Saturday, April 15, 2017

Porsche 910 Converted to Electric

A Porsche 910 from the 1971 film Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen, has been converted to electric by a partnership between EVEX Fahrzeugbau and Kreisel.



It has double the power of the original Porsche 910, but is street legal (which the original one was not). More of these 910s will be converted, but Porsche manufactured only 35 of them, so the supply will be very limited.

The 1971 movie is available on DVD from Netflix or streaming from Amazon.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Los Angeles County MTA To Replace 1000 Diesel Buses

In May, the board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will vote on a decision to replace 1,000 aging diesel buses with a combination of new compressed-natural gas models fueled by renewable natural gas and electric buses. 800 new buses will be fueled by renewable natural gas. The other 200 will be electric as a test program for future electrification.
The fact is, a predominant percentage of the geologic natural gas fueling transportation fleets in California has been replaced by renewable natural gas — produced from the decomposition of organic materials that is captured (avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and short-lived climate pollution) and conditioned to meet transportation fuel specifications.

Unlike geologic natural gas, renewable natural gas is not produced from hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Renewable natural gas is produced entirely from the methane emitted as organic materials decompose in renewable waste streams. It can then be injected into the existing common carrier pipelines and deployed through natural gas fueling stations, displacing CNG or LNG in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like Metro's buses.

Monday, April 3, 2017

"How Volkswagen Is Shaping America's Energy Future"

T. Boone Pickens' suggestion for how to invest the fines paid by Volkswagen.
Volkswagen, the storied German automaker, pleaded guilty last week to three felony counts as part of a $4.3 billion settlement reached with the Justice Department in January over the automaker’s massive diesel emissions scandal.

There’s a great deal of irony in this, and a great opportunity for America’s energy security. Here’s why.

Back when President Obama rolled into the White House for the first time, I was in the midst of an aggressive campaign to address the stranglehold placed on our national security and our economy by addiction to OPEC oil.

The crux of that plan was to expand renewables (wind and solar) in power generation, and replace dirtier-burning and more expensive OPEC oil with our abundant supplies of cleaner-burning domestic natural gas in the transportation sector. The overarching goal was to break the stranglehold OPEC had on our economic and national security.

Washington lawmakers refused to foot the bill for America to go down that path. Now, in an ironic twist of fate, with the VW transgression, we have the Germans poised to finance it for us. And we’re fools if we don’t take advantage of this opportunity.
In 2015, the German automaker, Volkswagen, was found to have installed software on its diesel-powered vehicles that provided false emissions data — data that understated the emissions their vehicles were actually producing.

I’ve always been skeptical that diesel can ever burn as clean as alternatives such as electric cars or heavy-duty trucks fueled by natural gas. The lifecycle costs to produce diesel — from production to refining and out of the tailpipe — are just too great. Going to such lengths to falsify emission data just reinforces my skepticism, and my anger.

Since getting caught, the company has agreed to pay fines of $16 billion to settle claims for cheating. These fines will be paid to the U.S. government and shared among the states. In addition, owners of VW vehicles and the dealers who sold them will share in the proceeds.

We’re not talking chump change here. Texas alone, where I live, is set to get $191 million.

This flap once again underscores the need to get diesel vehicles off the road when and where we can, both for air quality purposes and to reduce our dependence on OPEC oil. One of the most toxic emissions produced by diesel engines is Nitrogen Oxide (NOx). It is generated by all internal combustion engines, but a new natural gas engine developed by Cummins-Westport produced 90 percent less NOx emissions than new diesel-powered trucks. That engine is available today.

State regulators ultimately tasked with spending the VW settlement should have some guidance from those with history, experience and knowledge — including industry, independent experts and environmental authorities.

First, a majority of the funds should be used for vehicles which already perform below current federal NOx limits, such as the Cummins Wesport engine mentioned above.

Second, all vehicles performing below federal NOx limits should be treated equally. States should look to decrease the number of diesel-powered vehicles on the road — especially heavy-duty trucks — and replace them with trucks powered by natural gas.

Why not go right to batteries? Because batteries will not move an 18-wheeler, and they cost at least five times more than comparable diesel-powered trucks. So, while electric cars are all the rage, batteries are not a substitute fuel source for over-the-road trucks.

Finally, while there will be justifiable efforts to use these funds on state fleets, it is even more important to find ways to allow private-sector fleets access to these funds. In fact, that’s where the bulk of the money should go.

Keeping in mind this settlement money is coming from a corporation and not the taxpayers, there will be no shortage of ideas from state regulators on how to spend these funds. States should show leadership by not using it solely to upgrade state fleet vehicles.

The reason is simple. If states use this money to replace aging fleets, this will be a “one-and-done” deal. On the other hand, if the money is used to provide incentives for the public and private sectors to purchase new, natural gas-powered vehicles, the positive effects on reducing NOx emissions will be magnified many times over the years.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Question of the Month: What factors do employers need to consider when establishing a workplace charging program?

Answer:
While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for workplace charging, there are a number of resources available to help employers design, implement, and manage the right program for their organization.

Assess Demand
Employers considering whether workplace charging is right for their organization will want to start by assessing employee demand with an employee survey. Once this assessment is complete, employers may set goals for meeting workplace charging demand, either by planning to meet the entire need (i.e., all drivers that have expressed or will express interest in PEV charging) or by dedicating a percentage of parking spaces to PEV charging. For example, Google has a goal to dedicate 5% of all parking spaces to workplace charging.

Procure and Install
Employers should determine what types of charging stations to purchase. There are a few decisions to make, including the following:

  • Charging Level: There are benefits and drawbacks to both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations in the workplace. Employers must evaluate which option is best for their facilities. For more information about the differences between charging levels and their merits for workplace charging, see the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Workplace Charging Station Basics page.
  • Networking: Charging station networks provide maintenance, customer service, and energy monitoring capabilities, and collect payment on behalf of the station owner. However, networks require a fee, and employers will need to consider whether the convenience of charging networks outweighs the financial cost. For more information, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Level 2 page.

Employers should also be sure to get quotes from a number of charging station providers. For more guidance, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Sample Request for Proposal document. Employers will work with their electrical contractor to determine charging station placement; station installation can be an expensive process, but employers can minimize costs by siting stations in locations that require minimal trenching, boring, and electrical panel upgrades. For more information about siting and installation, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Equipment and Installation Costs page.

Manage
A well-managed, well-planned workplace charging program can ensure station access to all employees, promote strong communication between employers and station users, and encourage responsible station use.
  • Registration and Liability: Many employers require employees to register their PEV, which allows the employer to identify the number of vehicles using their charging stations. For example, employers can give registered vehicles a mirror hangtag or window sticker that identifies the vehicle as having permission to use the charging stations. A registration form may also include language that requires vehicle owners to agree not to hold the employer responsible for any damage to the vehicle that occurs while it is parked at the charging station. For more information, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Registration and Liability page.
  • Station Sharing: It is important to emphasize that workplace charging is a privilege, not a right. Employees may be obligated to share stations with their colleagues and comply with established charging time limits. While an employer can set up systems for sharing stations, such as reserving the station (similar to how an employee would reserve a conference room) or establishing a set schedule for use, most employers allow users to resolve station-sharing conflicts themselves. However, it is important to establish consequences for violating station policies, such as using a station for less than four hours. By framing workplace charging as a privilege, an employer reserves the right to restrict access for employees that routinely violate company policy. For more information about how to establish workplace charging policies and encourage station sharing, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Station Sharing page.
  • Pricing: While most employers offer workplace charging for free, charging for station use can be a good way to manage demand. Employers may charge for electricity (e.g., per kilowatt hour) or for time (e.g., per hour), depending on preference and applicable regulations. Employers can motivate employees to move their vehicles and share the stations by charging a nominal fee (or no fee) for the first set number of hours (e.g., four hours) and then raise the fee for subsequent time that the vehicle is parked in the space. For more information, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Pricing page.

For more resources about workplace charging, see the DOE's Workplace Charging website, explore the Clean Cities' Workplace Charging Toolkit, or contact the TRS at technicalresponse@icf.com.


Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icf.com
800-254-6735

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What are state and local governments doing to incentivize alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles?

Question of the Month: What are state and local governments doing to incentivize alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)?

Answer:
There are many notable incentive activities at the state and local levels. Many states offer incentives for alternative fuels that advance specific environmental and energy security goals, while cities provide even more localized support.

States are targeting vehicles, infrastructure, and other means to encourage AFV adoption. Below are various types of incentives, as well as hyperlinked examples of each:
  • AFV Purchase Incentives: States offer grants, rebates, and tax credits for the purchase of AFVs. While some states may focus vehicle incentives on a particular fuel type, such as electric vehicles, others are more general in their support. States provide AFV purchase incentives to consumers, commercial fleets, and public fleets, such as schools and government agencies. Different incentive mechanisms tend to be more appropriate for different categories of vehicle purchasers; for example, grants are often limited to certain types of entities. Public fleets may not be liable for taxes, so they usually benefit more from grants than from tax credits. Private fleets can benefit from grants, rebates, and tax credits.
  • Fueling Infrastructure Purchase and Installation Incentives: Similar to AFV incentives, states provide grants, rebates, and tax credits for alternative fueling infrastructure. States usually create incentives for the physical fueling infrastructure, but many programs also support installation costs. Some states also offer a tax credit or tax reduction for the production or purchase of alternative fuel itself. Fueling infrastructure incentives may stipulate that the fueling or charging station must be available to the public, which helps to increase the availability of alternative fuels to a broader range of entities.
  • Other Incentives: In addition to financial support for the purchase of AFVs, states may give special benefits to AFV drivers. For example, some states allow high-occupancy vehicle lane access to AFVs, while others provide reduced registration fees, weight restriction exemptions, and emissions inspections exemptions.

Municipalities are also playing a role in supporting AFV deployment. Cities and counties incentivize AFVs in a number of ways, including by offering free or discounted parking, expediting permitting processes, and providing vehicle and infrastructure grants. For example, New Haven, CT, provides free parking on city streets for AFVs, while Los Angeles, CA, offers instant, online residential electric vehicle supply equipment permitting approval. The Alternative Fuels Data Center's (AFDC) Local Laws and Incentives page provides more information on these and a greater array of other local options; while the page regarding local laws and incentives is not meant to be comprehensive, it provides users an idea of the different municipal programs and policies that exist. If you are aware of an innovative way that municipalities are supporting alternative fuels and vehicle acquisition, please contact the Clean Cities Technical Response Service at technicalresponse@icf.com to share the details.

For more information about state and local alternative fuel incentives, see the AFDC Laws and Incentives page.

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icf.com
800-254-6735

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ultra-Low Nox Natural Gas Vehicle Evaluation by UC Riverside

A report released by the University of California Riverside’s College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), found that new ultra-low NOx natural gas heavy-duty vehicles met and were cleaner than their
certification standards during a full range of duty cycles. This finding is in stark contrast to previously released CE-CERT data of
heavy-duty diesel trucks that emitted higher levels of NOx than their certification standards in the same duty cycles. With the
near-zero emission factors demonstrated for natural gas vehicles, it is expected that these vehicles could play an important
role in providing much needed emissions reductions required for the South Coast Air Basin and California to reach federal
air quality attainment standards.

Here is the report itself.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pickens' Advice For President Trump

There are two parts to his advice: 1. Don't screw up what we have going for us; and 2. Don't settle for what we've done so far.

He expands on "Don't Screw Up" with four points:
  1. Clarity in who makes energy decisions.
  2. Promote hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
  3. Work with industry, not against it.
  4. Meet our own energy needs before worrying about other countries.

And five points for "Don't Settle."
  1. Work with our allies Mexico and Canada to establish a North American Energy Alliance.
  2. Modernize government fleets.
  3. Build the electrical grid of the future.
  4. Continue to research and develop new sources of energy.
  5. Remember: Energy is not a free market.