• 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.

  • Technologies That Will Transform the Transportation System

    The transportation system is in the midst of a dramatic worldwide transformation that has the potential to impact our daily lives. Many factors are contributing to this change: overall U.S. demographics are shifting, more people are moving to cities, and connected devices are empowering consumers with more choices and on-demand services. The arrival of new technologies, such as connected and automated vehicles, and the rise of the shared-economy, including car-sharing and ride-hailing, have the potential to provide new, low-cost, mobility options.

    Dramatic Energy Impacts

    These new transportation technologies have the potential to provide improvements in safety, affordability, and accessibility to the American people. However, they also present challenges that must be understood. A recent study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) indicates that the future impact of new mobility systems, including connected and automated vehicles, could range from a 60% decrease in overall transportation energy to a 200% increase.

    Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Research

    To maximize the advantages of emerging disruptive technologies, such as connected and autonomous vehicles, VTO launched Energy Efficient Mobility Systems (EEMS). This comprehensive research program aims to identify and make full use of energy efficiency opportunities of advanced vehicle technologies and infrastructure, its interactions with existing infrastructure, and improved mobility of people and goods.

    Current Mobility Projects

    New recently announced “living lab” projects in Washington, Texas and New York are integrating smart mobility technologies in a holistic approach to the movement of people and/or goods that maximize energy efficiency. These projects will test new ideas, collect data, and inform research on energy efficient transportation technologies and systems, creating an essential feedback mechanism to the EEMS research program.

    To read on, see the full VTO blog post.

  • Melissa Howell Celebrated with Benjamin Watson Award

    Melissa Howell, executive director of the Kentucky Clean Cities Partnership, was honored with the Benjamin Watson Inspirational Award on August 24 in Golden, Colo., where representatives from nearly 100 coalitions across the country gathered for the annual Clean Cities Coordinator Workshop.

    The award is presented annually to the Clean Cities coordinator who provides inspiration and motivation to other coordinators and who strives to create a fun, engaging, and unified team spirit within the program. Howell was presented with the award by fellow coordinator Lisa Thurstin (Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition), on behalf of the Clean Cities Coordinator Council. Howell was chosen as this year’s award recipient for her years of devotion to Clean Cities efforts and because her work and attitude reflect the program’s values and mission.

    “Melissa embodies the true spirit of the Clean Cities program: a natural leader with an impressive project list,” Thurstin said. “She embodies the spirit and criteria of the award.”

    Other coordinators added that Howell is constantly helping the alternative fuel industry, spending countless hours supporting the Clean Cities mission. She is generous with her time for coordinators who have reached out for help and suggestions. Just as importantly, they noted, the advice and assistance she offers is always valuable.

    Melissa is retiring this year, after almost 25 years as a mainstay of Clean Cities.

    “Melissa is our longest serving coordinator,” said Dennis Smith, director of the program. “She has been a persistent force to be reckoned with.”

    Howell has led the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition (KCFC) since 1994, with the governance of Officers and a Board of Directors elected annually. Howell is based in Louisville, where she coordinates projects and programs and manages the fiscal well-being of the KCFC.

    “It’s been such a gift,” Howell said. “My life is so much better for being a part of this program.”

    Nominations for the award come directly from coordinators, in a process overseen by the Clean Cities Coordinator Council. Coordinators then vote to select the winner.

    The award is named after Benjamin Watson, a founding member of Clean Cities and long-time coordinator of Kansas City Regional Clean Cities. Watson’s engaging personality and spirit left an indelible stamp on the Clean Cities program and established the true character of the organization.

  • Central New York, Kansas City, and Massachusetts Coalition Leaders Revealed as Latest Clean Cities Hall of Fame Inductees

    Clean Communities of Central New York Coordinator Barry Carr, Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coordinator Kelly Gilbert, and Massachusetts Clean Cities Coordinator Steve Russell are the newest inductees to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Cities Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the Clean Cities mission of reducing petroleum use in U.S. transportation.

    National Clean Cities Director Dennis Smith and Co-Director Linda Bluestein inducted the trio into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame on August 24, 2017, while in Golden, Colo., where representatives from nearly 100 coalitions from across the nation gathered for the annual Clean Cities Coordinator Training.

    Under the leadership of the new inductees, their three coalitions averted more than 65,000 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions combined through use of alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and fuel efficiency measures in 2016 alone. Those same efforts saved more than 21.9 million gallons of petroleum in 2016. These accomplishments have contributed to the Clean Cities program’s ability to save more than 8.5 billion gallons of petroleum since its inception in 1993.

    Carr, Gilbert, and Russell are well known as stellar performers and have each earned the respect of industry and their stakeholders for their dedication and vast knowledge of alternative fuels and vehicles, as well as their hard work building successful coalitions.

    Specifically, Carr was recognized for his commitment to increasing the use of compressed natural gas vehicles and infrastructure. From 1995 to 2006 he assisted the New York State Clean Fueled Vehicle Council, helping state agencies grow their compressed natural gas fleet to more than 3,000 vehicles and expand CNG infrastructure to 60 locations in the state. Carr’s tenacity during almost three decades working in the alternative fuel industry has established him as a leader.

    Gilbert’s ability to build relationships with stakeholders and fellow coordinators has opened doors for alternative fuels in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. The four-state team was awarded funding for the Mid America Collaborative for Alternative Fuels Implementation project, which grew vehicle adoption and infrastructure and established a new fleet recognition program in Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas. She also assembled partners to create a new training initiative supporting compressed natural gas and propane and working with two University Fire Institutes in Kansas and Missouri in their “Safe Alternative Fuels Deployment in Mid-America” award, aka (The SAF-D Project). Gilbert’s many years of success have helped stakeholders build the local alternative fuel market and provide essential training.

    Russell is a pioneer in the alternative fuel industry. He is known for introducing biodiesel to the City of Keene, New Hampshire’s fleet during his time as their fleet manager, a standout move in the extreme cold of New England. He’s been vital to the proliferation of electric, propane, and natural gas vehicles in the Northeast. Russell is a prime mover in Massachusetts’s annual Alt Wheels, an alternative fuel vehicle event that has been running for more than 10 years. He is an expert collaborator and a leader among his fellow coordinators.

    To read more about Carr, Gilbert, and Russell’s accomplishments, visit the Clean Cities Hall of Fame.

  • Three Coalition Leaders Inducted Into Clean Cities Hall of Fame

    Coordinators Barry Carr, Kelly Gilbert, and Steve Russell are the latest inductees into the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding contributions to their coalition and the program’s mission of reducing petroleum use in U.S. transportation. Clean Cities Director Dennis Smith and Co-Director Linda Bluestein inducted the three coordinators into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame on August 24, 2017 while in Golden, Colo., where representatives from nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions from across the country gathered for the 2017 Clean Cities Coordinator Workshop. The coordinators lead the Clean Communities of Central New York, Kansas City Regional Clean Cities, and Massachusetts Clean Cities coalitions, respectively.

    Under the leadership of this year’s inductees, their coalitions averted more than 65,000 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions collectively through use of alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and fuel efficiency measures. The GHG savings equate to removing more than 14,628 passenger cars from the road. The same year, the coalition’s combined efforts also saved more than 21.9 million gallons of petroleum. These accomplishments have contributed to the success of their coalition and Clean Cities program’s ability to save more than 8.5 billion gallons of petroleum since its inception in 1993.

    “These three coordinators exemplify the leadership and dedication that helps the program thrive,” Smith said. “We’re proud to have them on our team.”

    Carr was recognized for his longstanding commitment and successful career as a coordinator. From 1995 to 2006 he worked with the New York State Clean Fueled Vehicle Council, helping state agencies grow their compressed natural gas fleet to more than 3,000 vehicles and expand CNG infrastructure to 60 locations in the state. Carr made presentations, provided safety and refueling training, and secured funding for many additional efforts. He is strongly supported by stakeholders and through his many relationships with fleet managers throughout the Northeast, which were built over almost three decades of steadfast determination working in the industry. In Clean Cities he is known as a knowledgeable peer who is willing to share his experience and expertise. Carr also served on the Coordinator Council and actively participates in the Coordinator to Coordinator program.

    Gilbert was acknowledged for significantly growing alternative fuel use in the Midwest. The successful working relationship and strong network she has built with stakeholders and fellow coordinators are the hallmarks of her success. Gilbert has a unique ability to bring together groups to collaborate on projects and secure funding. During her time as coordinator she has secured and managed four U.S. Department of Energy project awards, overseen a four state team that successfully completed the Mid America Collaborative for Alternative Fuels Implementation project, and assembled partners for a new training initiative supporting compressed natural gas and propane safety, in addition to many other projects. Her significant achievements have helped stakeholders build the local alternative fuel market and provide essential training.

    Russell was honored for his diligence in ensuring that public funding in Massachusetts has been spent to grow the use of alternative fuel vehicles and fueling infrastructure. He has spent countless hours educating and guiding fleets to reduce their petroleum use. Russell is a pioneer in the alternative fuel industry. Russell spent 12 years as a fleet manager in the City of Keene, New Hampshire, where he introduced biodiesel to the city’s diesel fleet. This was a standout move for a fleet in the extreme cold of New England. His commitment to alternative fuels extends to the proliferation of electric, propane, and natural gas vehicles in the Northeast. Russell is a key player in Alt Wheels, an annual alternative fuel vehicle event that has been running for more than 10 years. Russell collaborates with his peers to construct an impactful agenda of events that benefits all of the northeast. To read more about the winners’ accomplishments and see past award winners, visit the Clean Cities Hall of Fame.