Chevrolet Funds Plug-In EV Chargers

Two of the most popular State Parks in Southern California – Leo Carrillo State Beach and Malibu Creek State Park – now have free electric vehicle (EV) charging for plug-in electric vehicle owners. The EV charging stations were made possible through Chevrolet’s EcoAd advertising with CBS EcoMedia Inc. The two, 240 volt, chargers can accommodate up to four plug-in electric vehicles. The units were installed at the two parks by EcoMedia’s nonprofit partner, Adopt A Charger. Chevy’s funding will provide free charging and service and maintenance for the charging stations for three full years.

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 11.38.43 AMA ribbon-cutting celebration was held in front of the Malibu Creek State Park Administration Building. The ribbon-cutting celebration was hosted by Craig Sap, California State Parks Superintendent for the Los Angeles District; Chevrolet Group Manager, Western Region Communications, Dave Barthmuss; Kitty Adams, Executive Director, Adopt A Charger, Inc.; and CBS EcoMedia President and Founder, Paul Polizzotto. Special guests included Alexandra Paul, Co-Founder, Plug-In-America, a Chevy Volt owner; along with several other Chevy Volt and Chevy Spark EV drivers and other interested plug-in car enthusiasts.

Chevy brought out two Chevy Volts and a new Spark EV for test drives and several attendees had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the battery-powered vehicles.

“Electric vehicles are catching on and we’re proud that the Chevy Volt is the number one selling plug-in vehicle in the country,” said Dave Barthmuss, Chevrolet’s Western Region Group Manager. “These new chargers will allow EV drivers to enjoy trips out to Southern California beaches without range anxiety. Installing EV charging stations at destination locations like Malibu Creek State Beach, where vehicles will sit for several hours, is a perfect example of the kind of infrastructure that will help grow the EV market.”

California State Parks recreational activities and outdoor experiences draw approximately 85 million visitors each year –an increasing number of who drive plug-in vehicles. Installation of EV charging stations is part of the “Cool Parks” initiative by California State Parks that responds to the pressing challenges of climate change and seeks to educate park visitors, and motivate the broader public to be part of the solution. By “adopting” these chargers, GM becomes a Proud Partner of the California State Parks.

7-Eleven Has Success with EV Charging Stations

7-Eleven is the first fuel retailer in the New York City area to offer fast charging services for electric vehicle (EV) drivers. Green Charge Networks (GCN) energy storage solutions worked with 7-Eleven as well as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and several utility companies to leverage local solar generation and energy storage. This enables them to use high-powered electric equipment, including EV fast chargers, while avoiding or creating peak energy times and high energy prices.

Green Charge Networks logo.pjg“Even when the New York City electric grid experienced an all-time peak on July 19 during the recent heat wave, the GreenStation allowed for EV fast charging while reducing peak demand by 56 percent,” said Vic Shao, Green Charge Networks’ CEO.

Green Charge Networks’ energy storage system, GreenStation, manages the power consumption at the 5820 Francis Lewis Boulevard 7-Eleven location in Flushing, N.Y. It monitors the store’s load on a second-by-second basis and counteracts peaks and valleys by discharging and charging from an internal ion battery bank.

“Convenience retailing in today’s world increasingly requires the use of high-powered electrical devices, including foodservice equipment and EV fast chargers,” adds Tom Brennan, 7-Eleven’s vice president of infrastructure services. “Meeting our customers changing needs while keeping demand charges and thus our electricity costs in check is a very attractive value proposition for us.”

According to CGN, the GreenStation enables industrial and commercial ratepayers to manage power consumption and rising demand charges. The root technology is a stochastic controller with sophisticated software that flattens the power load curve during peak consumption periods.

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

IMAGITRENDSAccording to two recent articles published in IEEE Spectrum, electric vehicles (EVs) may not be so “green”. The first report, Unclean at Any Speed, describes how the subsidies for electric cars may cause more harm than good after considering full electric vehicle lifecycles. It advocates directing EV subsidies toward initiatives such as emissions testing, bicycle infrastructure, public transit and land-use changes.

The second article, coined by Ozzie Zehner, is a response to electric car proponents published in the same journal, and describes how the high cost of electric cars and solar cells exposes the substantial amount of fossil fuels that their manufacturing employs.

Zehner, is a visiting scholar at the University of California – Berkeley and the author of Green Illusions. He once built an electric hybrid car of his own, but is now more cautious about promoting costly high-tech strategies. “Stating that an electric car is clean is like saying that a light bulb is clean. Light bulbs don’t produce exhaust, but it doesn’t mean we IMAGITRENDScan use them with zero emissions. The same holds true for electric cars,” said Zehner in an NPR interview Monday.

In his article, Zehner identifies a price tag predicament. “The cost of manufactured goods ultimately boils down to two things: natural resource extraction, and profit,” explains Zehner. “Extraction is largely based on fossil-fuel inputs. Generally speaking, if a supposedly green machine costs more than its conventional rival, then more resources had to be claimed to make it possible.”

He indicates that pricey green technologies, including solar cells and electric cars, likely require more fossil fuel and produce more carbon dioxide than their conventional counterparts. Zehner warns that even if electric car costs come down, “we will have invested billions of dollars to maintain an otherwise unsustainable transportation infrastructure.”

Zehner remarks that researchers could instead “measure the virtues of electric cars against those of walkable neighborhoods, and the costs of generating more energy against the savings from using less.” He admits these may not seem comparable at first but that “in a world of 7 billion people living in increasingly precarious times, these are the tough questions that matter.”

Refuel Colorado Fleets

Refuel Colorado Fleets, a pilot project to boost the use of alternative fuel vehicles in public and private sector fleets, has announced a new pilot program for several Colorado communities. The program is funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant to the Colorado Energy Office. Counties selected for the year-long pilot are Routt, Larimer, Boulder, Jefferson, Adams, Garfield, Mesa, Montezuma and La Plata. A is funding the project.

Energy coaches employed by four community-based nonprofits will help business and government fleet owners work together with auto dealers, fuel providers, business leaders and local governments in the nine counties to pursue or expand use of alternative fuels. The program is aimed at accelerating the deployment of alternative fuels, reducing Refuel Colorado Fleets logopetroleum imports and increasing fuel cost efficiency in public and private sector vehicle fleets. Alternative fuels being considered include compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), propane, biofuels and plug-in electric vehicles.

“The Refuel Colorado Fleets energy coaches will support the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles,” said Jeff Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office. “Each community will determine what makes sense for them, be that electric, natural gas, propane, or other vehicle types. Each of these provides economic and environmental benefits, making this an exciting project.”

Energy coaching will be done by Northern Colorado Clean Cities, Denver Metro Clean Cities, Garfield Clean Energy and Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency. The pilot project is being led by CLEER: Clean Energy Economy for the Region, a Carbondale nonprofit with expertise in alternative fuel vehicle technology, energy coaching and community engagement.

“Colorado has built a strong reputation as a leader in renewable energy and other innovative industries,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. “Refuel Colorado Fleets’ work on these projects in counties across the state only enhances that reputation. “There is great promise in alternative fuel vehicles and these types of programs help proliferate their use and allow communities to see how best to implement proven green technologies.”

In the coming weeks, energy coaches will work with businesses and local governments in the nine counties to analyze their fleets, including miles driven and age, vehicle type and purpose, to determine the optimal alternative fuel to focus on.

Chrysler & NextEnergy Explore Battery Power

Chrysler Group has partnered with NextEnergy, a Detroit-based non-profit energy-technology and business accelerator, to evaluate vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology using four all-electric minivans. If the EVs prove to be viable storehouses of electricity, they could provide energy savings by sending surplus power to the grid.

“This program is indicative of our broad-based approach to powertrain development,” said Bob Lee, Chrysler Group Vice President and Head of Engine and Electrified Propulsion Engineering. “Advanced internal-combustion technology remains at the core of our efforts, but the present regulatory climate we live in compels all auto makers to explore V2G_minivan__midalternatives such as electrification. We’re choosing to go the extra mile by also exploring how electric vehicles might mesh with our energy infrastructure.”

The battery-powered minivans are connected to a charging module that, thanks to unique NextEnergy technology, can simulate any electrical grid in the world.

“This, when coupled with Chrysler Group’s powertrain expertise, has enabled leading-edge business-model and technology demonstrations,” said NextEnergy President and CEO Jean Redfield.

Among the scenarios under study is reduced reliance on “spinning reserves” – the expensive practice of having huge generators at the ready to balance spikes in energy demand. According to Chrysler, if EVs were linked together in sufficient numbers and their combined surplus power was sold to utility companies, they could conceivably offset demand surges. The expectation is that tapping such a reservoir would cut costs for utility companies, while also putting money into the pockets of EV owners. Continue reading

The Real Reason Government’s Plug EV’s

According to a new study by researchers at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the University of Kansas, contrary to common belief, many country’s promote the manufacture and sale of electric vehicles (EVs) for reasons of economic development, notably job creation, not because of their environmental benefits. 4798The study looked at policies related to EVs in California, China, the European Union (EU), France, Germany and the United States, political jurisdictions with significant automotive industries and markets for EVs.

“Billions of dollars are being invested despite doubts that some express about the viability of electricity as a propulsion system,” said John D. Graham, SPEA dean and co-author of the study. “The objective of many of these national and sub-national governments is to establish a significant position — or even dominance — in the global marketplace for these emerging, innovative new technologies.”

Examining each jurisdiction’s use of risk-management policies (e.g., those designed to reduce environmental and security risks due to oil dependence) or industrial policies (e.g., designed to boost fortunes of a specific technology or sector and increase market competitiveness) indicated the entire lifecycle of making and using EVs is viewed by policy makers mainly as an economic development opportunity. Specific findings include:

  • China: No carbon price has been established in China, where electricity is generated by high-carbon sources and fuel prices are relatively low; thus, its EV policies are geared toward establishing a competitive position in an emerging global EV industry.
  • Germany: The least committed to EVs of the jurisdictions studied, Germany is nonetheless engaging in an industrial policy of hedging to protect the market share and viability of its premium car industry should electric propulsion gain a foothold in the worldwide premium car market.
  • The European Union: The only entity studied that acts as a supranational regulatory state, the EU is also the only one where pure risk management related to EVs occurs. The EU appears to have a technology-neutral approach and has made some investments in research and development support for industry innovation.
  • California and France: California is the largest market for motor vehicles in North America. In addition, its considerable pollution problems, created largely from the automobiles in the 1960s and ’70s and particularly acute relative to other U.S. locations, make it an ideal market for EVs. Thus, it is motivated to promote EVs by a substantial blend of industrial policy and risk management — the same approach taken by France. Both California and France have made significant advancements in risk management policies, having the strongest voices among their peers for mitigating the effects of economic and industrial development that lead to urban air pollution, congestion and climate change. Continue reading

OnStar & TimberRock Partner on EV Solar Charging

OnStar-TimberRock-mediumOnStar is partnering with TimberRock Energy Solutions to develop advanced EV solar charging technologies. TimberRock uses aggregation software and solar charging canopies with integrated storage to manage the flow of solar power to the electric grid. The project will be the first “real-world” use of OnStar’s Smart Grid solutions.

As part of the project, TimberRock will monitor the output of its solar charging stations, how much stored energy is available and when it can sell energy back to the grid to help meet peak demand. To help balance this system, TimberRock will then manage its fleet of four Chevrolet Volts to help regulate energy flow. This practice is known as Market-Based Regulation.

“The future of electric vehicle charging will be a marriage of renewable energy and battery storage as we look to address the intermittency of renewable solar and wind power,” said Rob Threlkeld, General Motors’ manager of renewable energy. “This project supports GM’s goal of using all factors of the charging equation: electric vehicles, solar power, and battery storage.”

The ability to control the Volts’ charging using software algorithms is made possible by an OnStar solution called Demand Response, accessed through OnStar’s Smart Grid application programming interface, or APIs. OnStar has given TimberRock access to this solution so that it can start, stop and modulate the amount of charge going to a particular Volt in coordination with energy need. TimberRock’s software determines when the EVs can be used to support the grid. Continue reading

PSEG Open Largest EV Charging Station in NJ

PSEG has opened the largest electric vehicle (EV) charging facility in New Jersey with 13 electric charging stations in its headquarter garage. Eleven of the spots are designated for employees’ use and two spots are used for company electric cars.

This week also marks the start of the PSEG Employee Electric Car Incentive Program at three company locations: PSEG Headquarters in Newark, the PSEG Edison Training Center and the PSEG Energy and Environment Resource Center in Salem New Jersey. Participants in the program have access to no-cost charging through July 2016 and in Newark, have access to no cost parking through July 2016.

“This is a great example of ‘if you build it they will come.’ In just a few weeks since this program was announced, we have had nine people sign up for the program – and most of them have gone out and bought an electric car because MAL_5803of the program,” said Randy Mehrberg, executive vice-president of strategy, PSEG.

All participants agree to complete regular surveys about their electric car experience. The first was on motivations for purchasing an electric car. Reasons listed included helping the environment, liking to be on the cutting edge of technology or saving money on gas or parking. Cars bought by initial participants included Chevy Volts, Honda Fit, Nissan Leaf, plug-in Toyota Priuses and a plug-in Ford Fusion.

“PSEG has been a leader in reducing pollution from our power plants but that will not be enough,” said Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO of PSEG. “It is important that we also make efforts to reduce emission from transportation – be it from electrifying our ports or increasing the use of electric cars. I am proud that our employees – as is so often the case – are leading the way.”

Solar Electric Motorcyle Takes A Win

During the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb held each year in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Lightning Motorcycles finished first in the Exhibition Powersports division, outperforming all its competitors, including those motorcycles running on gas. In addition, the Lightning SuperBike was powered by solar energy.

gI_75157_2013 Pikes Peak Race Lightning MotorcyclesThe solar-powered Lightning SuperBike—under rider Carlin Dunne was the top qualifier on June 28 and posted a time just over 10 minutes (10:00.694). The challenging 12.42-mile, fully-paved course includes 156 turns ending at the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak.

“We are incredibly gratified with the performance by Carlin,” said Richard Hatfield, founder and CEO of Lightning Motorcycles. “The Lightning team worked around the clock to ensure that we provided the best possible bike for the race. We set this as a goal more than four years ago after our first North American road-racing event. Sunday, we achieved our goal. This accomplishment is a big step forward for Lightning, and we believe this is a giant leap forward for public acceptance of clean, renewable energy-based transportation.”

The Lightning SuperBike was powered with solar energy provided by SMA America, which manufactures solar inverters. This energy, channeled through a mobile charging station, fueled the motorcycle’s onboard battery pack, providing the vehicle with enough power to win the race and beat the previous electric motorcycle record.

“The merger of solar power and electric vehicles is exciting to witness and we are thrilled with the success of the impressive SuperBike,” said Henry Dziuba, president and general manager of SMA America. “The win at Pikes Peak shows that superior, world-class performance can be achieved today with clean technologies.”

Last year, the Lightning SuperBike set land speed records for electric motorcycles at El Mirage Lake bed in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino, Calif. and at the Bonneville Speedway near Wendover, Utah.

MiEV Evolution II Races to Place

The 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) took place recently and the new MiEV Evolution II race car took second and third in class in the electric vehicle (EV) division. The EV was developed by Mitsubishi Motors North American and was driven by two-time Daka Rally winner Hiroshi Masuoka and six-time PPIHC motorcycle champion Greg Tracy.

The race, held on June 30th, commenced in the morning under a calm, clear blue sky; however these ideal weather conditions took a turn for the worse and a downpour of rain hit the track just before the pair of MiEV Evolution II race cars began their runs at the time trial event.

MITSUBISHI MOTOR SALES OF AMERICA, INC. 2013 PIKES PEAK INT. HILL CLIMBBoth Tracy and Masuoka raced in extremely difficult wet conditions, along with limited visibility in the higher sections of the race course, resulting in Masuoka recording a time of 10 minutes, 21.866 seconds, with Tracy following closely behind at 10 minutes, 23.649 seconds. Despite the challenging conditions, the pair broke last year’s second place time in the EV Division of 10 minutes, 30.850, achieved in 2012 by Masuoka piloting the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution on a dry road in optimal conditions.

Finishing in second-place in the Electric Division for a second year in a row, team captain and driver Masuoka commented on the race, “Just before the start, since the road became completely wet, we had to swap the tires from slicks to grooved. Even with the grooved tires, the pavement was really wet and the car was sliding around quite a bit. It really was treacherous conditions to drive in, but both cars were able to make it to the top safely. Since we were aiming for the win, the result is quite disappointing. While due to this rain, it is easy to blame the result on our luck, we must also realize our weakness and continue to make improvements for the future.”

A completely all-new design from the ground up, the MiEV Evolution II features a unique quad-motor (two front/two rear) drivetrain, next-generation lithium-ion batteries by Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ), an optimized all-electric version of Mitsubishi’s exceptionally capable Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system and wind tunnel-derived, aerodynamically-enhanced carbon-fiber bodywork.

Which is Faster – EV Battery Switch or Gas Fill Up?

Here is something fun for a Friday.

A Model S battery pack switch that takes less time than filling your tank with gas or biofuels such as ethanol or biodiesel. The Model S is manufactured by Tesla and is an all electric vehicle. The EV design is focused on performance – driving this car is like driving a sports car.

  • 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds
  • Top Speed 125 miles per hour
  • O tailpipe emissions
  • With an 85 kWh battery, estimated driving miles at 55 miles per hour is 300 miles before charging or swapping out the battery

Here’s out it works. When you go to a Tesla station, you can choose the supercharge option or you can choose the swap the battery option. So the big questions – do you prefer faster or free? Watch below.

Vestar Helps Consumers Plug In

Vestar recently placed electric charging stations at their entertainment and retail lifestyle center, Tempe Marketplace, in Tempe Arizona. Via a partnership with ECOtality, eight Blink charging systems, including handicapped accessible units, have been placed on both the north and south side of the center.

EV Charging Photo 1“This sustainable infrastructure enables our customers the ability to charge their electric vehicles while they are enjoying the many offerings at Tempe Marketplace, including our stores, restaurants, movie theatre and other entertainment options,” said Pat McGinley, Vestar’s Vice President of Property Management.

The Blink Network of charging stations provides EV drivers the freedom to travel as they choose and conveniently charge at Blink commercial locations along the way, including Tempe Marketplace. ECOtality is the project manager of The EV Project, a research initiative to help build America’s future EV infrastructure. The project will study EV infrastructure to support the deployment of EVs in key markets, by collecting and analyzing data from vehicles and chargers.

“Our goal has always been to provide a network of chargers that are conveniently placed where consumers work, shop and play,” added Greg Fioriti, Chief Revenue Officer, ECOtality Inc. “Situated in a highly-visible and accessible area, Tempe Marketplace is an ideal location for Blink EV charging stations.”

My Hybrid Rocks!

Joannas C-Max HybridI broke down a few weeks ago and bought a new car. After test driving and researching all the options out there, I landed on the new Ford C-Max Hybrid. The estimated miles per gallon is 47 both highway and in town and I was getting such great gas mileage that after the first two weeks I thought maybe the gas gauge was broken (it was not). I opted to forgo the “plug-in” option because, frankly, I have no where to plug in (hint for more mid-sized cities to start adopting charging stations). Oh, and I liked driving the C-Max better than the Volt and the Prius and my hybrid beat out the Prius in all the biggie car publications.

I was going to call Brad Harrison with Charles Gabus Ford who spent hours having to listen to me talk about the pros and cons of all sorts of vehicles (flex-fuel, electric vehicles, fuel cell, etc.) but I thought he might not realize I was joking. Although he was a great sport Charles Gabus Ford Teamabout selling a car to someone who writes about alternative vehicles (and drives them) every day. Thanks Brad.

The car is fun to drive, has great get up and go, is quiet, so quiet in fact when you are idling you think you’ve stalled, and is approved for the use of E15, 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline, which I will begin using once it makes its way to my hometown. It’s sporty and I’ve found that when I park places (especially at the gas station) people ask me how I like my car. My answer: My hybrid rocks! (see below for confirmation).

I took my hybrid on its first road trip to the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in St. Louis, Missouri MyHybridRocksand when I finally filled her up, had 500 miles for the tank. Take that big oil! I see why they are constantly attacking the biofuels industry – with better fuel economy, more fuel choices at the pump mixed with hybrids and all electric vehicles, they are going to have to strategize about how to diversify their companies in the new green age. Or how about this – the renewable energy companies could take their place and some day we’ll be telling our kids about the days when Big Oil was king. Bye-bye- king, the queen is taking the throne.

But I digress as I often do when I’m excited. So now that I am a hybrid owner, I feel I’m entitled to tell Ford (and the other autos) how to make my car just a bit better. Please make your next hybrid E85 compatible (85 percent ethanol/15 percent gasoline). Then we’d really be driving!

Smart Energy Pilot Lanched in Netherlands

A smart energy pilot project is launching in Groningen and Hoogkerk, Netherlands that will allow consumers to test innovative, smart energy services related to sustainable energy choices and cost savings. Six Dutch companies along with three knowledge institutes and 40 households will participate in the project designed to ascertain which smart energy services best meet the consumer’s requirements. The goal is to give guidance on how to  Minister Kempimplement a sustainable and cost effective energy supply. This is the first time that consumers are involved in such research.

The trial forms part of PowerMatching City’s second phase. PowerMatching City is the world’s first live, total-concept smart grid. These linked, intelligent (digitally) controlled energy grids are essential for achieving a proper match between energy demand and supply. Economic Affairs Minister Kamp initiated the second phase during a festive meeting with the participants from the City of Groningen’s Thomsonstreet.

“I am delighted that today we are taking a new important step towards the energy system and the energy consumer of the future together with households, companies and knowledge institutes,” said Albert van den Noort, PowerMatching City II’s Project Manager. “Changes are often achieved through means of open innovation in which players from different backgrounds and disciplines work together. PowerMatching City is a good example of this.” Continue reading

Volvo Debuts Noiseless Electric Buses

The launch of an ultramodern bus service in Gothenburg, Sweden will pick up passengers indoors, without noise or emissions via electric buses. The initiative is sponsored by the Volvo Group, Swedish Energy Agency, the City of Gothenburg, Västtrafik, Lindholment Science Park and Johanneberg Science Park. The project has been coined, ElectriCity.

“This represents an entirely new mode of travel and will allow for the public-transport system to contribute to a more pleasant urban environment,” said Olof Persson, president ElectriCityand CEO of Volvo. “A silent and emissions-free public-transport system will enable the inclusion of locations in the city that are currently off limits. It is immensely satisfying to be able to launch this in our hometown, in cooperation with Region Västra Götaland and the City of Gothenburg.”

The use of electric power not only places Gothenburg on the map in terms of sustainable and innovative solutions for public transport; the new bus service will also open up new possibilities in city and urban planning. Commencing in 2015, the electric buses are to run between Johanneberg Science Park adjacent to Chalmers and Lindholmen Science Park in Hisingen.

Anneli Hulthén, Chairman of the Municipal Board added, “The electric bus service entails a new mode of public-transport system usage, which is highly positive for Gothenburg. It will highlight Gothenburg as a progressive city in terms of city planning. This is also in line with our prioritized objective of having Gothenburg reduce its climate impact to become a climate-neutral city, and increasing sustainable travel.”

In addition to the electric buses, the cooperation also includes the creation and trial runs of new bus-stop solutions, traffic-routing systems, safety concepts, energy supply and business models.