SolarEdge Selected for EV Fast-Charging Stations

Fastned has selected the SolarEdge solution, solar power technology developed by SolarEdge, for a nationwide network of 200 electric car fast-charging stations. The electric vehicle (EV) network will be strategically located throughout the Netherlands’ highways and will be partially 2013-11-30-145powered by 3 MW of distributed solar power. Fastned said they selected SolarEdge due to its lower installation, operation and maintenance costs when compared to other systems along with its increased energy yield.

SolarEdge said its module-level monitoring system provides Fastned with real-time performance data on each individual module and gives immediate alerts on any irregularities that may occur, pinpointed on a virtual site map. This offers increased system uptime by allowing Fastned to monitor all of its 200 fast-charging electric stations from one centralized location.

“Fastned is founded on a big vision with a simple solution and so is SolarEdge, which is what makes SolarEdge our ideal partner. SolarEdge took a new look at traditional PV systems and its simple solution of module-level optimization is revolutionizing the industry, just as Fastned plans to transform transportation,” stated Joost Hoffman, Fastned’s Operations Manager.

Installed by Solar Today, the projects consist of 10 kWp and 20 kWp PV stations that include 20 and 40 power optimizers respectively and one SolarEdge inverter. Solar Today installed P600 power optimizers, SolarEdge’s one power optimizer per two panel solution, that is specifically designed to decrease the costs of large projects. SolarEdge technology allowed Fastned to double the string length compared to a traditional inverter, therefore decreasing the amount of strings by 50 percent.

“A standard feature in all PV system categories, SolarEdge technology continues to prove that module-level electronics are a simple solution for improving the bottom line of projects,” said Lior Handelsman, VP Marketing & Product Strategy SolarEdge. “Being selected by Fastned, a company that understands how disruptive technologies can turn a vision into a reality, demonstrates the innovative power of SolarEdge’s technology. This project continues the positive trend of SolarEdge penetration into the strategic Dutch PV market.”

EV Fast Charger Network Rolls Out in China

ABB, a power and automation technology group, has announced a strategic collaboration with Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT) to supply direct current fast chargers over the next six years for DENZA. The partnership is designed to help China become a global leader for electric vehicle (EV) fast charging. The wall-mounted chargers will have a number of innovations designed for user convenience and safety, such as a mobile app that allows remote monitoring and control of charging sessions, with the option of charging status change notifications.

First deliveries are expected in mid 2014. The charging solution will be sold through DENZA dealerships along with the vehicle. EVs are one of China’s seven emerging strategic industries. ABB and DENZA will work together to help support China’s efforts to increase sustainable electric vehicle Denzamobility.

“We are honored to be a partner in this venture to move urban transportation forward in a more sustainable way. By combining car sales with fast chargers, DENZA is taking a bold step to address a key obstacle for potential buyers of EVs,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB Group. “ABB’s EV charging solutions have been expanding rapidly worldwide as the underlying technology combines our key strengths in power electronics, software, service and power distribution.”

The Chinese government has introduced a direct current (DC) fast charging “GBT” standard to encourage technical innovation and stimulate market acceptance of EVs. The urban charging infrastructure will be a key driver for EV adoption. The GBT standard will give Chinese consumers the opportunity to conveniently charge their vehicles at home or at public charging stations. Public DC fast charging is expected to be rolled out in China in the near future.

The fully electric DENZA car is designed for journeys of more than 200 kilometers and is among the first long-range EVs to go on sale in China. Market research shows that consumers value long-range EVs, but expect short charging times. DENZA will offer its customers the convenience of fast charging at home, at work or at public charging stations.

“The DENZA represents a significant step in sustainable transportation for the Chinese automotive market. It was vital that we had the right partner to support this innovative concept,” said Arno Roehringer, COO of BDNT. “ABB is the ideal technology partner for us, and – equally important – it has the service expertise to install this solution.”

China’s EV market is expected to quickly gain momentum in the coming years due to technology and market innovations, the GBT national fast-charging standard and favorable incentives. ABB has worked on pilot projects with local OEMs and utilities in China since 2010. In 2013, it began to build up a local EV organization to support this growth including R&D, manufacturing, logistics, and service.

EV Charging Stations Expanding in Las Vegas, Houston

Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations are expanding in Las Vegas, Nevada and Houston, Texas. MGM Resorts International has announced the largest installation of EV charging stations in Nevada while IKEA has announced the addition of EV charging stations at its store located in Houston, Texas.

EV bay at Mandalay BayMGM is installing 27 EV charging stations at nine of their Las Vegas resorts as well as at their corporate offices. Additional stations will be available at Circus Circus in Reno, Nevada. The charging stations, which will be installed in guest garages and valet areas, will be available for employees and guests to use at no cost.

“It is important that our guests have the convenience and ability to continue sustainable habits during their time with us,” said Cindy Ortega, Chief Sustainability Officer of MGM Resorts International. “The installation of these charging stations encourages green practices in both our guests and employees, serving as a natural step toward smarter, cleaner transportation systems.”

Drivers will be able to access real-time information about the EV charging stations via a ChargePoint mobile application, which shows whether a station is open in addition to the percentage of charge on the vehicle, when the vehicle is fully charged and when a charging nozzle has been removed. Each charger is equipped with two Level 2 charging ports supplying up to 7.2 kW, full motion color LCD display and a robust cord retraction system. All units will have the industry standard SAE J1772 charging ports.

“The installation of EV charging stations provides yet another draw to visit and stay at the MGM Resort properties,” said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint, the largest network of EV charging stations in the nation. “This project shows MGM’s commitment to sustainability and continued leadership. It also represents a significant benefit to MGM’s guests and employees alike, and allows ChargePoint to move closer to our goal of providing charging wherever people work, shop, eat and play.”

Four charging stations at Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Las Vegas and Circus Circus Reno have already been installed and are fully operational. Installation of the remaining EV charging stations is expected to be complete by the end of February 2014. MGM Resorts installed itsIKEA Blink EV charging station first charging stations in 2011 at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place and The Shops at Crystals. In 2012, an additional station was installed at its corporate office.

IKEA has plugged-in two Blink EV charging stations at its Houston store as part of its partnership with Car Charging Group, Inc., the new owner of the Blink Network and Blink charging stations, and the largest provider of EV charging services with more than 13,750 charging points in 35 states and three countries. To charge an EV at IKEA Houston, drivers pull into a designated parking spot, tap their Blink InCard (RFID card) to the reader below the screen, plug the charger into the EV and then shop and eat at their leisure in the IKEA store while the vehicle is charging. This initiative represents the 12th such U.S. project for IKEA, with installation underway at other locations.

Rep. Loebsack Introduces Infrastructure Re-FUEL Act

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) has introduced the Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion, and Leadership (Re-FUEL) Act. The goal of the legislation is to create a competitive grant program to assist fuel retailers with investments in renewable and alternative fuel/energy sources. The program would be administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and will help create new and retrofit existing infrastructure, including pumps for biofuels and hydrogen, tanks, piping and electric vehicle chargers. Loebsack points out that the legislation is already paid for and does not add to the deficit.

made in the usaI believe in making things in America and there is no reason our fuel sources shouldn’t be made here as well,” said Rep. Loebsack. “It’s also important that consumers are able to choose where their fuel source comes from when they go to fill up. Too often, infrastructure constraints are cited as the reason for not giving consumers the choices they deserve. This holds back the development of our renewable and alternative energy sources that create jobs in Iowa and across the country.”

To be eligible for the grant, projects must be capable of dispensing fuel or energy currently not widely available. Projects can be new infrastructure projects or retrofits to existing infrastructure and can include infrastructure such as biofuel and hydrogen pumps, tanks, piping, and electric vehicle chargers. A minimum of 30 percent non-federal match is required and the maximum grant per year per entity is $100,000. In addition, the grant program covers infrastructure for renewable or alternative energy, which includes renewable energy, energy for charging electric vehicles, and hydrogen and fuel cells.

“I commend Congressman Loebsack for introducing legislation that supports America’s consumers, rural communities and growing biofuels industry,” said Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy. “By supporting renewable fuel infrastructure, this legislation will help push our nation toward energy independence and give consumers some much needed choice and savings at the pump. This legislation also emphasizes the importance of investing in and revitalizing rural America.”

The Re-FUEL Act does not add to the federal deficit. The program would be paid for by setting aside 1 percent of offshore oil royalties each fiscal year. This amounted to about $54.34 million in fiscal year 2013 and $52.16 million in fiscal year 2012. In addition, no other required disbursements from natural resources accounts such as those for state sharing, reclamation fund, or Land and Water Conservation Fund will be affected.

“The pace at which the renewable fuel advantages will be available to American drivers is greatly sped up by the fact that the proposed grants can be used for infrastructure like new blender pumps as well as retrofitting existing pumps, pipes, tanks and chargers,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “Placing a priority on rural America is a welcomed approach. The small communities of rural America are amongst the most challenging locations for economic development. Rep. Loebsack recognizes that ethanol production has created and supports over 386,000 jobs with very real potential to expand on that success.”

Reusing EV Batteries for Energy Storage

Sumitomo Corporation has developed and installed what the company says is the world’s first large-scale power storage system which utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles (EVs). This commercial scale storage system, built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, will begin operating this month.

4R Energy Used EV Battery Storage projectOver the next three years, the system will measure the smoothing effect of energy output fluctuation from the nearby “Hikari-no-mori,” solar farm, and will aim to establish a large-scale power storage technology by safely and effectively utilizing the huge quantities of discarded used EV batteries which will become available in the future. This project has been selected as a model project for “Verification of the battery storage control to promote renewable energy” for the fiscal year 2013 by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.

Battery Business Development Department General Manager, Norihiko Nonaka said, “We are pleased to be a part of such an important verification project that can both utilize used EV batteries, and provide a large-scale power storage facility, which are important issues that need to be addressed for the future of renewable energy.”

Sumitomo Corporation created the joint venture company, “4R Energy Corporation,” in collaboration with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in September 2010, to address the secondary use of EV lithium-ion batteries. The used EV batteries that will be recycled into this large-scale storage system have been recovered and have gone through thorough inspection and maintenance at 4R, to confirm safety and performance. This prototype system (600kW/400kWh) consists of sixteen used EV batteries. The company is also working on developing new applications for used EV batteries.

Greenercars.org Releases Environmental Ratings

Greenercars.org has released its 17th annual 2014 Environmental Scores with the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive topping the list with the hightest-ever score of 59 out of 100. The vehicle will be rolled out nationally this year. The GreenerCars initiative is part of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

2011_smart_fortwo-electric-drive-cabriolet_Softtop_RoadsterThe next two “greenest” cars were the Toyota Prius C and the Nissan Leaf. Toyota’s entire family of Priuses performed exceedingly well, with the regular Prius and the Prius plug-in hybrid nabbing spots #4 and #7. Other top scorers for 2014 include the Honda Civic Hybrid (#5), Lexus CT 200H (#6), Honda Insight (#10), and the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid (#12). Making its return to the “Greenest” list after an absence last year is the Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle (#9).

“We’ve had such an influx of hybrid and electric vehicles in recent years that the race to earn a spot on the “Greenest” list is more competitive than ever, particularly for conventional vehicles. It’s encouraging to see automakers investing heavily in eco-savvy vehicles on the whole,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

New to the list this year is the Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi’s new subcompact offering for the American market. The gasoline vehicle takes the 8th spot on the list. The only other non-hybrid gasoline model to make the list this year is the Smart ForTwo which placed at #11.

“From the rise in the number of efficient vehicles in car-sharing and car rental fleets to the myriad advanced technology vehicle choices available to consumers, the leading edge of the U.S. auto market is evolving rapidly,” said Steve Nadel, ACEEE’s Executive Director.

In addition to the “greenest” cars, the list also includes “greener choices” and the “meanest” cars as well. The dirtiest vehicle for 2014 is the Class 2B Ram 2500 followed by the Bugatti Veyron and the Ford E-150 FFV Wagon.

C-Max Solar Energi Taps Sun for Power

Ford Motor Company has announced its new C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, what they call a first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of what a plug-in hybrid offers, without depending on the electric grid for fuel.

Instead of powering its battery from an electrical outlet, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof.

Ford C-MAX Solar Energi ConceptThe result is a concept car that takes in essence a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, which draws its power from the electric grid. Today, Ford C-MAX Energi is getting an EPA-estimated 108 MPGe (miles per gallon electric) city and 92 MPGe highway, for a combined 100 MPGe.

“Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept shines a new light on electric transportation and renewable energy,” said Mike Tinskey, Ford global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. “As an innovation leader, we want to further the public dialog about the art of the possible in moving the world toward a cleaner future.”

SunPower is providing solar cells for the roof of the concept car. Ford also partnered with Georgia Tech Institute of Technology to develop a way to amplify the sunlight in order to make a solar-powered hybrid feasible for daily use.

The collaborative research teams developed an off-vehicle solar concentrator that uses a special Fresnel lens to direct sunlight to the solar cells while boosting the impact of the sunlight by a factor of eight. Fresnel is a compact lens originally developed for use in lighthouses. Similar in concept to a magnifying glass, the patent-pending system tracks the sun as it moves from east to west, drawing enough power from the sun through the concentrator each day to equal a four-hour battery charge (8 kilowatts).

With a full charge, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to have the same total range as a conventional C-MAX Energi of up to 620 miles, including up to 21 electric-only miles. Additionally, the vehicle still has a charge port, and can be charged by connecting to a charging station via cord and plug so that drivers retain the option to power up via the grid, if desired.

After C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is shown at the 2014 International CES, Ford and Georgia Tech will begin testing the vehicle in numerous real-world scenarios. The outcome of those tests will help to determine if the concept is feasible as a production car.

Consumer Attitude About Renewable Energy Rebounds

According to a new consumer survey from Navigant Research, favorable attitudes toward a number of clean and renewable energy concepts, particularly solar energy, wind energy, hybrid vehicles and electric cars, have rebounded significantly from their 2012 levels.

The survey finds the average favorability rating for 10 concepts, which fall under the Solar and wind togethercategories of clean energy, clean transportation, smart grid, and building efficiency, also rose, to 51 percent, the highest level seen in Navigant Research’s annual survey since 2010.

“Between 2009 and 2012, there were steady declines in favorability for some clean energy concepts, particularly the most favorable concepts, such as solar energy, wind energy, and hybrid and electric vehicles,” said Clint Wheelock, managing director with Navigant Research. “This year saw statistically significant increases in favorability for seven of the 10 concepts, and a decline for only one – nuclear power.”

The white paper, “Energy and Environment Consumer Survey,” analyzes the survey responses as a basis for comparing consumer views of 10 energy and environment topics to one another. In addition to favorable and unfavorable opinions, the number of respondents unfamiliar with a concept is also considered in order to compare the level of consumer awareness within each topic.

The survey of 1,084 U.S. adults was conducted in the fall of 2013, and asked respondents to provide their level of favorability for the following key concepts: solar energy; wind energy; nuclear power; hybrid vehicles; electric cars; natural gas vehicles; biofuels; smart grid; smart meters and LEED certification.

According the Navigant Research, the similarly high levels of favorable views toward solar and wind energy indicate that consumers are generally supportive of the more established renewable energies that harness naturally occurring power sources. Since these two concepts have retained their most favored status year after year, Navigant Research asserts that consumers consider these renewable energies to be important pieces in the power generation portfolio of the future.

More Households Could Use EVs

Todays EVs surveyAccording to a national survey released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Consumers Union, four out of 10 households could use an electric vehicle (EV) with little or no change to their driving habits and vehicle needs,

While less than 1 percent of the country are driving electric vehicles (EVs) today, the survey found that 42 percent of respondents with cars, equivalent to 45 million households when applied nationally, meet the basic criteria for using plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt. More than half of those households are also able to use a battery-electric vehicle (BEV), such as the Nissan LEAF.

“Consumers who might be shopping for a new vehicle this holiday season may be surprised to learn that an electric vehicle could be a good fit for their household,” said Josh Goldman, policy analyst for the UCS Clean Vehicles Program. “Drivers may have preconceptions about whether electric vehicles can meet their driving needs and habits, and this survey shows that for many, they can.”

IKEA Plugs In 3 Blink EV Charging Stations

IKEA has plugged-in three Blink® electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its Dallas-area store as part of its partnership with Car Charging Group, Inc., the new owner of the Blink Network and Blink charging stations, and the largest provider of EV charging services with more than 13,430 charging points in 35 states and three countries. To charge an EV at IKEA Frisco, drivers pull into a EV_charging_stations_at_IKEA_Frisco_TX_Dallas_USA_designated parking spot, tap their Blink InCard (RFID card) to the reader below the screen, plug the charger into the EV, and then shop and eat at their leisure in the IKEA store while the vehicle is charging.

The new EV charging stations represents the 10th such project for IKEA in the U.S., with installation underway at seven other locations. In total, completion of the units currently planned will bring the total number of Blink charging stations available at IKEA locations to 55. Drivers may call Blink Customer Support (888-998-2546) to be provided with a guest code for the charging session and/or become a Blink member, which provides discounted rates at Blink stations. Information about Blink membership is also available at .

“We are thrilled at how these electric vehicle charging stations further the sustainability of IKEA Frisco, and now are available to the public,” said Robby Wierman, store manager. “We appreciate the support of CarCharging and Oncor – our partners in helping facilitate and promote the use of EVs in North Texas.”

What Will We Drive in 2023?

According to a new study, “Tomorrow’s Vehicles: What Will We Drive in 2023?” released by the Fuels Institute, the growth of vehicles running on alternative fuels will accelerate over the next decade but diesel-fuel and gasoline-powered vehicles will continue to dominate the market.

Tomorrow's Vehicles What Will We Drive in 2023For light-duty vehicles (passenger vehicles and light trucks), gasoline-powered vehicles will continue to dominate the market, although overall market share could decline from 93 percent in 2012 to as low as 82 percent of vehicle inventories in 2023. Diesel-powered vehicles will potentially comprise nearly 7 percent of the market while flexible-fuel vehicles capable of using E85 could grow to more than 9 percent of the market.

Meanwhile, for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (commercial vehicles like trucks and buses), diesel-powered vehicles will prevail, representing at least 94 percent of the vehicle fleet in 2023.

“On the surface, it may not seem that significant change is occurring, because gasoline and diesel fuel-powered vehicles will continue to dominate the vehicle fleet in 2023, but alternatives are gaining traction,” said John Eichberger, executive director of the Fuels Institute. “Consumers appear to be more open to alternatives than ever before and vehicle manufacturers are offering a wider variety.”

Given that there are more than 250 million vehicles on the road today, the report finds it will take years of strong sales of alternative fuel vehicles to reshape the country’s vehicle fleet. In addition, a variety of developments — including cost reductions for alternative-fuel vehicles, conveniently available refueling options, expanded vehicle range and overall consumer familiarity and confidence with new fueling options — will need to occur before alternative-fueled vehicles can capture significant market share.

“We need to ask — and answer — some tough questions so that the vehicles and fueling markets can develop together and convert consumers to new type of vehicles,” said Eichberger.

The report forecast the makeup of the vehicle fleet in 2023 based on two scenarios: a “base case” that incorporates current forecasts and an “aggressive case” that assumes more robust world economic conditions that further spurs demand and prices for petroleum products. In both projections, gasoline-powered vehicles will continue to dominate the LDV market but lose significant market share, dropping from 93.2 percent of LDVs on the road in 2012 to between 82.6 percent to 86.0 percent in 2023. This decline in market share is driven by a shift in the sale of new vehicles, with gasoline-powered vehicles’ share of sales falling from 83.4 percent in 2012 to between 67.6 percent to 78.9 percent in 2023, a potentially dramatic change in consumer purchasing behavior. Continue reading

Pressure Cooking to Improve Electric Car Batteries

David Kisailus and Jianxin ZhuResearchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have redesigned the component materials of the battery found in electric vehicles in an environmentally friendly way. The goal was to solve several problems with the technology including they take a long time to charge; the charge doesn’t hold long enough to drive long distances; they don’t allow drivers to quickly accelerate; and they are big and bulky.

By creating nanoparticles with a controlled shape, the research team believes smaller, more powerful and energy efficient batteries can be built. By modifying the size and shape of battery components, they aim to reduce charge times as well.

“This is a critical, fundamental step in improving the efficiency of these batteries,” said David Kisailus, an associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering and lead researcher on the project. In addition to electric cars, the redesigned batteries could be used for municipal energy storage, including energy generated by the sun and wind.

The initial findings are outlined in a recently published paper called “Solvothermal Synthesis, Development and Performance of LiFePO4 Nanostructures” in the journal Crystal Growth & Design. Kisailus, who is also the Winston Chung Endowed Professor in Energy Innovation, and Jianxin Zhu, a Ph.D. student working with Kisailus, were the lead authors of the paper.

The researchers in Kisailus’ Biomimetics and Nanostructured Materials Lab set out to improve the efficiency of Lithium-ion batteries by targeting one of the material components of the battery, the cathode. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), one type of cathode, has been used in electric vehicles because of its low cost, low toxicity and thermal and chemical stability. However, its commercial potential is limited because it has poor electronic conductivity and lithium ions are not very mobile within it. Continue reading

Cadillac ELR Leaves Detroit Smart Grid Ready

PrintThe LA Auto Show is taking place this week and the new Cadillac ELR will have some unique new features. The vehicle will leave Detroit, Michigan smart grid ready by using the extended range electric vehicle (EV) technology. Combined with OnStar’s could-based connection, the ELR will be able to communicate with the electric grid and potentially save energy.

ELR owners will have access to the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App, which in addition to allowing drivers to check their vehicle’s operating systems and send remote commands, gives them access to EV specific functions. The EV-tailored app shows owners their vehicle’s current state of charge, electric range, electric miles driven and eMPG, or equivalency of electric miles per gallon.

The RemoteLink Mobile App also will allow ELR owners to control and schedule vehicle charging, including an option to charge during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lowest. In addition to the RemoteLink app available today, OnStar is an enabler for solutions that may benefit drivers in the future.

“While RemoteLink is really our first Smart Grid service to be available for consumers, the same connection we use to enable the app’s EV functions can be used to open the door for more energy cost and load control benefits,” said Russ Eling, manager, Smart Grid and EV Services, General Motors.

OnStar has four unique Smart Grid APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, that utilities and third-party companies can work with to develop real-world solutions for the 2014-Cadillac-ELR-018-mediumELR including demand response, time-of-Use rates, charging data, and aggregated services.

An example of an aggregated service solution would be charging with renewable energy. A regional transmission organization would send OnStar a signal letting it know that renewable energy is available on the electric grid. OnStar then uses this signal to manage the charging of one or multiple EVs in order to utilize the available renewable energy.

OnStar recently partnered with TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. using Demand Response to aid with TimberRock’s ability to store and charge with solar energy.

Report: EV Charging Won’t Overload Grid

According to a recent PSR Analytics report that measured Summer 2013 vehicle charging in the nation’s highest residential concentration of electric cars, electric vehicle (EV) owners are charging their cars much less during hot summer afternoons than most behavioral models predict. The analysis, conduced by Pecan Street Research Institute, found that not only is charging behavior is much more diverse than has been predicted, but represents a much more manageable energy load and may be highly elastic to time-of-use pricing and similar tools.

If such findings are confirmed by other research, it could significantly increase utility industry estimates on the number of EVs the electric grid could handle without triggering disruptions or requiring major system upgrades.

PSR-EV-Report-Distribution-Graph-1024x332Pecan Street’s EV research trial in Austin, Texas has what appears to be the highest U.S. concentration of electric vehicles, including over 50 in a single half-square mile neighborhood. The institute’s data-intensive research trials (currently in three states) has produced the world’s largest research database of residential energy use according to the company.

“EVs represent the largest new electric load to appear in homes in a generation,” said the report’s lead author, Pecan Street CEO Brewster McCracken. “We still have a lot of consumer research ahead of us, but these findings suggest that this new load is not only manageable, but movable.”

Summer afternoon charging has emerged as a point of focus for utilities, particularly for those serving large cities where clusters of EVs have started to appear in some neighborhoods. The concern among utilities is that homeowners with EVs will all charge upon arriving home in the afternoon, and that such charging would occur during the peak demand hours on summer afternoons. During those periods, electric grids in many parts of the world are stressed due primarily to air conditioning loads coming on as people arrive home. Continue reading

Consumers Like ‘Green’ Car Options

According to a new survey by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), consumers like ‘green’ car options as long as green means money. Consumers want to see more alternative-fueled vehicles emerge over the next decade, and are willing to consider purchasing one of these vehicles.

Three in five (62%) consumers want to see more hybrid-electric vehicles over the next decade, two in five (43%) want to see more battery electric vehicles and one in three want to see more fuel cell (34%), natural gas, (31%) or flex fuel vehicles (30%), according to the nationwide survey conducted in partnership with Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC.

Consumers don’t simply want to see more alternative-fueled vehicle options — they are quite willing to consider buying them within the decade. Three in four (74%) would consider buying a hybrid electric, and three in five would consider purchasing a flex fuel (62%), fuel cell (58%) or battery electric vehicle (58%). Half of consumers would consider a natural gas powered vehicle (53%).

A relatively small 38% of all consumers would consider buying a diesel fuel-powered vehicle over the next decade. However, consumer willingness to consider diesel vehicles has significantly increaserapid-charging-station-tennessee-gas-station_100364801_md since May 2013. Only 31 percent of consumers who plan to purchase a vehicle in the next two years said that they would consider a diesel vehicle in May, whereas 50 percent of those consumers today are likely to consider a diesel vehicle.

Interestingly, consumers who say they are open to purchasing these “green” vehicles are heavily motivated by an economic incentive. Two in three consumers say the switch to an alternative fuel would be driven primarily by economic enticements, rather than environmentalism. Economic factors such as increased fuel efficiency or tax breaks are more important than environmental factors for those considering diesel, flex fuel, hybrid electric, propane, fuel cell, natural gas and battery electric vehicles (79%, 75%, 73%, 71%, 68%, 67%, 65%, respectively).

“This consumer survey reinforces what we have long thought: consumers are willing to embrace new fuels and vehicles but it must make sense for them financially,” said NACS Vice President of Government Relations John Eichberger. “Consumers are just as wary as fuels retailers about moving toward future fuels if they don’t have financial certainty.”

Next week, the Fuels Institute, of which NACS is a founding organization, will release “Tomorrow’s Vehicles,” a report looking at the vehicle market in 2023. In addition, every month, NACS conducts a nationwide survey to measure consumer perceptions about gas prices and how they relate to broader economic conditions. Earlier this week, NACS released its latest consumer sentiment survey that found that recent gas price decreases have helped lead to an increase in consumer optimism.