning, alternative and renewable fuels applications and decarbonization uses, idle reduction, sustainable fleet management and more. Session topics include a strong focus on data-driven decisions, tools and technologies from real-world applications of leading edge technologies.

Alternative fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas have proven to be viable ways for fleets to reduce emissions and help conserve fuel. Not only are alternative fuels featured in a session on fleet decarbonization, but attendees can also learn from success stories about propane autogas and natural gas applications in addition to a session focused on hydrogen as a transportation solution.

SFT 2021 features award-winning and expert speakers who will share the best practices to help fleets run more efficiently. From simple strategies like idle-reduction programs to more complex strategies including fleet charging costs and deployment, the conference agenda covers it all. Each session spotlights different opportunities for fleets to find the best solutions for managing a sustainable fleet.

Building towards a sustainable fleet is a multi-aspect process that involves planning, understanding, learning, tracking, analyzing, training and changing organizational culture, which can be challenging for individual fleets to navigate. SFT serves as a resource for public and private fleets by leveraging the knowledge of top performing fleets and industry experts sharing their best practices and operations for increasing vehicle fleet efficiency and sustainability.

“We’re trying to build a community to exchange and share ideas from lessons learned so that we can all avoid the potholes in the road,” Sapienza said. Early-adopters exist for every trend and technology, and fleet managers can learn from them to increase their own fleet’s efficiency both environmentally and economically.

The sustainable fleet practices presented at SFT 2021 provide a process of continuous improvement, fleet modernization and impact and risk reduction, while also working towards decarbonization and cost savings.

Who should attend?

  • Public & Private Fleet Managers
  • Purchasing Officials
  • State Government Leaders
  • Municipal Government Officials
  • Non-Profit Stakeholders
  • Clean Cities Coalitions & Stakeholders
  • Alternative Fuel Trade Organizations
  • Sustainability Managers
  • Academic Leaders & Researchers

Learn more & register for individual SFT 2021 virtual sessions below:

Don’t miss out on future updates for the 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference- sign up for the clean transportation newsletter or stay tuned online at www.sustainablefleetexpo.com.


The NC Clean Energy Technology Center hosts the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference as part of its mission to advance a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies.

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

Duke Energy Electrifies Fleet with Viatec SmartPTO

A Viatec SmartPTO unit. Photo from www.viatec.us.

Duke Energy recently introduced Viatec SmartPTO electric power takeoff units for its bucket truck fleet. The new units allow crews to turn off the diesel engine and rely on electricity when operating the lift – saving on fuel and maintenance costs, extending the life of the trucks, and reducing emissions. The SmartPTO units were funded by NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s (NCCETC) Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) project.

“A major objective of CFAT is to promote and accelerate the adoption of new clean transportation technologies,” said Rick Sapienza, Director of the Clean Transportation Program at NCCETC. “The Viatec SmartPTO is a perfect example of the CFAT mechanism working to its intent.”

The battery outlasts the normal bucket truck shift and charges overnight on a basic 110-volt receptacle, according to Duke Energy. When needed, crews are able to revert to operating the lift from the diesel engine in emergency situations, such as storms, that require 24-hour use. The engine being off also allows crew members to more easily communicate from the bucket to the ground.

“I’m especially pleased for the operators of these trucks and the line-workers who ride in the bucket, because air-quality on the job site is so dramatically improved when these trucks can stop idling,” said John Bonitz, Clean Transportation Specialist at NCCETC.

Duke Energy plans to soon expand SmartPTOs to 24 bucket trucks and is considering making them standard on all new bucket trucks.

“A company of the stature and magnitude of Duke Energy embracing this technology will aid in pushing others in the industry to consider and adopt the SmartPTO technology,” Sapienza said. “SmartPTO is robust from a system standpoint, which means reliability and durability. Also, if there is a system breakdown or failure, the system is a parallel design and the truck can revert to its normal mode of operation. Regardless, the truck can remain in service and complete its job.”

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.

“The units involve much less integration with the chassis or the aerial equipment relative to their competitors,” said Mike Allison, Duke Energy’s Director of Fleet Design and Technical services. ”There is no loss of performance vs. running off of the diesel engine and chassis PTO. Fuel reductions have been as expected and the units are extremely quiet.”

The CFAT program, which NCCETC has administered since 2006, aims to reduce transportation-related air pollution emissions by funding public and private organizations projects in 24 eligible North Carolina counties. CFAT is supported with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds provided by the NC Department of Transportation (NC DOT). In 2019, up to $2,350,000 in federal funding is being awarded. The next Request for Proposals for CFAT will be targeted for January 8, 2020, and applications will be due March 17.

In 2018, Town of Apex installed three SmartPTO units after being awarded the CFAT grant. Take a look at many more CFAT funded projects here.

“We are appreciative of the work that has been done by [NCCETC] in making the funds available to jump start our movement to the Viatec system,” Allison said.

“The financial assistance makes the difference between an organization doing a project or not,” Sapienza said. “Quite often once an organization gains experience and realizes the results and impact of the various technologies, they continue expanding their use without funding, because it makes sense due to efficiency, financial and ecological reasons – a win all around.”

Stay updated and learn more about the CFAT grant here.

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