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11.24.15

U.S. Gain, the compressed natural gas (CNG) division of U.S. Venture, has opened its third of five CNG stations the company is building in partnership with North American carrier C.A.T. The new GAIN Clean Fuel station, located at 4250 Trailer Dr. in Charlotte, N.C., will support C.A.T.'s growing fleet of CNG trucks and will also be open to the public.

"We're proud to be leading the industry in creating sustainable transport," says C.A.T. President Daniel Goyette. "We've made an investment in our future with the conversion of our fleet to CNG. It's been a very positive move by helping us become more environmentally friendy and creating fuel price stability. We couldn't be happier with our partnership to make this facility a reality."

C.A.T., which operates over 300 tractors, announced a deal last year to lease 100 cNG trucks from Ryder System Inc.

The first GAIN Clean Fuel station under partnership with C.A.T. opened in Mississauga, Ontario, and the second in Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec. The other two locations include Laredo, Texas, and Scranton, Pennsylvania. These stations are finishing up on construction and are expected to open soon.

"We're thrilled to have another C.A.T. station open for business," says GAIN Clean Fuel General Manager Bill Renz. "This is a heavily traveled trucking corridor, and we look forward to serving not only C.A.T., but other carriers seeking to take advantage of the benefits."

Photo and story credit: NGT News

11.06.15

 

Innovation is a journey, and we are part of a movement.
Technology is changing, and we are the game changers.

We motivate
Electric vehicles are a new technology and we believe that they can make a big impact. We encourage communities and organizations to support this technology by installing charging stations and purchasing electric fleet vehicles.

We share
We spread the word about driving electric and assist others in learning about electric vehicles and charging stations. We share experiences and seek to learn from others in order to gain best practices and increase electric vehicle adoption. 

We progress
We’re innovators and early-adopters. We see the opportunity that electric vehicles have and we seek to help build awareness. We recognize that charging stations help to boost the economy by attracting new visitors and serving as a progressive marketing tool. 

We breathe
We care about the environment and want our communities to be healthy places to live, work and play. Electric vehicles lead to decreased local emissions so that the air we breathe is cleaner. 

We drive
We strive be a positive influence. We inspire people to think larger and see how electric transportation plays a part in our communities. We support driving electric through our initiatives and actions. 

 

To join Plug-in NC today, apply here.

10.26.15

Propane Autogas Bus

Detroit Public Schools students are riding to and from school in cleaner-operating buses fueled by propane autogas. The 35 alternative-fueled Blue Bird Vision Propane buses lower costs while improving the environment by reducing Detroit’s carbon footprint.

This is the largest fleet of propane autogas school buses in the state of Michigan.

“The use of propane autogas school buses is a step in the right direction to significantly decrease vehicle emissions and improve the air quality for our students. This also provides opportunities for students and the community to observe and learn first-hand about alternative transportation technologies,” said James Minnick, executive director of DPS Office of Student Transportation. “This environmentally friendly green initiative has also resulted in having a bus fleet that is 30 percent brand new.” 

ABC Student Transportation, Detroit Public Schools’ transportation provider, chose buses fueled by propane autogas because of the buses’ advanced technology, environmental benefits, and fuel and maintenance cost reductions, according to ABC Student Transportation president Charlie Grant.

The bus fleet will emit 12,445 fewer pounds of nitrogen oxide and 111 less pounds of particulate matter each year compared with the diesel buses they are replacing. Propane autogas also reduces hydrocarbon emissions and virtually eliminates particulate matter, when compared with conventionally fueled school buses.

Historically, propane autogas costs about 50 percent less than diesel per gallon and reduces maintenance costs due to its clean-operating properties. Currently, ABC pays 74 cents per gallon for propane autogas compared with around $3.00 per gallon for diesel.

Propane autogas is the most commonly used alternative fuel in the nation and worldwide. Vehicles fueled by autogas comply with the same safety standards as their conventionally fueled counterparts.

 

10.19.15

Question of the Month: How can I improve my gas mileage while driving this winter?

Answer:

Whether taking that long-awaited ski trip or just commuting to work in the frigid weather, there are several things you can do to improve your fuel economy and save money in the wintertime.

Why You Get Worse Gas Mileage When It's Cold

Cold weather and winter driving conditions can reduce your fuel economy significantly. On particularly chilly days, when temperatures drop to 20°F or lower, you can expect to see up to a 12% hit on your fuel economy for short city trips. During very quick trips—traveling only three to four miles—your fuel economy could dip even lower (as much as 22%)!

This reduction in fuel economy is due to several factors. First of all, cold temperatures increase the time it takes your vehicle to warm the cabin, engine, drive-line fluids, and other components up to fuel-efficient operating temperatures. Cold fluids increase the friction on your engine and transmission, which can reduce fuel economy.  

Let’s take a moment to address one of the main myths about driving in cold weather: 

  • Myth: To warm up your engine and vehicle cabin in the wintertime, you should let the engine run for several minutes before driving.
  • Truth: Most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds of idling. In fact, the engine will warm up faster when driving. Idling can use a quarter to half a gallon of fuel per hour, and even more fuel if the engine is cold or accessories like seat heaters are on.

Also keep in mind that winter gasoline blends in cold climates have slightly less energy per gallon than summer blends. This is because refineries alter the chemical makeup of gasoline to allow it to evaporate more easily in low temperatures, ensuring proper engine operation.

Aerodynamic drag is another consideration. In simple terms, cold air is denser than warm air, so when temperatures drop, wind resistance increases slightly. This requires a little more power from your engine to drive at a given speed. The effects of aerodynamic drag on fuel economy are most significant at highway speeds.

Winter Fuel-Saving Tips

The following tips can help you warm your car (and fingers!) more efficiently and improve your fuel economy in the winter:

Park in a warmer place like a garage that traps heat to keep the initial temperature of your engine and cabin higher than it would be outside in the elements.

Avoid idling to warm up the engine and cabin. See more information above.

Avoid using seat warmers more than necessary, as they require additional power.

Plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners: Pre-heat your vehicle while still plugged in. Since PEVs use battery power to provide heat to the cabin, cabin and seat heaters can drain the vehicle’s battery and reduce the overall range. If you need to warm up quickly, warm the vehicle while it’s still charging.

PEV owners: Use seat heaters instead of the cabin heater when able. Using seat heaters instead of the cabin heater can save energy. Seat heaters use less energy than cabin heaters and can often be more efficient at warming you up quickly in the winter.

Read the owner’s manual for detailed information on how your vehicle’s cabin and seat heaters work and how to use them efficiently.

Do you live in a place where snow and ice isn't an issue? Check out the May Question of the Month (http://www.eereblogs.energy.gov/cleancities/post/2015/05/19/summer_fuel_...) for year-round warm weather driving tips. 

More Information

For more information on how to improve your fuel economy, please refer to the following FuelEconomy.gov tips:

• Fuel Economy in Cold Weather - http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/coldweather.shtml 

• Gas Mileage Tips - http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/drive.shtml 

• Keeping Your Vehicle in Shape - http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.jsp

10.13.15

Proterra Electric Bus

The DOT is offering $22.5 million in grants in the latest round of its Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo). Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to transit agencies and state transportation departments working either independently or jointly with bus manufacturers.

The LoNo program is focused on deploying new low- or no-emission production buses that are market-ready or near market-ready (not in development or prototype stages). It gives priority to the buses with the lowest energy consumption and emissions.

The previous round of LoNo funding, announced in February 2015, awarded $55 million in grants to ten US organizations.

All buses proposed for deployment must complete the Federal Transit Administration’s bus testing program, and follow FTA Buy America regulations. Priority will be given to tested zero-emission bus models with proven effectiveness (such as Proterra and BYD models already in service in several US cities).

“The LoNo program has helped deploy environmentally-sound, technologically-advanced vehicles across the country, providing a better riding experience for passengers and improving public health,” said Acting FTA Administrator Therese McMillan. “By reducing fuel and maintenance costs, these modern vehicles are a great public investment – saving taxpayer money in the long run while powering innovative American enterprises.”

Source: Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine

10.13.15

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded more than $20 million in 10 projects to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies and enable early adoption of fuel cell applications, such as light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

"These projects announced today will continue to make advances in our rapidly expanding portfolio of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies," says Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. "Energy Department-supported projects have helped reduce the modeled cost of transportation fuel cells by 50 percent since 2006, and more than double durability and reduce the amount of platinum necessary by a factor of five."

The DOE says the hydrogen and fuel cell market continues to grow rapidly. According to the department’s newly released 2014 Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report, the industry grew by almost $1 billion in 2014, reaching $2.2 billion in sales - up from $1.3 billion in 2013. In addition, more than 50,000 fuel cells were shipped worldwide in 2014.

To further develop and advance these clean energy technologies, the DOE has selected seven projects to address the hydrogen and fuel cells research and development area, including hydrogen production via microbial biomass conversion, low platinum group metal catalyst development for fuel cell applications, development of integrated intelligent hydrogen dispensers, and hydrogen delivery pipeline manufacturing.

Three projects were selected to address early market and demonstration. These include the demonstration of mobile hydrogen refueling technology to address the lack of widespread hydrogen fueling stations, as well as fuel-cell-powered range extenders for light-duty hybrid electric vehicles.

In addition, the DOE notes the City of Ithaca, N.Y., has proposed to become home to one of the first commercial hydrogen-electrolyzer fueling stations in the northeastern U.S. and to ramp up outreach through the use of FCEVs.

Source: NGT News

10.13.15

Alliance AutoGas recently held a Law Enforcement Alternative Fuel Training event at its research and technology center in Asheville, N.C., to give local county and municipal fleet managers the opportunity to learn more about how converting fleets to autogas could help lower emissions and save costs.

Attendees of the one-day event heard remarks from Ed Hoffman, president of Blossman Services Inc. (BSI); Bill Eaker, senior environmental planner and coordinator at the Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition; Michael Phillips, retired captain of criminal enforcement at the Iredell County, N.C., sheriff’s office; and Steve Hightower, fleet manager for the City of Kingsport.

Three training sessions were led by Alliance AutoGas team members on the topics of safety training, refueling dispenser training, and installation and maintenance training, along with a Q&A session. “Ride and drives” were available in the Dodge Charger, Ford Explorer Interceptor, Ford Taurus, Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Impala and the Crown Victoria.  Onsite fuel analysis and ROI calculations were available throughout the day to all attendees. Attendees were asked to bring their fleet’s vehicle miles, estimated fuel cost and mpg information for a free consultation with the Alliance AutoGas team.

BSI President Ed Hoffman SAYS, “This event is yet another way that Alliance AutoGas is demonstrating our commitment to law enforcement. Our EPA-approved products and after-sales support enable agencies the ability to experience the benefits of autogas.”

He adds, “We plan on hosting this event again, both here in North Carolina and through select markets throughout the U.S.”

Source: NGT News

10.05.15

The NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), Division of Air Quality (DAQ) will provide funding for projects that reduce diesel emissions. Awarded projects will begin (at the earliest) in January 2016 and must be completed by September 20, 2016.

Who is Eligible?

Any private or public sector entity or individual stationed in North Carolina is eligible.

Total Funding Available

Approximately $286,000 is available for all projects funded statewide. The DAQ expects to fund 2 to 5 projects.

Deadline for Applications

Applications must be received by e-mail or postmarked by Friday, December 4, 2015 to be considered.

How Do I Apply?

Select the application type (http://ncair.org/motor/grants/) that best fits your project. If you have questions about which form to use, contact Anne Galamb at 919-707-8423 or anne [dot] galamb [at] ncdenr [dot] gov.

10.01.15

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of approximately $7 million in funding for rebates to public and private school bus fleet owners for the replacement and retrofit of older school buses. Replacing these buses that have older engines will reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality.  

New to this year’s program is the option of implementing retrofit technologies.  Fleet owners can install Diesel Oxidation Catalysts (DOC)  plus Closed Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) systems to reduce emissions by up to 25 percent, and they can replace older buses with newer ones that meet the latest on-highway emission standards as in previous EPA rebate programs.  EPA will pay up to $3,000 for each DOC plus CCV, and between $15,000 and $25,000 per replacement bus, depending on the size.

Applicants may request up to 10 buses for replacement and up to 10 buses for the retrofit option on each application.  Fleets with more than 101 buses currently in operation may submit two applications.

EPA will accept applications from September 28 to October 30, 2015. 

 

10.01.15

Earlier this month, alternative fuel enthusiasts all over the country celebrated National Drive Electric Week (NDEW). Started in 2011, NDEW , in partnership with Nissan, aims to increase awareness of the availability and benefits of electric vehicles (EVs). This year, the week-long celebration boasted 196 events across 41 states, Canada, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, with over 130,000 attendees!

The Greater Charlotte Region had much to celebrate in 2015 with the grand opening of four Direct Current (DC) Fast Charging locations. The new DC Fast chargers, located in Matthews, Dallas, Salisbury, and Wadesboro, were installed by Brightfield Transportation Solutions and are capable of delivering an 80% charge in as little as 20-30 minutes! These chargers not only allow EV owners in our region a greater availability of chargers, but also bring travelers from other areas to our towns where they can stimulate the local economy, by grabbing a cup of coffee or a bite to eat while waiting for their vehicle to charge.

The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) organized and hosted, in partnership with the Towns of Matthews, Dallas, and Wadesboro, as well as the City of Salisbury, four grand opening ceremonies for these chargers. These events were well-attended and featured numerous speakers including Senator Tom McInnis and Representative Bill Brawley from the North Carolina State Legislature. Additionally, Envision Charlotte and the City of Charlotte held a public education and exhibition event at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center where numerous EVs from Nissan, Tesla, Smart, BMW, and VIA Motors were available for participants to view and learn about.

 

CCFC would like to thank the numerous participants, attendees, and partners that made these events possible. 2015 was a great year for strengthening the EV infrastructure in the Greater Charlotte Region and we look forward to celebrating the next year’s accomplishments at the 2016 National Drive Electric Week September 10-18!

Centralina Council of Governments
9815 David Taylor Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

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