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Air Quality focus is on Transit:  Electric Cab of North America

It’s Ozone Season in Central Texas – transit is highlighted as a means to reduce emissions and keep our area in compliance with federal standards.  As of 2017 Central Texas’s value for ozone was 69 parts per billion (ppb) while the federal standard limit is 70 ppb   With only 1 ppb away from our limit and a long, hot summer ahead of us, AFVs are helping us keep our air clean.  Vehicular emissions are responsible for a large share of Austin’s ozone and mass transit can help reduce vehicle miles traveled.

Pecan Street Inc. was awarded $1M from DOE’s Vehicle Technology Program in 2017 to implement the Electric Last Mile (ELM) Project. Pecan Street and Capital Metro, along with Electric Cab of North America, Austin Transportation Department, and Austin Energy have deployed Electric Cab’s low-speed electric shuttle circulators in two Austin neighborhoods.  Another pilot route will launch in June in the Mueller community, connecting residents with major transit stops, retail, and medical facilities.

The project’s goal is to double the use of public transportation in each of the three pilot neighborhoods using Electric Cab’s all-electric, zero emissions, fleet of low-speed vehicles to further reduce transportation emissions.

Have you used one of these cabs?  If so, please share your input by taking a 5-minute survey here.  Those who take the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Click here for information on this project.

Heavy-duty Electric Vehicle Workshop

On June 21st Elizabeth presented on Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance and Clean Cities resources at a Heavy-duty Electric Vehicle Workshop held at the Texas Conference of Urban Counties.  As electric vehicle funding is anticipated to be available from the VW Emissions Mitigation Settlement, the purpose of the meeting was to identify and understand the issues and opportunities around Heavy Duty Electric Vehicles to develop information for front-line utilities and fleet managers related to funding projects, electric power demands and purchasing HD EV and the associated infrastructure to ensure successful deployment.  The role and resources of the Texas Clean Cities Coalitions with EVs and AFVs in general were also highlighted.  If this is something you would be interested in attending in the future, please contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@lonestarcfa.org.

National Clean Cities Funding for FY 2018

The President recently signed the FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, which funds the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year.  The bill increases funding for two key programs that support alternative fuels and vehicles: the Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities program and the U.S. EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants. The FY 2018 omnibus bill includes $37.8 million for deployment through the DOE Clean Cities program, a $3.8 million increase over last year’s funding. The Clean Cities program provides critical technical and financial support for the nation’s nearly 90 Clean Cities coalitions, which are leading the charge in promoting clean transportation solutions in communities across the country.
“This is a tremendous victory for Transportation Energy Partners (TEP) and our many partners in the clean transportation industry,” remarked TEP President Sam Spofforth. “It clearly shows the continuing bipartisan support in Congress for clean energy programs.”
Now the focus shifts to funding for Fiscal Year 2019. The Trump Administration’s FY 2019 budget requests a 72 percent cut to the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and elimination of the Clean Cities program. As usual, it will ultimately be up to Congress to determine funding levels and the fate of these important programs for next year.

Alternative Fueling Station Locator Overhaul Boasts Improved User Interface

March 19, 2018

It’s official—The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Station Locator has undergone a major makeover. Constant improvement is at the site’s core, which is why the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technology Office is always striving to make the AFDC’s tools easier to use and the data more accessible. The updated Station Locator offers new features and an improved user interface built on the same reliable, comprehensive, and fuel-neutral data that our partners have come to trust.

Some of the notable new features include a sleek look and feel, simplifying the user experience, as well as a bigger map populated with consistent circle icons for each station location and updated colors representing each fuel type. Users will also notice a larger and more detailed view of specific station information.

On the Station Locator home page, there are now two tabs at the top of the map: Find Public Stations and Analyze and Download Data.

The Find Public Stations tab allows users to search for public stations at a specific location, with the option to search for all fuels or just one. The total number of stations that fit the search criteria can be found in the upper right.

The search defaults to public stations and the following fuel-specific criteria:

  • Level 2 and DC fast charging electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE)
  • Propane stations with vehicle-specific fueling services (i.e., “primary” stations)
  • Hydrogen stations with full public access (i.e., “retail” stations)

The Map a Route feature, also available on the Find Public Station tab, shows specified fuel types available along a route between two locations. It also displays search results on the right, sorted by distance from the search location.

The Analyze and Download Data tab allows users to refine their search using filters, broken out into three categories: Location, Fuel, and Station.

To search by Location, users can enter a state or a specific address and limit results within a certain mile radius. To search by Fuel, users can filter by a single fuel or multiple fuel types, and conduct fuel-specific searches, including the following:

  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): fill type, vehicle accessibility, and fill pressure
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): vehicle accessibility
  • EVSE: charging levels, connector types, and networks
  • Ethanol (E85): stations that also offer mid-level ethanol blends
  • Propane: stations with limited vehicle-specific fueling capabilities (i.e., “secondary” stations)
  • Hydrogen: stations with limited public access (i.e., “nonretail” stations)

The Station options allow users to filter for public and/or private stations, planned stations, and by owner type and payment methods. All results display on the right, including counts, filters, and options to download the results or see the results on a map.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) collects and confirms alternative fueling station data through a number of industry sources. To submit a new station for inclusion in the Station Locator, visit the online webform. For multiple station additions or updates, email technicalresponse@icf.com.

The new Station Locator still includes an embed functionality so users can include the tool within their own websites. If you already have the Station Locator embedded on your website, replacing the code with the new version of the embed code is recommended.

Continue to monitor the U.S. Station Locator for new features, including an alternative fuel corridor planning tool.

Nearly Half of All New Cars Sold In 2017 Achieved Fuel Economy Above 30 Miles per Gallon

U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Fact of the Week #1015

In 2017, about 46% of all new cars achieved 30 miles per gallon (mpg) or higher while the number of cars exceeding 50 mpg rose to about 5%. For light trucks, almost two-thirds achieved fuel economy above 20 mpg and less than one percent fell below 15 mpg. By contrast, in 1975, about 88% of new cars achieved less than 20 mpg and about 7% got less than 10 mpg. For new light trucks in 1975, nearly all (97.5%) were under 20 mpg and about 28% were under 10 mpg. Over the 42-year period there have been many advances in engine technologies, transmission technologies, aerodynamics, tires, and high-strength lightweight materials that have increased efficiency of light vehicles.

*Data for 2017 are preliminary, based on projected production data from the automakers.

Notes: The definition of cars and light trucks is the same definition as in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy rulemaking. Thus, the car category includes cars, station wagons, and small 2-wheel drive sport utility vehicles (SUV). The light truck category includes pickups, vans, minivans, 4-wheel drive SUV, and large SUV. Fuel economy data are adjusted values that represent EPA’s best estimates of real world performance.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2017, EPA-420-R-18-001, January 2018.

This post originally appeared on VTO’s Fact of the Week.

Platooning Trucks to Cut Cost and Improve Efficiency

At first glance, platooning doesn’t look like much—just a few tractor-trailers driving down the highway a bit closer together than we’re used to. But, what is actually happening is much more complex and presents the opportunity for significant safety, energy efficiency, and cost benefits. Early studies have shown that 65% of current long-haul truck miles could potentially be platooned, reducing total truck fuel consumption by 4%.

What is Platooning?

So, what is truck platooning? Platooning involves the use of vehicle-to-vehicle communications and sensors, such as cameras and radar, to virtually connect two or more trucks together in a convoy. The virtual link enables all of the vehicles in the platoon to communicate with each other, allowing them to automatically accelerate together, brake together, and enables them to follow each other at a closer distance than is typically possible with unlinked trucks.

The technology detects and reacts to stopped or slow vehicles ahead of the platoon and adjusts as needed when a vehicle cuts in between the trucks in the platoon. With current platooning technology, each truck in the platoon has a human driver responsible for steering and taking over the speed and braking as needed. The driver of the first truck leads the platoon and navigates the route. As the technology improves, there may only be the need for a lead driver, or no human drivers at all.

Why do it?

Truck platooning could provide many benefits. When implemented, platooning can improve safety, increase energy efficiency, and reduce costs.

Truck platooning technology includes automatic braking. The automatic brakes are able to react much faster than a human, improving safety and reducing the likelihood of collisions. Truck platoons also take up less space on the road, and experience fewer short or sudden acceleration and braking events, than unlinked trucks. The trucks travelling closer together at smoother speeds improves traffic flow and boosts the efficiency of delivering goods.

Platooning is also a cost saver. With the trucks driving close together at a constant speed, the lead vehicle cuts through the air and reduces the amount of air hitting the front of, and flowing between, the following vehicles. This is similar to when race cars or cyclists draft off one another in a race. The reduced aerodynamic drag on all of the vehicles in the platoon means that the trucks use less fuel, which reduces operating costs.

The U.S. Army is interested in platooning technologies for the potential to reduce the number of lives at risk in combat areas. Using platooning technologies in military applications could minimize the number of soldiers needed to man convoy vehicles, resulting in a reduced number of soldiers at risk of encountering roadside bombs.

Coordinated Research

The Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office’s (VTO) Energy Efficient Mobility Systems (EEMS) Program coordinates with the U.S Army and the Department of Transportation (DOT) in this shared space to accelerate research and development. DOT’s mission is to serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system. DOT sees platooning as one way to improve the safety of trucking through collision avoidance features. VTO is interested in the potential to improve energy efficiency and cut costs for businesses and consumers through this technology.

VTO’s EEMS Program is investigating the potential impact platooning technology could have on energy use in our transportation system. Recent EEMS research done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory used telematics, or on-board data logging, to estimate the amount of platoonable miles traveled by trucksPDF and found 65% of the miles could be platooned, resulting in a 4% reduction in total truck fuel consumption. Another recent VTO funded study assessed the energy impact of adaptive cruise control and showed that the middle truck in a platoon saves the most at shorter gaps, while the trailing truck saves the most at longer gaps.

To learn more about the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) work on connected and automated vehicle technologies, visit the Energy Efficient Mobility Systems page on Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) website.

This blog was authored by DOE’s VTO and originally appeared as an Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy blog. To stay up to date with VTO, subscribe here: https://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/vehicle-technologies-office-newsletters

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