DOE Releases 2015 Revolution…Now Report

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released the 2015 Revolution…Now report, which details the state of multiple clean energy technologies in the U.S. that have the ability to provide climate change solutions. The report builds upon past versions that demonstrate an increase in deployment and a decrease in cost for transformational technologies including: wind turbines, solar technologies, electric vehicles (EVs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

revolution-now-infographic“We are experiencing a clean energy revolution in the United States, and this report confirms it,” Secretary Moniz said. “Today, clean energy technologies are providing real-world solutions – not only to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, but they also drive a domestic, low-carbon economy with technologies that are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional technologies. We have the tools for a cleaner and more secure energy future.”

The 2015 update finds that dramatic cost reductions are continuing to drive the adoption of clean energy technologies. The report reviews the rapid growth of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules for both large, utility-scale PV plants, and smaller, rooftop and distributed PV systems. DOE continues to invest in research and development for these technologies in addition to reducing market barriers in order to make these clean energy technologies even more cost-effective and widely available across the United States.

Between 2008 and 2014, land-based wind accounted for 31 percent of all new generation capacity installed in the U.S. The DOE says this is in part due to early investments from DOE that helped drive technology innovation.

Survey Says Consumers Consider Buying EVs

According to a new survey, 54 percent of Americans have a positive view of electric vehicles (EVs) while 31 percent say they will consider buying an EV for their next car purchase. This despite only one percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. today are EVs. The survey was released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

EV_Figure3“While the current market penetration of EVs is small, there are currently 12 automakers currently offering a wide variety of EVs, so these consumers already have choices,” said Jack Gillis, CFA’s Director of Public Affairs and author, The Car Book and the new Snapshot Guide to Electric Vehicles.

The survey also found that the more information a consumer knew about EVs, the more likely he/she would consider purchasing an EV. However, only 6 percent of respondents said they new a great deal of about EV and 21 percent said they knew a fair amount. The survey also found that wealthier respondents and those with more education said they knew more about EVs and were more likely to express an intention in purchasing as were males and older adults.

“Clearly, there is a tremendous opportunity for EV sellers to take advantage of this interest as long as they engage in the same effective marketing that has moved millions of gas powered vehicles,” said Mark Cooper, CFA’s director of research. Our research shows a clear, statistically significant, correlation between knowledge about EVs and positive attitudes towards EVs. The more one knows about EVs, the more positively one feels about these vehicles. Furthermore, there is a statistically significant correlation between positive attitudes about EVs and a willingness to purchase them—those who feel positively about EVs are more likely to consider purchasing one.”

In light of automakers dedicated millions of dollars into developing and launching EVs, and the need for more consumer education about the vehicles, Gillis has written a free guide, The Car Book’s Snapshot Guide to Electric Vehicles.

“Our goal is to expose the public to the options available and thereby increase interest in learning more about these vehicles. With battery prices coming down, disruptive innovators like Tesla and Apple entering the EV market, and consumers looking for ways to reduce their dependence on the gas pump, there is no question that EVs are poised to become the next big thing in the automotive marketplace,” Gillis added.

Electric Vehicle Charging Association Formed

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 11.15.21 AMWith the growth of electric vehicles across the country, several EV industry organizations have come together and launched the California-based Electric Vehicle Charging Association (EVCA). The non-profit was formed to achieve clean transportation by advancing the continued innovation in the EV charging industry. The organization has also released a new report, “The State of the Charge,” a report documenting the charging industry’s rapid growth in California and the significant economic opportunity it presents for the state. Founding members of EVCA are ABM, ChargePoint, Clean Fuel Connection, Envision Solar, EV Connect, NRG EVgo, Plugless Power, SeaWave Battery, and Volta, all of which are headquartered or maintain a significant presence in California.

“Ubiquitous charging is critical to the mass adoption of electric vehicles,” said Terry O’Day, vice president west region NRG EVgo, the nation’s largest provider of public DC fast chargers. “The charging industry is committed to making electric vehicles accessible to everyone and to improving and simplifying the charging experience.”

According to The State of the Charge, there are now more than 9,000 public and workplace charging outlets in California, and the number hits 20,000 when home chargers are factored in. California has 40 percent of the U.S. EV market with 150,000 EVs on the roads, and the number of public/workplace charging stations has grown 652 percent since 2011. The EV industry is expected to generate nearly $4.5 billion in California sales and services by 2023, in part driven by Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for 1 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads by 2020. He has also signed into law SB350 to expand EV charging.

California leads the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, technology, and services,” noted Colleen Quinn, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for ChargePoint, North America’s largest EV charging network. “The continued growth and diversity of this industry is critical to meeting California’s ambitious clean air and climate protection goals, and the EV industry supports more than 2,000 California jobs.”

During the launch announcement, speakers noted that In creating the trade association, the EV charging industry is taking an important step to help shape California’s growing EV infrastructure, advocate for policies to advance clean transportation, and serve as a resource for information and expertise. Efforts will focus on creating an environment that maintains the highest levels of innovation and creates maximum value for EV drivers.

Scania Offers Biodiesel-Hybrid Truck

scaniaSwedish truck maker Scania is adding to its lineup of biodiesel-friendly options in its trucks. After giving the OK for a line of trucks to run on renewable diesel and having an Australian company declare it would brew its own biodiesel to use in its fleet of Scania trucks, the company has now announced a Scania-developed hybrid truck for urban distribution combining electric and biodiesel operation, enhancing the company’s position as the manufacturer with the widest range of alternative fuels.

“No matter what driving conditions are like or what local circumstances are, there is probably always an alternative solution available from Scania, right here and now,” claims Magnus Höglund, responsible for alternative fuels and powertrains at Scania Trucks. “This launch lets us demonstrate to all types of transport players that they can reduce their CO2 foot­print very simply, without giving up anything or incurring significantly higher costs.”

The newest and most spectacular item in Scania’s offer is the hybrid truck now premiering and being test-driven by European trucking and environmental journa­lists. The hybrid solution, developed by Scania itself, allows an 18-tonne distribution truck to operate solely on electric power for up to two kilometres.

Electric operation is primarily intended for situations where other solutions don’t measure up, for example, city distribution at night in noise sensitive areas or driving through warehouses and car parks where one doesn’t want any exhaust fumes at all. Electric power is combined with Scania’s 9-litre Euro 6 engine with 320 hp, which can be operated on 100 percent biodiesel, such as FAME or HVO. With this latter fuel, CO2 can be reduced by as much as 92 percent.

“It’s a very special experience to drive a heavy truck when the only sound comes from the hissing of tires against asphalt and a mild breeze,” explains Höglund. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a revolution that will make a big difference. Soundless and partly exhaust-free trucks can do a better job in cities at night with goods distribution, cleaning, waste collection and other city maintenance tasks. Hybridisation can also lead to a higher utilisation of every single vehicle when the range of uses expands.”

Alliant Launches Solar Demonstration Project

Alliant Energy is launching a solar demonstration project at its headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. As part of the initiative, Telefonix, Inc. installed 13 L2 PowerPost electric vehicle charging stations.

The goal of the program is to evaluate solar technologies in climates with varying weather including extreme cold. Alliant is planning on installing more than three dozen unique renewable energy features over the next few years.  In phase one the company will install solar power canopies over 50 parking spaces, solar café tables, and over 1,000 solar panels from multiple manufacturers with 11 different types of panels being used. The 13 PowerPost EV Charging Stations are being powered by the building, but the solar energy generated will offset total building consumption.

L2 PowerPost(TM) EV charger (PRNewsFoto/Telefonix Inc.)

L2 PowerPost(TM) EV charger (PRNewsFoto/ Telefonix Inc.)

“As a Midwest company ourselves, we are excited to see other organizations taking the lead in these types of research initiatives that will be critical in the adoption of sustainable energy solutions in the coming years,” said Bill Williams, business development manager at Telefonix Inc. “Alliant Energy’s solar lab will help answer a lot of questions about solar energy in the Midwest and help move forth renewable energy as a whole.”

As part of the testing, solar energy features will be located in various areas and positioned in multiple angles an elevations. The learnings will inform Allliant Energy on how best to optimize solar energy in the Midwest.  A unique interface available both onsite and on the internet will allow anyone to view real-time performance data of the solar lab.

“We are excited about this innovative demonstration project and view it as a learning laboratory for research that our customers can view on a regular basis,” added John Larsen, president of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility. “This multi-year effort will enable our company and our customers to discover the many ways solar energy and renewable technology can be used in a Wisconsin setting.”


EV Connect Launches EV CaaS

EV Connect has launched what they call the first-ever “EV Charging-as-a-Service” or “EV CaaS,” to reduce up-front costs and simplify the process for purchasing and installing EV charging station infrastructure by turning the purchase decision from a capital expenditure to an operating expense. The new program was developed in collaboration with GE and SparkFund.

EV-Connect-LogoEach EV charge station comes with GE’s WattStation and DuraStation as well as EV Connect’s base management software and service. Starting at $99 per month per charge station, the EV CaaS, says EV Connect, offers businesses and government entities a full-service resource to assist with financing, deployment and management.

“The single biggest hesitation facility owners have when considering EV charging station installation is up-front cost,” said Jordan Ramer, EV Connect President. “The EV CaaS program, in collaboration with SparkFund and GE, offers a pay-as-you-go alternative to capital purchases and greatly simplifies the decision-making process.”

EV Connect says they are the first provider to offer this type of program. In addition to overseeing procurement, permitting and installation, they manage all aspects of the charging station including service, driver support, station management and usage.

“Welcome to a new world of financing for EV charging infrastructure,” added Pier LaFarge, SparkFund Co-founder and CEO. “EV CaaS puts EV charging within reach of any facility by shifting financing from an upfront capital expenditure to a pay-over-time operating expense.”

Constellation Launches EME With ChargePoint

Constellation is offering customers a new electric vehicle charging program through the new Efficiency Made Easy (EME) program in partnership with ChargePoint. The program enables customers to help fund new EV charging stations and business may be eligible to purchase ChargePoint EV charging stations (including installation, serve and warranties) through their electricty or gas supply agreement.

logos“Constellation is always looking for new and innovative energy solutions for our customers,” said Divesh Gupta, manager, energy solutions for Constellation. “Efficiency Made Easy allows customers to implement technology such as ChargePoint’s EV charging stations to better manage their energy use and support their environmental goals – without an upfront investment.”

EME enables its commercial and industrial supply customers to implement energy efficiency and other solutions without up-front capital expenditures. The costs of these solutions are included over the term of a customer’s supply agreement. In cases where customers are utilizing EME for efficiency measures, they may realize immediate savings on energy costs from reduced energy use according to Constellation.

Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint, added, “By offering charging stations, installation, service, and warranty with no upfront capital, this channel partnership is a great example of how energy companies can help to spur EV growth the right way. Minimizing the upfront cost to buy and install charging stations and providing customer choice, makes it possible for even more businesses to offer EV charging to their employees and customers.”

EV Fast Chargers Come to Québec

New fast chargers for electric vehicles are now available in Québec with a 400-V fast-charge station and four 240-V charging stations as a result of a new partnership between the Electric Circuit and Magog’s Carrefour Santé Globale (CSG). This is the first public fast-charge station in the Estrie region. This initiative was made possible by Nissan Canada.

borneaquariumce“We salute the initiative of Carrefour Santé Globale that allows Magog to be the first city in the region to offer a fast-charge station for drivers of all-electric vehicles, in addition to playing a strategic role in the Québec-Vermont charging corridor,” said France Lampron, Director – Transportation Electrification at Hydro-Québec on behalf of the founding partners of the Electric Circuit. “We are pleased to have such a dynamic partner contribute to making the Electric Circuit the most extensive public charging network in Québec.”

The fast-charge network is growing rapidly and this new charging station is an additional point of service along the Montréal-Vermontcharging corridor. The Electric Circuit is the largest public charging network in Québec. A total of 34 charging stations are now in service in the Estrie region including 11 in Magog, 1 in Racine and 22 in Sherbrooke.

“We are delighted to offer these new public charging stations. This initiative reflects Carrefour Santé Globale’s commitment to offer an array of services to its customers and ties in with our sustainability strategy,” added Gilles Bélanger, General Manager of CSG. “In addition, we are proud to participate in the efforts of the City of Magog to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.”

PG&E Donates PHEV for Emergencies

On August 24, 2014, a 6.0 earthquake rocked Northern California and the City of Napa, resulting in more than 70,000 customers losing power to homes and businesses. One year later, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) donated a state-of-the-art plug-in electric hybrid truck as part of the city of Napa’s commemoration of the earthquake. The “Napa Strong 6.0/365” commemoration event recognized the earthquake response of the many dedicated first responders, PG&E employees and the community.

The_state-of-the-art_truck_donated_by_PG&EBarry Anderson, PG&E vice president of emergency preparedness and operations presented the keys to a plug-in electric hybrid pickup truck as an innovative, new tool to use during emergency response.

“As we look back today and celebrate the progress made in Napa since the earthquake, we also look forward and emphasize the importance for each of us to have an emergency plan before a natural disaster occurs,” said Anderson. “By supporting the city and first responders with new technologies like this next-generation electric hybrid truck, we are furthering our collaboration toward increasing local emergency preparedness.”

The truck, developed locally in California by Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. in partnership with PG&E, combines 30 miles of all-electric driving with 350 more miles of hybrid driving range and can provide up to 40 kVa of exportable power. This exportable power is enough to power a small neighborhood and allows first responders to plug in lighting, equipment and other tools at the site of an emergency.

The vehicle donation is part of a larger PG&E initiative to donate a series of innovative plug-in electric hybrid pick-up trucks and the associated charging infrastructure to local fire departments. The donation is part of PG&E’s commitment to operate as the greenest utility fleet in the industry, with nearly 3,500 alternative fuel vehicles, including approximately 1,000 electric and electric hybrid units.

Portland Int’l Airport Adds EV Charging

Portland International Airport (PDX) has become the airport with the largest number of electric vehicle (EV) chargers in the country. PDX installed 42 L1 PowerPost EV charging stations that are designed and manufactured by Telefonix. EV drivers are able to recover about 5 miles of range for every hour they are plugged in. The range lost in a typical commute of twenty miles is recovered in about 4 hours at a cost to the facility of less than 75 cents. The PowerPost EV charging stations will be free to use for employees and visitors.

“This installation makes a huge statement,” said Bill Williams, business development manager for Telefonix, EVSE Division. “The electric vehicle movement is gaining steam and will continue to do so. Facilities like PDX are acknowledging this growing community and sending a signal that they support those who are embracing electric vehicles by installing stations for both airport employees and travelers.”

Telefonix Inc. (PRNewsFoto/Telefonix Inc.)

Telefonix Inc. (PRNewsFoto/Telefonix Inc.)

According to Telefonix, Portland International Airport chose PowerPost level 1 electric vehicle charging stations for their integrated, retractable cord reel, which keeps cables off the ground, reducing maintenance and tripping hazards. They were also selected because they are level 1 units, which have low current requirements and allow for an efficient use of energy. Level 1 charging is well suited for long-dwell parking that is typical at airports and workplaces. In addition, the low-current requirements of level 1 also allowed the airport to install more charging stations as compared to more powerful chargers that often require costly upgrades to the electrical supply.

“We are excited to support our travelers and employees with these new EV charging stations,” said Vince Granato, Port of Portland chief operations officer. “Voted America’s Best Airport in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Travel + Leisure’s Reader Survey, we take pride in delivering a memorable and positive experience to those who use our facilities. The installation of EV charging stations is one of our many environmental initiatives, which are central to how we do business and serve as good community stewards.”

Williams added, “Airports are really taking an aggressive approach to delivering on the need for electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” “Given that customers parking for 4 hours or more represent over 85% of all occupied spaces at an airport and the fact that airports often have sustainability initiatives in place, it’s a perfect fit.”