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Monthly Archives: July 2014

EV Advocates Eye Infrastructure Costs

July 30, 2014 in EVs, Infrastructure, Plug-In 2014 by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Fleet Operators Finding that Chargers Can Be Expensive
As Employers Find that Chargers Spur Employee Purchase

The significant costs of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the advantages of offering workplace charging were among the topics discussed Monday at a special Fleet Implementation of Plug-In Electric Vehicles seminar prior to the Plug-In 2014 conference in San Jose, Calif.

Workplace charging was a topic of discussion at Plug-In 2014 in San Jose.

Workplace charging was a topic of discussion at Plug-In 2014 in San Jose.

EV fleet operators are finding that the cost of charging infrastructure can be surprisingly high. At the same time, manufacturers of EVs are stepping up their involvement in infrastructure development, in part because when charging is made easier, EVs with their merits of low maintenance and low noise because intrinsically more attractive.

‘Not Inexpensive’

“We have done a terrible job” warning prospective EV operators of the expense of EV charging infrastructure, said Enid Joffe, president of Clean Fuel Connection. “It’s not inexpensive,” she said. “We need to do a better job.”

Pacific Gas & Electric, an aggressive user of electrified vehicles, has spent some $3 million on charging infrastructure, said transportation services fleet engineer Efrain Ornales. “For us it’s been a big surprise in terms of what the cost is,” he said. “You have to worry about the infrastructure.”

The availability of workplace charging can help induce employees to buy EVs, but employers face complex decisions as to what sort of equipment to install, and whether to charge their workers to use it.

Keep It Close

Level II charging appears to be the best bet for employers, and charging employees a modest fee to use the equipment helps keep it available, Plug-In 2014 seminar participants said.

“Want more station availability? Charge for its use,” said Dave Packard, senior director for utility business at ChargePoint. Even a very modest charge will prevent hogging of charge spaces for employees who don’t need to charge at work, or who don’t need to charge all day, he said.

PG&E has been a pioneering user of partially and even fully electrified work vehicles.

PG&E has been a pioneering user of partially and even fully electrified work vehicles.

Another obvious answer is faster charging, and while Level II chargers cost more than basic Level I equipment, installation costs are similar, so the bottom line is not so different. Minimizing the distance between a facility’s electrical room and a planned charging station will reduce costs substantially, said Clean Fuel Connection’s Joffe: “Distance equals money,” she said in San Jose.

Joffe cited instances of EV charging installations costing tens of thousands of dollars – dwarfing the costs of the equipment itself – but also noted that new ways of paying for EV charging infrastructure are emerging, such as third party providers offering charging as a service rather than an equipment purchase, and leasing possibilities.

‘Big Wires’ Are Better

“Installation costs are going nowhere but up,” agreed Packard, as the cost of the chargers themselves is coming down.

He termed Level I charging “a gateway drug,” and advised operators who opt for it to “use big wires” because they are likely to graduate to Level II.

“Opting for a higher charge rate is always best if you can do it,” said Rolf Schreiber, technical program manager for electric transportation at Google. “Give serious consideration to DC fast-charging,” he said. Google has more than 100 EVs of different stripes for employee use, providing the vehicles on a car-share basis for employees’ daytime errands, for car-pool commuting, and for emergency rides home.

Google has a tie-in with BMW’s DriveNow program for airport transportation, and is setting up a battery electric commuter shuttle bus program with the city of Mountain View. The company is experimenting with wireless charging using an Evatran unit and a specially modified Nissan Leaf, and has installed hundreds of chargers for employees who have their own plug-in cars.

Educate!

Training, Schreiber said, is key, as are features like cord retraction devices on chargers. Experience has shown, he said, that “Nobody will ever hang up a charging cord on a hanger.” Signs in the cars to remind employees to plug-in, and celebratory events to make sure employees understand that the zero emission resource is available are all helpful, Schreiber said. EV telematics aimed at fleets rather than individual EV drivers are a key need, he said.

America's first Nissan Leaf was delivered in San Francisco in December 2010. Well above 50,000 have now been placed with customers, and fleets are a growing target.

America’s first Nissan Leaf was delivered in San Francisco in December 2010. Well above 50,000 have now been placed with customers, and fleets are a growing target.

“Lower maintenance, repair and insurance costs are why an EV makes sense in a fleet application,” said Brendan Jones, EV sales operations and infrastructure deployment director at Nissan North America.

Jones described experiences with the 100% battery electric Nissan Leaf with fleets including the City of Seattle (43 vehicles), Houston (27), British Columbia (nine) and the New York City Department of Sanitation, which according to Jones ordered 40 vehicles inadvertently with optional DC fast charging via a dealer misunderstanding – but came to appreciate the feature.

Fleets Need to Be Told

“The fleet challenge,” Jones said, “is a lack of EV awareness.” Nissan is selling something on the order of 3,000 Leaf cars per month, Jones says, which is better than 11 other Nissan models.

Nissan was a gold sponsor of this week’s Plug-In 2014 conference in San Jose, as were the Bay Area and South Coast Air Quality Management Districts. PG&E was the platinum sponsor of the event.


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Source: Fleets & Fuels at Plug-in 2014 in San Jose, Calif.

 

Amp Trillium for Amarillo Public CNG

July 30, 2014 in CNG, Infrastructure, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Second to Open of Seven Public Stations as Part of Dairy Farmers Deal

Amp Trillium is announcing today the opening of the first public access compressed natural gas fueling station in Amarillo, Texas. It’s the second of seven public fueling stations being built under an agreement with Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers.
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EPRI, OEMs, Utilities Connect on EV Grid

July 29, 2014 in Electric Drive, EVs, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Smart Grid for Utilities to Support PEV Charging Anywhere:
Large Organizations Are Getting Serious About V2G Technology

The Electric Power Research Institute is collaborating with eight automakers and 15 utilities on an “open platform” to integrate PEVs – plug-in electric vehicles – with smart grid technologies, “enabling utilities to support PEV charging regardless of location.”

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Freightliner Adding ISX12 G for Its 114SD

July 29, 2014 in CNG, New Products, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Cummins Westport’s 11.9-Liter Engine to Be Available for 2015

Freightliner Trucks said Tuesday that the 11.9-liter ISX12 G natural gas engine by Cummins Westport will be available as a factory-installed option for the Freightliner 114SD severe duty truck model in 2015.
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Gain CNG to Power Delco Foods Trucks

July 29, 2014 in CNG, Infrastructure, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Gain Clean Fuel to Build a Fueling Station in Indianapolis

U.S. Oil’s Gain Clean Fuel unit is to build a Gain CNG station to support compressed natural gas trucks operated by Delco Foods, an Italian and specialty food distribution outfit in Indianapolis.
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More Love’s CNG Fuel for Oklahoma

July 29, 2014 in CNG, Infrastructure, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Travel Stops in Ardmore and Webbers Falls to Get Fast-Fill CNG

Love’s Travel Stops continues to expand in compressed natural gas, reporting Tuesday that it’s planning fast-fill CNG outlets for heavy duty trucks at existing travel stops in Ardmore and Webbers Falls, Okla.
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ITS Davis Launches EV Explorer Site

July 29, 2014 in Electric Drive, EVs, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Is an EV Worth the Up-Front Cost? New Tool Helps Find the Answers

A new web-based tool dubbed EV Explorer can help take the uncertainty out of buying a plug-in electric vehicle, says its developer, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis.
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CD-adapco Eases Battery Pack Design

July 29, 2014 in Electric Drive, EVs, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Advanced Lithium-Ion Battery Simulation Tools Available

Detroit-based CD-adapco is promoting methodology making it easier to design lithium ion battery packs, thereby “enabling faster design and development of advanced electric drive vehicle power systems.”
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Polaris Unveils GEM Line-Up for 2015

July 29, 2014 in EVs, New Products by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

New eM1400 LSV Has 1,250-Pound Payload Capability

Polaris Industries is promoting an expanded line-up of battery electric GEM low speed vehicles (aka NEVs, for neighborhood electric vehicles) for 2015. New for next year is the street-legal GEM eM 1400 LSV, which has a payload or towing capability of 1,250 pounds.
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$24.9 Million More from California

July 27, 2014 in Alternative Fuels, Electric Drive, Hydrogen, money available, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

CEC Seeks Input on New Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicle Solicitation

CEC-logoThe California Energy Commission is preparing a new solicitation to fund medium and heavy duty advanced vehicle technology demonstrations. Total available funding for the ARFVTP-MD/HD (Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program –  Medium Duty/Heavy Duty) effort is just shy of $24.9 million.

CEC seeks to facilitate the development and commercialization of MHD vehicles for goods movement and freight transport. Pathways include natural gas vehicles, electric drive vehicles including hydrogen fuel cell power, and hybrid/range-extender combinations.

California Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program funding 2009-2014.

California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program funding 2009-2014.

The agency is planning for a competitive process, with applicants willing to put up matching funds, and maximum awards of $4 million.

CEC will take suggestions for the new solicitation, including how best match infrastructure requirements with the deployment of new technology vehicles, until this Thursday, July 31.


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Source: California Energy Commission with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

Mainstay CNG Arrays Via Fontaine

July 25, 2014 in CNG, Companies, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Both Back-of-Cab and Rail-Mount Assemblies on Class 8 Trucks

South Carolina’s Mainstay Fuel Technologies says that Fontaine Modification will provide a turnkey process for the delivery and installation of Mainstay’s compressed natural gas fuel systems on Class 8 over-the-road tractors.
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BioCNG by Digester for Grand Junction

July 25, 2014 in Biofuels, Biomethane, CNG, Infrastructure, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Renewable Fuel for Refuse Trucks, Street Sweepers, Pickups

BioCNG will supply fuel derived from wastewater for natural gas vehicles in the area of Grand Junction, Colo. The Madison, Wisc.-based firm is to design and build a biogas conditioning system and gas pipeline for the Persigo wastewater treatment plant jointly owned by the City of Grand Junction and Mesa County.
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EEI’s Utility Fleet Electrification Plan

July 23, 2014 in Electric Drive, EVs, Publications by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Association Wants Members to Spend 5% of Their Fleet Money on EVs

The Washington, D.C. based Edison Electric Institute is urging its utility members to walk the walk and step up the deployment of electric vehicles in their own fleets – EEI has issued a 74-page white paper that “encourages investor-owned electric utilities to meet an industry-wide goal to spend at least 5% of annual fleet acquisition budgets on plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and technologies.” updated August 1

'Now is the time to start electrifying our fleets,' says EEI – 'We must continue to strengthen our efforts and lead by example.'

‘Now is the time to start electrifying our fleets,’ says EEI – ‘We must continue to strengthen our efforts and lead by example.’

“We must continue to strengthen our efforts and lead by example,” EEI president Tom Kuhn says in the white paper announcement. “One way we can do that is by leveraging our industry’s buying power to purchase more PEVs for our fleets.”

“The white paper released today is a road map for a long-term, coordinated effort to further spur the development of electric vehicle technologies in the electric transportation market,” Kuhn said.

‘Good Business Sense’

An EEI Electric Transportation Task Force, chaired by Pacific Gas & Electric president and CEO Tony Earley and Portland General Electric president and CEO Jim Piro, is to “champion the issue of electrification by increasing the awareness, opportunities, and activities related to electrification within the utility industry; collaborating with automakers and other stakeholders; and educating the public at large about the benefits of electric vehicles and technologies.”

“Plug-in cars and trucks can make good business sense whether you’re a utility or any other business that operates a fleet of vehicles,” Piro says in the EEI announcement. “At PGE, we’ve been working hard to support electric vehicle policy and infrastructure in Oregon, but we’ve also done the internal analysis and piloting needed to confirm it’s time to build fleet electrification into our own budget. We encourage other utilities to do the same.”

‘Rolling Billboards and Engagement Tools’

“Expanding the use of plug-in technologies is one of the most important opportunities we have as a country to continue diversifying our energy usage and achieve our clean energy goals,” said PG&E’s Earley. “Electrifying our fleets is about showing consumers that plug-in technology is thriving and delivers real benefits that make sense for us and our customers.”

“The utility fleet is the point of the spear,” states the EEI white paper, titled Transportation Electrification: Utility Fleets Leading the Charge.

“Now is the time to start electrifying our fleets,” it states, describing utility fleet vehicles as “rolling billboards and engagement tools.”


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Source: Edison Electric Institute with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

$60 Million from CEC for H2, EVs, NGVs

July 23, 2014 in Alternative Fuels, Electric Drive, Hydrogen, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

California Wants 1.5 Million H2, All-Electric and Plug-Ins by 2025

The California Energy Commission has approved nearly a score of hydrogen fueling, battery electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle projects totaling nearly $50 million. Some $8.1 million has been allocated for EV placements too, as well as $4.3 million for natural gas vehicles.
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CGI for V2G-Capable All-Battery Buses

July 23, 2014 in Electric Drive, EVs, Studies, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

TransPower Is to Build Six Demo Vehicles as Part of CEC-Backed
Clinton Global Initiative-America and National Strategies Program

The California Energy Commission is supporting a project led by Washington, D.C.-based National Strategies to build six battery electric school buses with vehicle-to-grid capability, and deploy them with three California school districts. The V2G-capable buses will be built by San Diego-based heavy duty electric drive specialist TransPower.

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DGE Fails to Get NCWM Approval

July 22, 2014 in CNG, LNG, NGVs, Regulations by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

GGE Remains in Place But Issue Effectively Dead Until Next Year

Backers of an officially sanctioned diesel gallon equivalent to govern the sale of natural gas for heavy vehicles failed to get the votes they needed at last week’s National Conference on Weights and Measures meeting in Detroit, according to NGVAmerica.

“The measure was not adopted,” states the association report. The gasoline gallon equivalent that has been in effect since 1994 – and had been somewhat threatened by advocates of a pure metric-mass-basis for selling natural gas as a transportation fuel – remains in place.

‘In the absence of a standard,’ notes NGVAmerica, ‘LNG fuel retailers have been selling in DGE units.’ Scott Sporleder photo courtesy Clean Energy Fuels.

‘In the absence of a standard,’ notes NGVAmerica, ‘LNG fuel retailers have been selling in DGE units.’ Scott Sporleder photo courtesy Clean Energy Fuels.

“The debate in committees and in the open session was very spirited,” NGVAmerica says in its summary of the Detroit NCWM meeting. “A number of state officials spoke up in favor of the DGE proposal and our industry was well represented.”

‘A Common Sense Unit,’ Says ATA

The American Trucking Associations told members after the vote that the GGE has worked well since its 1994 inception, and that “adopting a DGE standard would allow for the ready comparison of CNG and LNG with diesel fuel and provide a common-sense unit of sale for fuel retailers and users.

“In addition,” ATA said, “the DGE standard would provide a benchmark for states in their taxation, accounting, and recordkeeping requirements.”

“We are disappointed but will continue to work on it,” said Trillium CNG VP Bill Zobel.

“We will vigorously continue to pursue the creation of an official DGE standard,” said Todd Campbell, public policy and regulatory affairs VP with Clean Energy Fuels.

A Complicated Process

NGVAmerica, which has developed a developed a keen understanding of the byzantine processes by which NCWM enacts new measures, warns, “Despite the efforts of industry and state regulators who supported our proposal, there continues to be a strong faction within NCWM that opposes the DGE approach and that also would like to see the gasoline gallon equivalent standard rolled back.”

The natural gas vehicles industry wants to allow buyers to make this easy comparson for diesel too.

The natural gas vehicles industry wants to allow buyers to make this easy comparson for diesel too.

As the situation stands, “CNG station operators can continue selling it in GGE units but will not have the option of selling CNG in DGE to truckers as had been proposed,” the association says. “NCWM needs to develop a standard for LNG since there currently is no recognized standard for dispensing LNG. In the absence of a standard, LNG fuel retailers have been selling in DGE units.

“NGVAmerica will continue to work with its members and other trade allies to determine the best strategy for seeking adoption of the DGE standard.”

“Next year, NCWM will have to decide,” NGVAmerica says. But the organization concedes that NCWM could take up the matter purely as an informational item, or “drop the issue altogether.”


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Source: NGVAmerica with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

Blossman Propane Kits for Kawasaki

July 22, 2014 in Propane by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Enerkit Products Are U.S. EPA Certified for Commercial Mowers

Propane proponent and purveyor has entered the commercial mower market with a raft of U.S. EPA-certified Enerkit brand conversion products for 603cc to 852cc engines covering model years 2008 through 2014.
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