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Convenience Stores: A Missed Opportunity for EV Chargers and Utilities?

November 13, 2017

Prospective EV purchasers have to feel confident that they can obtain the electricity needed to power their vehicles as easily – and potentially as quickly – as they can now fuel their conventional vehicles.

Looking at the issue from that perspective, a potential, and very practical, solution for such range anxiety becomes clear. Convenience stores – which are often practically synonymous with gasoline stations – exist in every community.

Learn more.

Member Spotlight – Electric Cab of North America

This month we interviewed Kris Bailey, the Chief Operating Officer of Electric Cab of North America. Kris joined Electric Cab of Austin in 2011 as the COO. He is the COO and co-founder of Electric Cab of North America which began operating in 2016 as a first/last mile solution company.

What service does Electric Cab of North America provide?

We focus on an industry known as Micro-Transit. We use electric vehicles to solve the first/last mile problem with public transportation. We firmly believe that the way to increase ridership on rail lines and bus systems is by making public transportation more accessible.

What locations work best for your first/mile last mile service?

We look to provide service that complements public transportation. Transit agencies and cities are our target customers. Large developments or areas with poor connectivity to public transportation are also where we focus. Our aim is to eliminate food and transit deserts one area at a time.

How is this product important to businesses and individuals? How will they benefit from using it?

Increased mobility in an area goes hand in hand with economic development. When people can move around easily, they can easily visit more places. This increases visits to businesses, creating more jobs and making an area more attractive to visit. All of this travel in our electric cabs – keeping Austin’s air clean and reducing traffic!

Where is Electric Cab of North America Operating?

We operate an on-demand urban mobility solution in downtown Austin 7 nights per week. People can easily move among all of the downtown districts (West 6th, Warehouse District, East 6th and Rainey Street, West Campus, SoCo, etc…). Instead of having to choose which district, you can visit all of them! We have also partnered with the Domain Northside to provide free shuttles through their development. We can connect the department stores to the condos to the restaurants. Again, with increased mobility, people frequent more businesses.

Where else do you operate – or plan to?

We are looking to connect this district to the Kramer Lane light rail stop as well. There is no public parking around that rail station, and it is in an industrial area. Within a 1mile radius, there are a lot of appealing destinations, such as the Domain Northside, with Whole Foods and all of the stores in addition to housing. There is also an Austin Community College Campus within a mile of that rail station. Can we increase ridership on the public transit system by providing accessibility to a rail stop? I think so.

We have been working in the St. Louis area for several years and launched Kirkwood, Missouri in late October. We have created a model that can be replicated and scaled to any city in the United States and are actively growing our company.

What else?

Our partnerships are what make us strong. We have partnered with Polaris, the manufacturer of our electric vehicles. They are firmly committed to providing high quality and reliable vehicles.

We have also partnered with United Rentals, which has given us the ability to launch a city from any of their 900+ branch locations throughout North America. For future projects we have partnered with 5D Robotics, a company focused on precise positioning that will enable autonomous vehicles to function better in the future. And we’ve partnered with Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance to develop project ideas to submit to potential funders.

Contact Kris Bailey at:

kris@electriccabofaustin.com

https://ecabna.com

www.electriccabofaustin.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member Spotlight: Renewable Energy Group

We interviewed Andrew Lewis, Renewable Energy Group (REG)’s new Regional Sales Representative for Texas. He brings to his customers many years of experience in the fleet and fuel industry.

REG is headquartered in Ames, Iowa, with a significant presence throughout Texas. In addition to production facilities in Houston and New Boston, REG can distribute fuel from terminal locations in the Houston, Caddo Mills and Ft. Worth areas.

What does REG produce?

REG is North America’s largest producer of biodiesel, a renewable fuel that can directly replace diesel fuel with no engine modifications. REG has 14 active bio-refineries nationwide, including over 50 million gallons of biodiesel production in Houston and New Boston, Texas. REG is one of the only producers of renewable hydrocarbon diesel, a renewable fuel with the same specifications as diesel fuel. In 2016 alone, REG produced over 550 million gallons of biomass-based diesel.

How do Fleets benefit from using biodiesel?

Fleets using biodiesel see a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, biodiesel increases lubricity, with a 2% inclusion of biodiesel doubling the amount of lubricity in the finished fuel blend. Biodiesel has higher cetane which improves engine performance. In Texas, biodiesel is exempt from state fuel tax and can reduce fleets’ overall fuel costs.

Customer information

Petroleum Wholesale of Houston, owns Sun Mart Convenience Stores and has been selling biodiesel blended fuel since 2013, with 95% of their locations now offering biodiesel. They started by offering B10 and gradually increased to offering B20 blends. The Texas state incentive and price advantage of biodiesel over traditional diesel has helped them improve fuel margins. Their biggest concern in switching to biodiesel was availability of product. With its strong network, REG provides a stable supply and steady pricing. “It’s about economics, and there are some very good incentives out there to utilize biodiesel,” said John Cook, President and CEO of Petroleum Wholesale. “Basically, all of our competitors started bringing it in. So, it didn’t take us long to realize we needed to get into it to stay competitive. There’s no downside to biodiesel and a lot of advantages to it.”

For more information about biodiesel or REG:
Andrew Lewis | Regional Sales Representative
REG-Renewable Energy Group | Houston, TX
(M) 515-509-3708 (O) 888-734-8686
andrew.lewis@REGI.com | www.REGI.com

VW Trust Effective Date has Been Set

The final paperwork for the Volkswagen Settlement’s Environmental Mitigation Trust was filed on October 2nd, and the Trust Effective Date is October 2, 2017. States will have 60 days to submit their Certification for Beneficiary Status, which will allow them to become Beneficiaries of the Trust. A fillable Certification for Beneficiary Status and other applicable forms will be uploaded to the NASEO and NACAA VW Clearinghouse by the end of today. For more information, please contact Cassie Powers at cpowers@naseo.org, or visit the NASEO & NACAA VW Settlement Clearinghouse, www.vwclearinghouse.org.

Texas Revives $2,500 Electric Vehicle Credit

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week signed into law a $2,500 electric vehicle rebate program aimed at boosting adoption in the Lone Star State, but it is not clear if the incentive will apply to the most well-known EV manufacturer out there.
  • The law reboots a 2013 rebate that expired two years ago. But that program did not apply to Tesla vehicles because it was run through dealerships—and Tesla sells direct to customers. Electrek.co reports that if the program maintains the same structure, the exclusion would likely apply again.
  • The program is managed through the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, run by the state’s Commission on Environmental Quality.

Texas wants to grow the number of electric vehicles operating in the state, and the law signed by Abbott will allow buyers to add $2,500 on top of their federal $7,500 credit. The program rules are still being crafted, but the rebate is likely to re-start in September, according to the Chronicle.

Electric vehicles are steadily growing in Texas: According to San Antonio Business Journal, there were less than 10,000 electric vehicles on the state’s roads at the end of 2015. Now, the Chronicle estimates that figure at 16,000. But all states fall behind California, where almost a quarter-million EVs are registered.

States looking to tackle emissions, utilities interested in load management and consumers who want to reduce gas spending and environmental impacts, are all showing increased interest in plug-in vehicles.

There are about 580,000 EVs on the road in the U.S. today, representing 1 TWh of consumption. But by 2040, that could grow to 551 TWh, according to a recent report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance. The group says utilities are paying particular attention to the growing resource: 69% of utility professionals are “planning, researching, or considering” demand response programs that include managed charging.

Texas Gas Service is Improving CNG Access in the Austin Area

At the National Coordinator Training, Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance received a certificate  for “Greatest Improvement in Petroleum Displacement – CNG in 2016”.  We give a shout-out to all of our fleets using CNG with an especial acknowledgment to longtime LSCFA member, Wayne Snead of Texas Gas Service for his dedicated work with CNG4America (CNG4America.com) and Sunrise Mini Mart to bring a CNG station to the Sunrise Mini Mart location at 907 E. St. Johns Avenue in Austin.  Specifically designed with a wide turning radius, this station easily accommodates medium and heavy-duty vehicles.  The additional CNG usage from this station gave the significant boost to the Coalition’s usage numbers that resulted in our certificate.

In addition to supporting station development, Texas Gas Service offers rebates to qualified TGS customers with certain rate codes for CNG vehicles and refueling units.  More information can be found on the Texas Gas Service website.

Wayne has also served as the Coalition’s Board president.  Thank you, Wayne and Texas Gas Service!

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