Clean Cities News

  • New Resources Offer Insights for Tackling Transportation Project Challenges

    Preparing to launch a new transportation project can be daunting, especially when the stakes—and the likelihood of encountering challenges along the way—are high.

    Two new technical reports from the Vehicle Technologies Office’s Technology Integration program aim to increase project success by providing stakeholders with insights into anticipating, mitigating, and avoiding common problems.

    Designing a Successful Transportation Project: Lessons Learned from the Clean Cities American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Projects

    This report summarizes project design and administrative considerations for conducting a successful transportation project. The findings presented in the report were garnered from interviews with principle investigators and nearly 50 Clean Cities coalitions involved in past transportation projects.

    What Fleets Need to Know About Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversions, Retrofits, and Repowers

    There are a variety of options on the market for converting a new vehicle to run on alternative fuels or retrofitting an existing vehicle. Converting, retrofitting, or repowering a vehicle can result in long term return on investment while helping fleet managers achieve sustainability goals. This report provides guidance on technology options and considerations for fleets pursuing these options. It also provides best practices for selecting and working with project partners, service providers, and reputable vendors.

    These resources can inform management practices and successful implementation of new clean transportation projects.

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Supply Chain Expansion through the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Nexus Directory

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office and Virginia Clean Cities (VCC) will present a live webinar titled “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Supply Chain Expansion through the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Nexus Directory”. VCC coordinators will provide an overview of the national business website, or directory, allowing individuals to rapidly find hydrogen and fuel cell supply chain specific businesses. Additionally, VCC coordinators will discuss the methods of expanding content and adding businesses or products to the directory. There will be a live Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

    Registration is required. To attend, register here.

  • Winter Driving Tips to Stay Warm and Save Fuel

    Early season snowfalls mean it’s time to brush off our cars and brush up on tips to save fuel in winter.

    In cold weather your mileage takes a hit. A conventional car gets about 12% lower gas mileage at 20°F than it does in warmer months and hybrid vehicles fuel economy can dip 31%–34%. However, fleets across the country are finding success using alternative fuels year-round including biodiesel blends designed for the cold, plug-in electric vehicles in South Dakota snow, ethanol in the icy winters of Minnesota, natural gas in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and propane as far north as Washington.

    Since frigid temperatures take a toll on any vehicle—no matter the fuel—follow these simple tips to save fuel and stay warm this winter.

  • Emergency Alternatives

    Learn how alternative fuels and other advanced vehicle technologies can help emergency fleets react to and recover from natural disasters.

  • National Drive Electric Week 2017: Charged Up About Electric Vehicles

    Across the country, people are charged up about electric vehicles (EVs), if this year’s National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) is any indication. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) celebrated NDEW with electric-drive focused newsletter contents read by almost 20,000 people over the course of the week. Some of the highlights included an animation illustrating how batteries work and the release of a new VTO-funded analysis of electric vehicle infrastructure.

    A key to the success of VTO’s efforts is the nationwide network of local Clean Cities coalitions. Local coalitions provide a boots-on-the-ground approach, independent of DOE, that extends the reach of VTO efforts. This year 51 Clean Cities coalitions participated in more than 130 events nationwide, from September 9-17, reaching more than 40,000 people. Many of those events included ride and drives where attendees took a spin in a variety of EVs, electric bikes, and scooters. Clean Cities coalitions across the country partnered with EV dealers, municipalities, non-profits, utilities, regional electric auto associations, and others to spread the word about EVs.

    • Coalitions in New Hampshire, Northern Colorado, Sacramento, and San Antonio held events in partnership with local farmers markets, while the Kansas City Clean Cities coalition held its big event in conjunction with the Jewish Culture Fest, where visitors could take a stroll down Electric Avenue and see vehicles on display. In addition to Chevy Volts, Teslas, Nissan Leafs, and other modern EVs, the display included a 1960s Karmann Ghia EV conversion and a 1917 Detroit Electric vehicle, which used a tiller instead of a steering wheel.

    • The Eastern Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition held events at Whole Foods and at Neyland Stadium, before a University of Tennessee (UT) football game. UT is one of 16 universities with a student team participating in the EcoCAR 3 Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition, sponsored by DOE. The team’s Chevy Camaro, re-designed by the students to increase energy efficiency while maximizing performance, was on display for football fans to admire as they headed into the game.

    • The San Diego Clean Cities coalition had a 60-foot articulated electric bus and an all-electric class 8 truck on display, while 200 EV drivers participated in an EV Tailgate with their personal vehicles.

    • Massachusetts Clean Cities took part in 18 events across the state, doubling the number of people that were exposed to EVs at last year’s events.

    • Less than a week after Hurricane Irma, the Space Coast EV Drivers held an event at Satellite Beach, Florida, where the NASA Kennedy Space Center had a full-scale working replica of the Lunar Rover—an early EV—on exhibit. Although their own event was canceled due to the hurricane, members of the Orlando-based Central Florida Clean Cities were proud to support their dedicated Space Coast colleagues.

    • Capital District Clean Communities in Albany, New York, assisted with nearby Schenectady’s NDEW event, which had 108 vehicles—including 25 different models—on display. Italian, Greek, and Arts festivals occurring in adjacent neighborhoods helped attract a new audience that might not otherwise have attended.

    The next National Drive Electric Week is already scheduled for September 8-16, 2018, so mark your calendars; you won’t want to miss it!

  • 5 Fast Facts about Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

    If you haven’t heard about hydrogen and fuel cells before, then listen up. These technologies are bursting on to the scene and have the potential to solve some of the biggest problems in energy ranging from commercial buildings to transportation.

    And, while most people are more familiar with solar, wind and battery power, keep your eye on these up-and-coming technologies that could add to our nation’s diverse energy mix. In celebration of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on Sunday, October 8, here are five things you should know:

    1. Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth.

    Hydrogen is an alternative fuel that has very high energy content by weight. It’s locked up in enormous quantities in water, hydrocarbons, and other organic matter. Hydrogen can be produced from diverse, domestic resources including fossil fuels, biomass, and water electrolysis with wind, solar, or grid electricity. The environmental impact and energy efficiency of hydrogen depends on how it is produced.

    Learn how hydrogen is a clean, flexible energy carrier.

    2. Fuel cells can be used to power in several applications.

    Hydrogen and fuel cells can be used in a broad range of applications. These range from powering buildings, cars, trucks, to portable electronic devices and backup power systems. Because fuel cells can be grid-independent, they’re also an attractive option for critical load functions such as data centers, telecommunications towers, hospitals, emergency response systems, and even military applications for national defense.

    3. Fuel cells are a clean way to produce power.

    Fuel cells are similar to batteries in that they produce electricity without combustion or emissions. Unlike batteries, fuel cells do not run down or need to recharge—as long as there’s a constant source of fuel and oxygen. Compared to conventional gasoline vehicles, fuel cell vehicles can even reduce carbon dioxide by up to half if the hydrogen is produced by natural gas and by 90%, if the hydrogen is produced by renewable energy, such as wind and solar. There are also no pollutants emitted from the tailpipe—just water!

    4. Fuel cell cars are very similar to traditional gasoline powered cars.

    Similar to today’s gasoline vehicles, fuel cell electric cars can have a driving range of more than 300 miles on one tank of hydrogen fuel. They can refuel in just a few minutes and the fueling experience is almost identical to a gas station. Since the “engine” (i.e., fuel cell) has no moving parts, you’ll never need to change the oil. But because a fuel cell is more than twice as efficient as an internal combustion engine, a fuel cell car travels farther on that tank of hydrogen than a traditional car would on gasoline. This means you only need about half the amount of hydrogen, with double the fuel economy.

    Watch how easy it is to fill up a fuel cell electric vehicle.

    5. There are more than 30 commercial hydrogen stations in California today.

    More than 30 public retail hydrogen fueling stations are online in California, with plans to install 100. There are also several stations ready to open up in the Northeast. With careful planning, the focus has been to add hydrogen mostly at existing gasoline stations. These efforts are giving early fuel cell car adopters’ confidence that they can drive normally and have access to hydrogen wherever they go within these regions. Efforts are also underway in Hawaii, with other markets expected to develop as consumer demand increases.

    For more information, see the full EERE blog or visti the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s Hydrogen section.