Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – June 22

Happy Friday!  Yesterday, we celebrated the longest day of the year and feel blessed with plentiful sunshine that can power our homes AND our cars.  This week, SACE’s Dory Larsen attended one of the leading EV conferences in the country, EV Roadmap, hosted annually by Forth.  Forth is leading electric mobility efforts in the northwest U.S.  This year’s conference highlighted the Transportation Electrification Accord, which we wrote about earlier in the week here.

In other key news this week, the ride-sharing company, Uber,  announced a new EV pilot program. They will work with seven cities in the U.S. to expand electric vehicles and EV charging. UPS is also expanding its EV fleet. They placed a new order of 950 Workhorse electric delivery trucks.

In infrastructure news, Tesla Opens its 10,000th Supercharger. The company has been adding 14 charging stalls per day to its network for the last 7 months. Georgia Power also continues to offer rebates for installing charging stations at your homes and businesses. To get the details, click here. Read more…

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Transportation Electrification Accord Launched

Today, the Transportation Electrification Accord (Accord) was officially launched in Portland, Oregon at the EV Roadmap 11 conference. The Transportation Electrification Accord is a set of guiding principles for promoting transportation electrification.

Why is it needed?

The transportation sector is now the #1 source of carbon emissions in the United States, and transportation electrification offers an immediate opportunity to cut those emissions and to support the electricity grid.  The principles outlined in the Accord provide guidance for utilities, utility regulators, and local and state decision makers about how transportation electrification can be advanced to benefit all utility customers and users of all forms of transportation.

Electrifying the transportation sector provides multiple benefits to all consumers (including the socioeconomically disadvantaged). Based on local analysis, expanding the number of electric vehicles can create new jobs and income for states, as well as provide grid services, and cut air pollution and greenhouse gases.

Not only should more consumers adopt electric vehicles (EVs), but there are increasing options for transitioning medium and heavy-duty vehicles like transit buses and delivery trucks, which emit high levels of harmful pollutants in the air. This offers significant opportunities for municipalities, state fleets and businesses to transition their fleets, save millions of dollars on fuel and maintenance costs and reduce their environmental impacts. Read more…

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Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – June 15

Today marks the kickoff of one of the world’s most unifying events, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association FIFA World Cup in Russia!  I’m hoping to see some electric car ads while cheering along.  Still looking for that perfect Father’s Day gift? How about an Iceland national team shirt?  We may as well throw some support to the underdog nation as America is not in the cup this year.  While we’re cheering them on with friends, be sure you share some of this week’s EV news:


Team Volvo
Volvo is predicting half of their registrations to be full-electric by the mid-2020s.  This week Volvo announced new financial and operational ambitions including far more electrification, subscription service offerings, and a pivot away from traditional industry events.  

Team Kia
Could the Kia Niro EV be the next best selling EV?  The South Korean SUV is looking to be a game changer! With two trims offering 236 or 149 all-electric miles it’s surely one to watch.

Team Tesla
Tesla has announced $100/kWh Tesla battery cells this year and $100/kWh Tesla battery packs in 2020 which would mean EVs will be able to competitively compete in the ‘economy’ range of the market (around the $15,000 price point) by 2023.

Also, Tesla is currently recycling all of its spent batteries and intends to do more using a closed-loop system for battery recycling at all production plants.  

Team Honda
Check out this blog interview with Melissa, a proud new owner of a Honda Clarity. Read her testimony of the benefits of this plug-in hybrid vehicle which has a 48-mile all-electric range.

Team Texas
Texas has reinstated incentives for electric and alternative fuel cars!  Here’s hoping this welcome news will spread to nearby states and we will see a return of Georgia’s tax credit in 2019 too.

Team Georgia
Mark your calendars!  Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols is hosting the Clean Energy Roadshow. Upcoming dates and more information are available here.

Team USA
Has your senator ever driven an electric car? Does your senator know how fun it is to drive electric, how quiet the cars are, and how smooth the acceleration is? Now is his/her chance! Our partners at Plug In America are hosting a ride and drive on June 28th on Capitol Hill.  Encourage your senator to attend the event and learn more about why electric transportation is good for the economy and the environment.  

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Hurricanes and Climate Change in South Florida: Brainstorming Solutions

At a community gathering at Miami’s CIC, Radical Partners announced “100 Great Ideas” focused on crowdsourcing climate resilience and sustainability solutions.

Click on the image above to see the live Facebook video.

On Tuesday, a diverse group of South Florida residents gathered at the Miami Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) for a presentation from Senior NASA Scientist, Dr. Timothy Hall, on the impact of climate change on hurricanes. The forum presented an opportunity for a community discussion about tangible solutions to increase resiliency. South Florida residents, policymakers and community leaders have growing concerns about climate change and sea level rise, which is already causing problems in region.

At the event, social impact accelerator Radical Partners announced its latest 100 Great Ideas campaign — focusing on climate resilience and sustainability — for the first time, offering a way for community members to brainstorm solutions beyond the event.

The organization’s 100 Great Ideas campaigns are five-day community brainstorms that take place via Facebook and allow the public to crowdsource solutions to pressing community issues. Radical Partners then uses all of the ideas to build a report, which is shared widely with the community, including elected officials and community leaders.

NASA senior scientist Dr. Timothy Hall presented the latest science on the impact of climate change on hurricanes at the event, including increasing hurricane intensity, the upper limits of hurricane strength, and how climate change affects storm surge, coastal flooding and precipitation patterns. Hall noted that the “speed limit” of hurricanes is increasing as the atmosphere warms.

“There will be more Category 3, Category 4, Category 5 storms — the major hurricanes,” he said. “In fact, there will be storms that achieve intensity levels never seen before historically.”

It’s not about the frequency of hurricanes, Hall said, but rather the “likelihood of achieving very high categories among the storms that do form.”

But what can we do about climate change? We have three choices, Hall says: “We have mitigation, which is to try to bend down the warming curve by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels; we have adaptation, which is re-incentivizing coastal development — sea walls and the like. The third choice is sort of the de facto choice: We have suffering.”

Read more…

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Clarity Affords Savings For This EV Driver

Last month, AAA released a survey showing that 20% of Americans (50 million) are likely to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) for their next vehicle. Eighty percent of respondents said that the primary motivator for making the transition to electric was a concern for the environment. Following closely, the second motivating factor for Americans’ shift to electric is cost. Two-thirds of the respondents to the AAA survey cited lower fuel and maintenance costs as a factor for going electric. As more Americans are informed about the financial and environmental benefits, it is anticipated that those numbers will increase.  

Electrify the South seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of electric vehicles and offers a wide variety of informational opportunities to educate and empower Southerners about cleaner transportation choices. The information we share in our outreach recently sparked the interest of an event participant who had been considering a new car for her family. Check out the story below of new EV owner, Melissa Gallivan, and thoughts she recently shared with me about making the switch to electric. Read more…

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Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – June 8, 2018

This week has seen historical commitments to electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). In California, the Public Service Commission approved Investor Owned Utilities’ plans to invest $750 million dollars in EV charging and rebate proposals. The revolutionary plan to advance the electrification of the transportation system is being hailed as “one of the largest and most well-thought-out approaches to advancing electrification of vehicles.” Read more…

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Save Money With an Energy Efficient Home

Did you know? Going green can actually save you some green! Here are a few tips on how to upgrade your home to keep more money in your wallet:

Know before you buy!

Helpful video from Duke Energy on energy efficient improvements for homeowners!

Home energy audits are widely available from utilities in the Southeast. Call your utility to see if they offer a home energy audit and what qualifications your auditor may have. Most audits go a little something like this – A utility representative comes to your home, walks around your home checking for air leaks, examining your insulation levels, checking your appliances and more! This is a helpful (and oftentimes free!) evaluation that will identify where some upgrades are needed to eventually save you money on your utility bill. And keep in mind, the cleanest form of energy is actually the kilowatt you don’t use!

Learn what incentives are available to cut your upfront costs

There are all sorts of incentives for energy efficiency products and services that may be available to you. These incentives are designed to assist with the upfront cost of energy efficiency improvements and will make your investments that much more cost-effective. Start with the federal tax incentives being offered for items such as insulation, windows, and heating and air conditioning systems. Then check you local utility for incentives or low interest financing that might be offered for products that meet certain efficiency standards. By taking advantage of these incentives to maximize your home’s efficiency, you’ll be saving money and the environment in no time.

Lighting and Appliances

Energy efficient lighting and Energy Star appliances are among the easiest and most cost-effective steps you can take to save energy and reduce global warming pollution. Lighting improvements are the easiest place to start. If you’ve only tried one or two CFL lightbulbs, go ahead and upgrade the rest of your house. Make sure you start with the lights you use most often (closet lights can wait until last).

Energy Star is the key label to watch for when choosing which energy-using appliance or device to purchase for your home. When you’ve chosen your Energy Star product, don’t keep the old one in operation – have it recycled! That old refrigerator in your basement that you use to cool a few drinks costs far more to operate than the new one in your kitchen. Who knows, the cold drink you enjoy from that refrigerator may actually weigh less than the carbon dioxide produced to keep it cold!

If you want some professional guidance to help you identify what cost-effective steps you can take to save energy in your home, consider contacting your utility for a home energy audit.

Other Things to Consider Upgrading

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Pres. Trump Defies Free Market Principles and Moves to Force Consumers to Pay for Uneconomic Power

President Donald Trump is preparing to issue a bailout for uneconomic coal and nuclear plants by forcing grid operators to buy their power, even though it is more expensive than alternatives. As renewable energy and natural gas has become very inexpensive, some coal and nuclear plants can no longer compete economically and are retiring early unless heavy-handed intervention, such as what was just proposed by the Administration, comes to the “rescue.” The Administration claims that the retirement of these plants is a national security emergency, although there seems to be little factual basis for this claim. To this end, the President ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to stop the early retirement of these uneconomic plants.

The move to mandate the purchase of electricity from old, uneconomic sources and guarantee revenue to the power plant owners has been described as an unprecedented intervention into energy markets. The Administration is trying to prop up proven losers, regardless of the negative impacts to the free market and utility customers.

SACE’s Executive Director, Stephen A. Smith, said of the idea of the proposal, written about last month in USA Today, that it “would be like the whalers of the 1800s trying to use national defense as a justification to continue to defend whale oil as a lighting source against the light bulb.”

This is not the first time that the Administration has sought to squelch free market competition by bailing out old, risky, uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. Last fall, they tried to prop up the industry by proposing a subsidy to the plants citing unfounded “grid resilience” concerns, which could have cost U.S. consumers billions of dollars annually and contributed to harmful pollution. Fortunately, the last bailout attempt was rejected unanimously by federal regulators, comprised mostly of Trump appointees.

The fact of the matter is that renewable energy is now the least expensive electricity available in the country. Coal and nuclear cannot compete with cheap renewables and gas. The Trump Administration, in its pledge to prop up the failing coal and nuclear industry, is throwing spaghetti at the wall in the hope that something, however suspect its factual basis, sticks. First it was “grid reliability” and now it is “national defense.” We call foul.

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Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – June 1, 2018

This week’s roundup of electric vehicle (EV) news is all about technology!  While today’s EVs are inherently considered ‘high tech’, some of their features may really surprise you.

For example, it’s incredible to think that for the first time ever, a fleet of vehicles, spread across the country, was able to receive updates over-the-air, enabling a fix to their braking system.  Well, that’s exactly what Tesla just did.  Tesla’s virtual fix to the Model 3s earned them a previously unattained ‘Recommendation’ from Consumer Reports.

Here’s another first time ever — a muscle car ad that feels compelled to add among its hyperbole, “the world’s fastest 0-100-mph production car,” a disclaimer that it’s not really.  The Dodge Challenger Demon Ad added fine print that its claim doesn’t apply to electric vehicles. That’s a gas, am I right?
Read more…

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Hurricanes and Climate Change – What We Know for 2018 Season

Hurricane season officially begins today and runs through November. This is the six month period when hurricanes typically occur in the Atlantic. Forecasts for the 2018 hurricane season indicate that it will likely be a near-normal year, with neither an exceptionally high or low amount of Atlantic hurricane activity. This may sound like a relief, coming out of the devastating hurricane season last year, which killed hundreds or thousands on the mainland U.S. and in Puerto Rico and caused more than $200 billion in property damage, but it is important to remember that it only takes one bad storm, even in an inactive year, to wreak havoc. For example, Hurricane Andrew was a category 5 hurricane that made landfall near Miami, FL in the midst of an inactive year. And even this potentially near-normal year will unfortunately have plenty of storms to worry about. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts “a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).” For reference, “An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.”

The beginning of the season is a good time to make sure you and your family are prepared for hurricane impacts, should one threaten your area. See hurricane preparedness tips here. But in addition to making sure our households are prepared for the short-term forecast of hurricanes this season, we must also make sure our communities are prepared for the impacts of hurricanes in the long term, by seeking to understand how hurricane risk may change in the years to come and how we can avoid the worst outcomes.

This week, we hosted a webinar with NASA Senior Scientist Timothy Hall, who updated us on the latest scientific understanding of how climate change is already making hurricanes more destructive and how global warming will continue to increase the intensity of hurricanes in the future. You can watch a recording of the full webinar here (also embedded in the last image below), but I’ll try to summarize the main points. Read more…

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