Tag Archives: vehicles

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets series: UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte fleet vehicles. Photo provided by Christopher Facente.

This week, we take a look at UNC Charlotte‘s fleet and talk to Automotive/Motor Fleet Supervisor Christopher Facente. The university has been a part of the 100 Best Fleets three years in a row, improving its place each time.

There are 500 vehicles in the fleet, and about 150 of them are electric — ranging from Nissan Leafs to smaller work trucks, Facente said.

Older, less fuel-efficient vehicles have been replaced with utility carts and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), and most of the fleet’s Ford Rangers are now NEV Global Electric Motorcars (GEMs). The total cost of ownership, potential future repairs, and life-cycle costs are calculated to keep the fleet up to date and sustainable.

Facente said to keep improving on the fleet, he’s looking at more sustainability in general. There is already a recycling program in place, and the fleet reduces waste by carrying out practices such as recycling oil filters and enforcing a no-idle policy on campus.

“We looked at our processes, started to streamline little things…”  Facente said. “It’s slow, but it does take time to implement these changes. As we work on them, we get better.”

UNC Charlotte also has a robust maintenance program for electric vehicles, which are maintenanced monthly, Facente said. The repairs are tracked through Archibus, a centralized data platform, and history is checked for repeat problems/technician faults.

The fleet restructured the campus into zones and put maintenance shops near areas where the fleets work. In the old system,  there was a central base dispatch to anywhere on campus.  Now, each zone has electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians and are never over 3 miles from the buildings they service.  Telematics have also been put on vehicles.

UNC Charlotte fleet vehicles. Photo provided by Christopher Facente.

With all of the different changes, Facente handles it by communicating.

“You’re always going to have challenges with change,” Facente said. “Getting an employee to give up a truck and go to an EV can be a challenge. But if you take your time, explain the benefits, you can pretty much get everyone on board.”

As for advice, Facente suggests having a top-down strategy so that upper management approves, and being sure to not make a sudden change. In addition, taking the time to do a lot of homework to find the correct vehicles that will fit your fleet is vital.

“Electric works for us, but it may not work for everyone,” Facente said.

To share ideas among employees freely within the fleet, there is a brainstorming session every month, a fleet email group to share ideas, and a shop meeting weekly where technicians are encouraged to share ideas and problem-solve. The fleet has a Learning and Development center on campus with a variety of soft skill classes for every staff member.

Along with brainstorming meetings, there is a staff meeting every quarter where teams are recognized for their job performances. The safe team award is also given when the team goes without accidents.

(Facente would like to thank Associate Vice Chancellor Phil Jones and the late Larry Lane, who was his predecessor getting the program started.)

NCCETC releases 50 States of Electric Vehicles Report

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

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center released its Q1 2018 edition of The 50 States of Electric Vehicles. The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

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

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

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

Q1 2018 Legislative and Regulatory Action on Electric Vehicles

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

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

• Hawaii utilities publishing their Electrification of Transportation Strategic Roadmap;

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

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

• Missouri utilities proposing new electric vehicle programs; and

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

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

View the 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q1 2018 Executive Summary

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

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

Posted by Nicole Deck

First Responder Clean Transportation Demonstration Day

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
First responders of all types got a chance to trade their typical mode of transport for a day and test drive several different alternative fuel vehicles, including LPG, CNG, PHEV and electric motorcycles, on a closed track.
About 60 first responders attended First Responder Clean Transportation Demonstration Day at the NC Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR), where they got a chance to learn about alternative fuel vehicles and clean transportation technology applications for law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency medical services.
The day started out with testimonials, real-world case study presentations and learning sessions, and was followed by vehicle test drives on NCCAR’s closed 2-mile, 40-foot wide serpentine road course in Garysburg, NC.
First responders and guests take a look at an ICOM Alternative Fuel Systems vehicle. Photo by Mark Lienhard
The NCCAR Road Course from above. Provided by North Carolina Center for Automotive Research
Most attendees took a lap around the track, said Richard Sapienza, Clean Transportation Program Director at North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center – many reaching more than 100 MPH.
“It was a lot of driving and a lot of fun,” Sapienza said. “I wanted to be able to push the vehicles and see their performance in a safe environment, and that was achieved.”
The vehicles at the event were two Ford Explorer Interceptors, a Ford F350 PU, Chevy Tahoe, Ford F150 PU, Police Plug-In Focus and two Zero Motorcycles. The idle reduction technologies on display included a Smeal SG-09 APU Fire Truck, ZeroRPM REV Group Ambulance, Stealth Power Chevy Police Tahoe, and LGS Group Vehicle Technologies.
An up-close shot of a Zero Motorcycle. Photo by Mark Lienhard
First responders and guests check out the Charlotte Fire Department firetruck. Photo by Mark Lienhard
The two Zero Motorcycles featured the Z-force motor — a single moving part with no fluid, clutch or transmission, according to www.zeromotorcycles.com. Several attendees commented on both the motorcycles’ ability to pick up speed quickly while also remaining strikingly quiet, especially when comparing to most gas-powered motorcycles’ recognizable rumble.
The ambulances and fire trucks used idling technology, which minimizes the amount of time vehicles need to idle and allows them to use less of their engine or generator.
Attendees learned that all of the alternative fuel technologies could be used to save money, improve efficiency and extend vehicle service life.
Because of the event’s success, NC Clean Energy Technology Center hopes to repeat a demonstration day in the future.

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