Proterra EV Buses Travel Million Miles

Proterra battery-electric(EV) buses have been driven one million miles. The company recently congratulated its customers on achieving the EV industry milestone and held a celebratory event at its plant in Greenville, S.C. where they honored their transit agency partners for their leadership as EV pioneers.

Each transit agency was honored with award commemorating their early adoption of EV bus technology and acknowledging their role in building the future of mass transit and sustainable urban mobility.

Proterra battery electric busCustomers receiving the awards were: Foothill Transit (Pomona, Calif.), WRTA (Worcester, Mass.), the City of Seneca, S.C./Clemson Area Transit, RTC Washoe (Reno, Nev.), TARC (Louisville, Ky.), VIA Metropolitan Transit (San Antonio, Texas), San Joaquin RTD (Stockton, Calif.), and StarMetro (Tallahassee, Fla.).

“Reaching our 1,000,000th mile in revenue service is a significant milestone, not just for Proterra, but for the entire transit industry,” said Proterra President and CEO Ryan Popple. “Along with our forward-thinking and highly valued transit agency partners, we can offer the world a million proof points to bolster the fact that electric vehicles not only offer great performance, but represent the best total cost of ownership and environmental option for transit agencies.”

By combining performance, efficiency and flexibility, Proterra buses offer the lowest per passenger cost and environmental impact of any transit bus technology—electric, diesel, hybrid or natural gas. Proterra has now received orders from 14 different transit agencies in cities across North America. Over the course of their 1,000,000 miles in service, Proterra customers have saved nearly 250,000 gallons of fossil fuel and have eliminated nearly 3.5 million pounds of emissions from being released into the environment.

How to Deflate Range Anxiety

Millions of people could be suffering from “range anxiety” a condition that keeps consumers from purchasing electric vehicles for fear of becoming stranded with an empty battery. A new study published in Human Factors addresses range anxiety and aims to explain what it is, and determine whether putting a consumer in a battery electric vehicle (BEV) to drive would reduce or eliminate the fear.

In “Understanding the Impact of Electric Vehicle Driving Experience on Range Anxiety,” Rauh and fellow researchers Thomas Franke and Josef Krems asked 24 experienced and inexperienced BEV users to drive a test route through country roads, in villages, and on the German Autobahn. To increase range stress, participants were told that because of an unexpected technical problem, the BEV was not fully charged.

Chevy Volt Photo Joanna Schroeder“Range anxiety is a popular topic in the field of electric vehicles, and is frequently named as a key barrier for widespread adoption of BEVs,” said coauthor Nadine Rauh, a research assistant in the Department of Cognitive and Engineering Psychology at Germany’s Technische Universität Chemnitz. “We strongly believe that a better understanding of the phenomenon of range anxiety can help us to find ways of enhancing user experience in BEV driving, thereby increasing acceptance of this type of alternative vehicle.”

The authors found when the vehicle’s display showed that the remaining range was less than the anticipated trip length, experienced BEV drivers exhibited significantly less anxiety than did those who were unfamiliar with electric cars. The researchers caution that further study is needed to determine what other variables play a role in decreasing range anxiety.

“Drivers who are new to BEVs can experience a lot of stress, but as time goes by they will become more confident in both the BEV’s range and in their own abilities to manage any situations that may arise,” added Franke, a postdoctoral researcher at Technische Universität Chemnitz. “Despite advances in technology that will allow for a longer range, human factors research will remain an important tool for helping to design sustainable and user-friendly electric mobility systems.”

San Fran No 1 Electric Vehicle City

ChargePoint_Infographic_EV_GrowthChargePoint has released a list of the top 10 friendliest metropolitan areas for EV drivers. The San Francisco Bay Area (including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose) led the nation, followed by Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego and Honolulu. The company scored the cities based on the number of EVs on the road and the number of charging stations available on the their network as of December 31, 2014 while adjusting for population differences.

ChargePoint’s Top 10 EV-Friendly Metropolitan Areas:

  1. San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Honolulu, HI
  6. Austin, TX
  7. Detroit, MI
  8. Atlanta, GA
  9. Denver, CO
  10. Portland, OR

“Although the West Coast continues to lead the nation in EV friendliness, the fact that cities like Atlanta and Denver broke into the top 10 demonstrates that this is not regional trend, but that our nation is quickly transitioning from gas powered cars to EVs.” said ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano. “In cities across the country, it’s becoming easier than ever to drive an EV – and that’s good news for our industry and for our environment.”

Although Los Angeles leads the nation in terms of registered EVs (nearly 57,000), the San Francisco Bay Area takes top billing after accounting for population differences (more than 48,000 EVs). Austin fell to the number-six ranking after having held the number-four spot on the 2013 list; Washington, DC and Boston, MA fell from the ninth and tenth spots, respectively, while EV infrastructure growth and registrations propelled Atlanta and Denver into the top 10.

FPL to Power Miami ePrix

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) will be powering the electric vehicles (EVs) racing for first place with solar power. The inaugural event will take place in downtown Miami on March 14, 2015. Formula E is a new FIA single-seater championship and the first fully-electric race car series. It kicked off in Bejing last September and ends this June featuring 10 teams, each with two drivers, racing on city streets. The racing series was developed to showcase R&D and excitement around EVs and the Miami ePrix marks the first U.S. appearance of the series.

“Our partnership with Formula E and the Miami ePrix is another example of our commitment to advancing zero-emissions solar energy and the use of electric vehicles in Florida,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “By the end of 2016 we Formula E racing series in Buenos Aireswill triple the energy we are able to produce from the sun, furthering our mission to provide low-cost, reliable and clean energy to our 4.7 million customers.”

“It’s an honor for us to have been selected as one of the 10 founding Formula E teams for the inaugural season,” said Michael Andretti, chairman and CEO of Andretti Sports Marketing who participated in the announcement. “I look forward to bringing this exciting series to North America and joining an impressive field of competitors at the upcoming race in Miami.”

During the announcement, electric race cars were charged with power generated from the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, one of three solar power plants operated by FPL. Earlier this year, FPL announced plans to install more than 1 million solar panels at three additional solar power plants by the end of 2016. When combined with other community projects, FPL will triple its solar capacity, which currently totals approximately 110 megawatts.

“The Formula E Miami ePrix is all about sharing our passion for electric vehicles,” added Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings. “The race series is exciting, it’s entertaining, and we hope it will turn the world’s attention to the potential electric vehicles have to change the way we power transportation. We are pleased to partner with FPL – a company that shares our vision for powering the future with affordable, clean energy.”

Electric Vehicle Charging Standards Needed

With the increase of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, aka the burgeoning of the “Electric Highway,” unified standards for public EV charging are needed. In many states, this will fall on the weights and measures officials. As more plug-in EVS hits U.S. roads, charging stations will require inspection and testing for accuracy, just like a gas station today. As the infrastructure rolls out, accruacy, labeling and advertising requirements will need to be addressed.

The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) established the kilowatt hour as the appropriate method of sale of electricity for electric automobiles, effective January 1, 2014. This was at the recommendation of a U.S. National Working Group established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). By establishing the measured units of sale, consumers are now able to make price comparisons just as they do for gasoline.

gI_67293_Electric-CarAt its 100th Annual Meeting in July 2015 in Philadelphia, NCWM will vote on additional recommendations from the NIST work group that would establish standards for recharging stations including accuracy requirements, testing procedures by weights and measures officials and design and installation requirements such as indications, labeling and security from tampering. All of this will enable the same level of regulatory oversight that already exists for gas pumps. If adopted by NCWM in July, those model standards will be published in NIST Handbook 44 and enforceable effective January 1, 2016.

Carol Hockert, chief of the NIST Office of Weights and Measures (OWM) noted, “NCWM and NIST have worked in partnership since 1905 to develop standards covering commercial weighing and measuring practices. It is a never-ending task as manufacturing, marketing and new technologies rapidly evolve.”

She also explained that OWM personnel at NIST serve as technical advisors on NCWM Committees and serve as liaisons between NCWM and federal agencies. These two organizations are devoted to a common cause: strengthening the nation’s weights and measures infrastructure and in doing so, protecting consumers and giving business owners a level playing field through fair competition.

2015 Energy Industry Update Released

ScottMadden Energy Industry UpdateThe 2015 edition of The Energy Industry Update has been released by ScottMadden, an energy consulting firm. The report points out as market changes, regulatory processes, and technology evolution unfold, energy and utility companies will face them and adapt. Themed “Changes: Turn and Face the Strange,” this issue surveys a broad array of strategic issues, including:

  • Insights drawn from a first-hand look at developments and lessons learned in Germany. The Solar Energy Power Association and ScottMadden recently partnered to lead a fact-finding mission to uncover the story behind the headlines;
  • A review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The report examines its timeline, implications, and issues in the wake of ongoing political and regulatory activity and a groundswell of comments from all sides; and
  • A view of how utilities are looking with interest at electric vehicles, hoping to increase energy sales and burnish their brands. The report examines customer and vehicle characteristics and some generic business models being tested in this growing market.
  • A review of natural gas prices and gas production from shale formations. The report considers the latest dynamics in this market, including what (if any) impact low oil on which prices are having.

“For months, indeed years, we have been anticipating major changes in the industry from a number of factors—low natural gas prices, technology advancement, and profound regulatory changes,” said Greg Litra, partner and energy, clean tech, and sustainability research lead at ScottMadden. “After being in the distance, they are now on the doorstep, and energy and utility companies are responding to these changes by testing new business models and adapting to or embracing new technologies.”

PG&E Proposes Largest Cali EV Charging Network

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has asked California state regulators for approval to build out a 25,000 electric vehicle (EV) network throughout Central and Northern California. If approved, PG&E said this program will be the largest deployment of EV charging stations in the country.

The chargers would be located at commercial and public locations, including multi-family dwellings, retail centers and business parking lots. Approximately 10 percent of the chargers would be installed to support disadvantaged communities. PG&E would also provide tools and educational materials for site hosts and customers to learn about the benefits of EVs.

PG&E Electric Vehicle“Our proposed build-out of EV charging infrastructure aims to accelerate customer adoption of clean, quiet, and efficient plug-in vehicles by reducing lingering range anxiety. It reflects our commitment to helping the state of California meet its critical clean air and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals by promoting cleaner transportation,” said Tony Earley, chairman, president, and CEO of PG&E Corporation.

He continued, “By supporting market acceptance of electric vehicles, it should create tremendous new opportunities for other infrastructure and technology companies, help keep California in the forefront of EV innovation, and create new jobs in local communities across Northern and Central California.”

More than 60,000 plug-in electric vehicles are currently registered in PG&E’s service area, which represents more than a fifth of all EVs in the U.S. The Governor’s Office has called for 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2025 to help meet the state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. To support that plan, industry models suggest that PG&E’s service area will need about 100,000 Level 2 chargers in public locations by 2020.

All of the 25,000 stations PG&E proposes to build would have Level 2 chargers, which provide up to 25 miles of range for every hour of charging. To support travel between metropolitan areas, PG&E would also install at key locations 100 DC fast chargers, which can recharge an EV’s battery in only 30 minutes.

Electric Cars Gain Ground in Vehicle Rankings

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its 18th annual vehicle environmental ratings on greencars.org. The top rated vehicles for the year were Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible/Coupe with the highest score ever, Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500E, Toyota Prius C and the Nissan Leaf. Six out of 12 places in this year’s Greenest List were claimed by plug-in electric vehicles. This year’s list also features a diverse array of manufacturers: nine different automakers are represented by the 12 top-scoring vehicles, including two American manufacturers (Chevrolet and Ford) and two European manufacturers.

Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible/Coupe wins Greenest Car of 2015 on Greencars.org. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible/Coupe wins Greenest Car of 2015 on Greencars.org. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

“As the electric vehicle market continues to develop, we’re seeing a number of different options from a variety of automakers, including several from American manufacturers,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

ACEEE notes at the same time, it’s important to note that some of the Greenest are only being offered in a handful of states, and that the larger classes are not represented. As the list demonstrates, consumers can make greener choices whatever their vehicle needs may be by providing facts that allows a consumer to examine the eco-performance of any 2015 model. The site assigns each vehicle a Green Score, a single measure that incorporates lifecycle greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. Updates to this year’s methodology include the incorporation of a fuel cell vehicle analysis and a new estimate of nuclear damage costs.

In addition to highlighting the year’s Greenest, Meanest, Greener Choices, and best-in-class lists, the greenercars.org website features informative write-ups on model year 2015 highlights, a consumer primer on vehicles and the environment, and advice on how to buy green when shopping for a new car or truck.

Southeastern Effort to Promote Alternative Fuels

se-fuelsThe Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition has joined sister Clean Cities organizations in the Southeast to promote the use of alternative fuels and vehicles. The joint effort includes U.S. Department of Energy designated Clean Cities coalitions in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“Drivers recognize that gas prices historically won’t stay at these lower prices for long,” said Mark Bentley, executive director of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. “We suggest fleets ‘bank’ their current fuel savings to invest in new advanced technology vehicles. We recognize alternative fuels have advantages that go beyond the price tag at any particular point in time.”

Bentley said alternative fuels offer fleets in the public and private sectors more stable and predictable costs, as well as lower vehicle maintenance costs. They also offer environmental advantages and economic benefits to local communities.

Bentley notes that the Southeast is a big growth market for alternative fuel vehicles. “For example, Atlanta ranks second only to San Francisco as a market for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Similarly, in 2013, Tennessee ranked ninth in the country for electric car registrations.” He adds that they expect the trend to continue in the region.

Clean Energy Investments Jump

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), clean energy investment rose for the first time in three years in 2014. New funds for wind, solar, biofuels and other low-carbon energy technologies gained 16 percent to $310 billion last year. It was the first growth since 2011, erasing the impact of lower solar-panel prices and falling subsides in the U.S. and Europe that hurt the industry in previous years.

The study reported that clean energy benefited from a number of trends that will be difficult to replicate in 2015. For example, with China’s commitment to renewables, funding increased 32 percent. In addition, a record $19.4 billion was committed to offshore wind projects during the year.

BNEF Trends in Renewable Energy ReportThe industry benefited from a number of trends that will be challenging to replicate this year. Funding surged because of a 32 percent expansion in China’s commitment to renewables, as well as a record $19.4 billion committed to offshore wind projects that were years in the making. And prior to the major drop in gas prices, investments were on the rise for electric vehicle development.

“Healthy investment in clean energy may surprise some commentators, who have been predicting trouble for renewables as a result of the oil price collapse,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board of the London-based researcher. “Our answer is that 2014 was too early to see any noticeable effect on investment. The impact of cheaper crude will be felt much more in road transport than in electricity generation.”

However, the BNEF, there may be trouble on the horizon for electric cars and offshore wind but even with lower oil prices, they predict installations for solar and wind power to grow about 10 percent in 2015. BNEF says the findings ease concerns that the oil price rout that began in the middle of last year would lead to a sharp reduction in funds for low-carbon energy, which is more costly than fossil fuels.

“This increase in renewable energy investment demonstrates the resilience of the sector in the face of tumbling oil prices,” said Ben Warren, head of environmental finance at the consulting firm EY. “This trend is set to continue as technology around renewables becomes more affordable. The increasing role that renewable energy plays in emerging markets will also help ensure sustainable growth for the sector.”

 

Chevy Premiers Bolt EV Concept

Chevrolet has premiered its Bolt EV concept car, a long-range all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 miles of range starting around $30,000. Leveraging the electrification prowess established by Volt and Spark EV, the Bolt EV concept is designed to offer long-range performance.

“The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra. “Chevrolet believes electrification is a 2015 Chevy Bolt EV Concept Carpillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”

According to Chevy, drivers will be able to select operating modes designed around preferred driving styles such as daily commuting and spirited weekend cruising. The modes adjust accelerator pedal mapping, vehicle ride height and suspension tuning. The Bolt EV concept is also designed to support DC fast charging.

“We have made tremendous strides in technologies that make it easier and more affordable for Chevrolet customers to integrate an all-electric vehicle in their daily lives,” continued Barra. “The Bolt EV concept demonstrates General Motors’ commitment to electrification and the capabilities of our advanced EV technology.”

Click here to learn more about the Bolt EV.

ChargePoint Home Debuts in the New Year

The new year has brought drivers of plug in electric vehicles (EV) a new way to charge at home. ChargePoint Home is now available and according to the company some notable features include its size as well as at its ultra-sleek, durable design – about the size of an average tablet.

ChargePoint Home“ChargePoint has spent years perfecting commercial charging stations, and with over 20,000 charging spots, we have built the largest EV charging network in the world. With our entrance into the single family home market, we are giving even more people the most advanced tools needed to confidently and conveniently drive an EV,” said ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano. “Smart homes, smart phones and smart cars. It makes sense to connect them to create a user-friendly, efficient and complete charging system at home.”

With ChargePoint Home, drivers can charge up to 25 miles per hour and easily manage the charger from their smartphone. Some of the key features include:

  • Scheduling through the ChargePoint app to minimize energy costs and work around your life
  • Remote start and stop charging
  • Set reminders to ensure you never forget to plug in
  • Different cord lengths available to fit any garage
  • Integration with your ChargePoint account to track all your charging information
  • Works with Nest Learning Thermostat

ChargePoint Home plugs into a standard 240V outlet and has a universal J1772 connector that is compatible with all cars and can be installed either indoors or outdoors. ChargePoint Home will be on the market this summer.

Wyoming Biodiesel, CNG, Electric Drivers Could Face Tax

Wyoming logoPossibly trying to prove that no good deed goes unpunished, drivers of biodiesel-, compressed natural gas-, and electric-powered vehicles in Wyoming could face a new road tax. This article from the Jackson Hole News & Guide says a tax on alternative fuels is pending in the state’s legislature.

Most Wyoming drivers pay 24 cents tax at the pump for gasoline; the alternative fuels tax would tax fuels other than gasoline the same 24 cents on an amount equivalent to a gallon of gasoline.

Taxes on gas — and those that would be collected on other energy — are earmarked to pay the cost of the state’s roads.

“There needs to be some kind of equitable way for them to contribute to the upkeep of roads and signage,” said Rep. Michael K. Madden, chairman of the Joint Revenue Interim Committee that will sponsor the bill.

The bill’s sponsor says the new tax would make things more fair.

Ironically, the Wyoming legislature is usually pretty averse to road taxes. But when you consider the amount of fossil fuels produced by the state, it’s no wonder in this case lawmakers are looking at a measure that would give Big Oil another leg up.

DOE Honors Alabama Clean Cities Leaders

Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition Executive Director Mark Bentley and President Phillip Wiedmeyer have been honored for their work in making Alabama cities cleaner places to live, work and play by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). National Clean Cities Co-Director Linda Bluestein recently inducted the pair into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame where representatives from nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions from across the country gathered for the 2014 Clean Cities Coordinator Workshop.

In 2013 alone, the Alabama coalition saved more than 3 million gallons of petroleum and averted more than 12,000 tons of greenhouse gases through the deployment of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, idle reduction and fuel economy improvements. The coalition has developed effective programs to support fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, natural B-W Alabama Clean Fuelsgas, propane, electricity and hydrogen. These accomplishments contributed to Clean Cities’ major milestone in 2013 of reducing U.S. petroleum consumption by one billion gallons in a single year for the first time ever.

“For many years, Mark and Phillip have proved themselves to be true pioneers and have made a significant impact in the deployment of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, both in their coalition area as well as nationally,” said Bluestein.

Bentley has been the executive director of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition since 2006. Wiedmeyer has served as president for the coalition since 2002.

“It’s been our privilege over the years to promote the use of alternative fuels that are better for our environment, easier on our wallets, good for our local economy and a step toward energy independence for our country,” Bentley said. “We are delighted to be recognized for this important work.”

NRG eVgo Expands EV Charging to Atlanta

NRG eVgo has announced plans to expand its comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure to Atlanta, Georgia. According to IHS Automotive, Atlanta emerged as the second major metropolitan market for EV sales, following San Francisco. Atlanta is geographically large, meaning most people commute to work, and have a need for a sustainable, reliable charging infrastructure.

NRG eVgo says its DC fast chargers are the fastest chargers available today and can charge an EV in less than 30 minutes. The charging network will be located along major roads in retail locations. The company will also be providing comprehensive EV infrastructure covering workplaces, multi-family buildings, and residences in the Greater Atlanta metropolitan area.

“We are pleased that NRG has chosen to expand its eVgo charging network in the City of Atlanta,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “Establishing a robust fast-charging network is essential to even broader adoption of electric vehicle use, both here in Atlanta and across the country.”

NRG eVgo charging stationThis fast charging network supports eVgo’s partnership with Nissan to expand the “No Charge to Charge” program to the Atlanta market. Already in 13 markets, “No Charge to Charge” is a first-of-its-kind partnership that provides Nissan LEAF buyers with complimentary 24-month access to the eVgo network, as well as other EV charging networks, using a single EZ-Charge access card.

Arun Banskota, President of NRG eVgo said of the announcement, “Atlanta drivers have embraced cleaner, more efficient vehicles to make their city one of the fastest growing EV markets in the country. Combining Atlanta’s enthusiasm for driving electric with the range confidence of a fast charging infrastructure will create an unbeatable combination that sets the stage for further EV adoption across the metro area and country.”