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: Southern Nevada Strong Coalition Showcases Electric Vehicles

Southern Nevada Strong Coalition Showcases Electric Vehicles

09 Mar

Marie Steele, Manager of EVs and Renewable Energy at NV Energy, Leads Tour of Electric Vehicles at Southern Nevada Strong event

Marie Steele, Manager of EVs and Renewable Energy at NV Energy, Leads Tour of Electric Vehicles at Southern Nevada Strong event

On March 8th, the Southern Nevada Strong coalition hosted an educational discussion about electric vehicles. The event was organized by Marie Steele, Manager of Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energy at NV Energy, with support from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy and the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission.

Electric School Bus Showcased by Adomani

Electric School Bus Showcased by Adomani

Electric School Bus Specifications by Adomani

Electric School Bus Specifications by Adomani

NAVYA autonomous electric shuttle bus exhibited by Keolis

NAVYA autonomous electric shuttle bus exhibited by Keolis

The location of the EV presentation was at the Mobility Training Center of the RTC in Las Vegas and featured electric buses from Proterra, NAVYA, GreenPower Bus, and Adomani, as well as electric cars from Nissan, Tesla, and BMW.

Nissan Regional EV Sales Manager Valerie Kornahrens and Roland Lewis, Fleet Sales Manager from United Nissan explain features of Nissan LEAF.

Nissan Regional EV Sales Manager Valerie Kornahrens and Roland Lewis, Fleet Sales Manager from United Nissan explain features of Nissan LEAF.

Ahern Energy provided portable solar-powered trailers that supported a ChargePoint AC Level 2 charging station to replenish the battery packs of the vehicles on display while parked.

Ahern Energy portable solar-powered trailer can recharge electric cars and also feature programmable advertising on a digital billboard display.

Ahern Energy portable solar-powered trailer can recharge electric cars and also feature programmable advertising on a digital billboard display.

NV Energy electrified fleet service truck

NV Energy electrified fleet service truck

NV Energy also showcased some of its electric-powered fleet vehicles, including a tool truck and a service rig with an electric cherry-picker lift basket.

Discussion Panel and Speakers

Introductory speakers included Tina Quigley, General Manager of the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission, Joe Reynolds, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, and Pat Egan, Senior Vice President of Renewable Energy and Smart Infrastructure at NV Energy.

Reynolds emphasized efforts by Governor Brian Sandoval’s administration to make the state friendly to electric vehicles at all levels of government as part of his vision for a New Nevada economy. PUC Commissioner Paul Thomsen is leading an investigatory effort to solicit suggestions for regulation reform from the Nevada EV community that will encourage ownership and transportation of these vehicles within the state.

Pat Egan, Senior VP of Renewable Energy and Smart Infrastrucuture at NV Energy introduces EV discussion panel at Southern Nevada Strong event.

Pat Egan, Senior VP of Renewable Energy and Smart Infrastrucuture at NV Energy introduces EV discussion panel at Southern Nevada Strong event.

Egan, a former member of the Oregon Transportation Commission, saw the benefits of promoting electric vehicles in that state, in order to make it a leader in EV technology adoption. These included reduced pollutant emissions, improved health environment, cheaper quality transportation, support for vehicle electrification, and development of strategic charging station infrastructure.

Egan noted NV Energy efforts to increase EVSE infrastructure through a Shared Investment Program begun in 2012 that helped build out partnerships with host sites to stage ChargePoint EVSE around urban areas of Las Vegas and Reno. Since 2013, the connected ChargePoint systems have recorded 95,000 charging sessions statewide that have reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Nevada by 300 tons over three years.

Three discussion panel sessions during the morning event informed the attending audience about the latest statewide developments concerning electric vehicles and EV supply equipment infrastructure, as well as opportunities for fleet electrification.

Marie Steele, Manager of Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energy at NV Energy moderated discussion panels

Marie Steele, Manager of Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energy at NV Energy moderated discussion panels

EV Marketplace and the Nevada Economy

The first discussion panel, that focused on the EV marketplace and Nevada economy, was moderated by Marie Steele of NV Energy and featured Daniel Witt, Senior Manager of Business Development and Policy at Tesla, Inc. and Alejandro Zamorano, Clean Energy and Advanced Transportation Analyst at Bloomberg.

Steele noted that there were 2,896 registered plug-in electric vehicles through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles as of December 2016, that included 1,548 battery-powered EVs and 1,348 plug-in hybrid EVs. Total EV penetration was about 0.47 percent, compared to over 3 percent registration of plug-in electric vehicles within California.

However about 40 percent of the 43 million visitors to southern Nevada each year drive their vehicles from California, according to Tina Quigley of the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission.

Nevada road and highway usage by these vehicles is not yet being compensated in the same manner as gasoline pump taxes are levied, to provide funds for roadway maintenance. As more EVs become available on Nevada roads and highways, some means will eventually need to be developed for EV drivers to pay their fair share.

Zamorano from Bloomberg highlighted his company’s financial analysis of the EV market globally, showing that global sales popped during the fourth quarter of 2016, with over 200,000 vehicles sold worldwide, a 55 percent increase over Q4 in 2015.

Bloomberg is projecting that one million plug-in electric vehicles will be sold worldwide during 2017, with a majority of sales in the Asia Pacific region and the two Americas. China is projected to have the largest growth in EV sales during 2017, while US growth will be steady but not as steep.

Factors that affect buyers to purchase EVs include fuel efficiency, technology, and mobility. Bloomberg predicts more US fleet sales of electric vehicles by 2025 with a total EV penetration of 5 to 8 percent. Zamorano felt that from 2022 to 2028 there would be an inflection point, where fleet operation costs of electric vehicles would be the same or cheaper than operational costs for vehicles with internal combustion engines.

This would be accomplished through reduction of lithium-ion battery pack costs for EVs due to economies of scale and improved battery cell chemistry that should drive costs below $90 per kilowatt-hour for EV battery packs.

For consumers, EVs compete well in the mid-price range, as well as for SUVs and premium cars, but do not yet compete well in the sub-compact car marketplace.

Tesla Model X is recharged from ChargePoint CT4000 mounted on an Ahern Energy solar-powered trailer.

Tesla Model X is recharged from ChargePoint CT4000 mounted on an Ahern Energy solar-powered trailer.

Daniel Witt from Tesla, Inc. emphasized that the Gigafactory in Storey County, Nevada is on the leading edge of battery development to help drive down lithium-ion battery pack prices. Tesla is now a Nevada company, employing over 1000 people within its Gigafactory, with another 2000 construction employees working to complete full build-out of the facility.

Tesla Model S featured at Southern Nevada Strong EV showcase.

Tesla Model S featured at Southern Nevada Strong EV showcase.

The Gigafactory is the key driver component for Tesla to be able to scale production of its Model 3, Model S and Model X electric cars at its Fremont factory in California from 80,000 vehicles a year to 500,000 vehicles a year by 2020.

Witt felt that since battery pack prices were dropping to allow more EVs to travel 200 – 300 miles range between charging cycles, the rest of the world has been starting to catch on to the innovative advantages of electric vehicle technologies. New electric car buyers worldwide are not just early adopters anymore, but also include mainstream automotive consumers from Middle East oil-production states like the United Arab Emirates. China and Europe have also been growing their EV markets, along with new investments in recharging station infrastructure.

Nevada Goals, Policies and Resources

Marie Steele moderates discussion panel with Joe Perreira, Staff Engineer at Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and Angela Dykema, Director of the Nevada Governor's Office of Energy.

Marie Steele moderates discussion panel with Joe Perreira, Staff Engineer at Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and Angela Dykema, Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy.

The second panel discussion of the morning, entitled “State Goals, Policies and Resources”, also moderated by Marie Steele of NV Energy, featured Angela Dykema, Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy and Joe Perreira, Staff Engineer at the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

Steele emphasized that the NV Energy utility generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure in southern Nevada was designed to accommodate the hottest days of summer, when demand for HVAC cooling systems is at a peak in every building across the region.

Much of that electricity generation and transmission infrastructure capacity goes unused during the rest of the year and during the nighttime hours. The adoption of electric vehicles would allow for more efficient usage of those resources during off-peak hours, when EVs are normally recharging at night.

Steele emphasized that 80 percent of southern Nevada drivers commute less than 30 miles per day.
Workplace charging infrastructure and fleet electrification are big growth opportunities for the southern Nevada economy.

The NV Energy fleet is moving in that direction, with 100 electrified fleet vehicles currently in operation statewide. NV Energy can be a resource for other fleet managers in the state who would like to compare costs and benefits of fleet electrification.

Angela Dykema from the Governor’s Office of Energy highlighted Governor Sandoval’s published Strategy Planning Framework Goals. One of the goals is to “become the nation’s leading producer and consumer of clean and renewable energy”.

Nevada Electric Highway Phase II.

Nevada Electric Highway Phase II.

To help accomplish this goal, the Governor’s Office of Energy is promoting and funding a Nevada Electric Highway system that has been planned for completion by 2020.

Map of Nevada Electric Highway Phase II "Gateway East"

Map of Nevada Electric Highway Phase II “Gateway East”

DC Fast Charge stations installed at strategically-located sites along Nevada highways every 100 miles would enable electric vehicle owners to travel across the state, as well as to neighboring states of California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Arizona.

Seventeen state governors are leading this effort to build out a network of EV recharging stations nationwide.

The first leg of the Nevada Electric Highway system between Las Vegas and Reno on US Highway 95 should be completed by the end of summer this year, enabling DC Fast Charge station recharging points at Beatty, Tonopah, Hawthorne and Fallon, in order to connect the two largest urban areas of the state.

Phase II of the program will build out additional recharging station sites that will connect to surrounding states along highways I-80, US-50, US-95 and I-15. Governors in Utah and Colorado have agreed to align with Nevada to develop “Gateway East” corridors with strategically-located recharging station infrastructure.

Some of the funding for these recharging stations may come from Volkswagen, who is settling lawsuits brought by the US Federal Trade Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice, regarding misrepresentation of its diesel vehicle emissions for nitrogen oxide, or NOx, from 2009 – 2015.

Joe Perreira from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection talked about federal money available from a Volkswagen Mitigation Trust fund, that was available to fleet owners who would like to trade up their older diesel engines and vehicles for newer, more modern engines or vehicles with cleaner emissions systems.

Under the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), the state normally receives about $120,000 per year for this program. During 2017, there is still $90,000 worth of funds available that fleet managers can apply for.

Once the US court system has appointed a federal trustee to manage the VW Mitigation Trust fund during the next few months, additional money from this program can become available to fleet managers. Perreira estimated that these funds could be as high as $25 million allocated to Nevada over the next ten years.

However, if fleet managers would like to upgrade to electrified vehicles in place of existing diesel vehicles, there is a second Zero Emission Vehicle Investment Fund from Volkswagen, that is promoting an “Electrify America” program.

ZEV funds are available for fleet managers to increase fleet electrification, as well as for states to build EV charging station infrastructure across the country, in the areas of workplace charging, long-distance corridor development, and educational outreach.

During the 2017 Nevada legislative session in Carson City, the NDEP has formed a Nevada Advisory Committee on Control of Emissions for Motor Vehicles. The committee consists of interested stakeholders, who are working to develop beneficiary certification plans that would be eligible for funding from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust fund and the “Electrify America” program.

One plan by the Governor’s Office of Energy is to increase educational outreach, fleet electrification and EV infrastructure around large travel centers like McCarran Airport, that processes millions of visitors each year through its airline terminal gates. The electrification of rental car fleets at McCarran Airport could be accompanied by educational advertising campaigns and EV recharging station infrastructure in the airport parking lots.

Examples of electric buses and trucks were showcased in the parking lot of the RTC Mobility Training Center during the event.

A GreenPower Bus was exhibited by Adomani.

A GreenPower Bus was exhibited by Adomani.

Dykema emphasized that the Governor’s Office of Energy is continuing to look for grant funding for these programs through the US Dept. of Energy and US Dept. of Transportation. She encouraged fleet managers to coordinate with the GOE on any fleet electrification projects they might be considering.

Green Fleet Solutions for Nevada

The third panel discussion of the morning, “Take Charge: Green Fleet Solutions for Nevada”, was moderated by Jennifer Taylor, Director of the Clean Energy Project, with panelists David Perterson, Director of Fleet Solutions at ChargePoint, Tom Polikalis, Nevada Director for the South West Energy Efficiency Program (SWEEP), and Roland Cordero, Fleet Manager for Foothill Transit,a public bus transit system for 14 million riders each year that covers 22 cities in the San Diego Valley of California and parts of Los Angeles.

Taylor began the discussion by stating that Clark County, Nevada is ranked 15th among all counties in the US for Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions that create smog. NOx emissions can be deadly because they create particles that can be absorbed inside people’s lungs and are mostly produced locally from high-temperature diesel engine emissions and coal-burning power plants. Closing the local Reid Gardner coal power generation plant by 2019 will help clean up some of the air but using alternative-fuel vehicles and electricity to fuel local delivery trucks and cars can do even more.

Tom Polikalis of SWEEP cited three policy measures that could assist in enabling more electric vehicles in southern Nevada: encourage EV-ready building codes, electric vehicle fleet purchases and group discount purchase plans for consumers.

Proterra FC model electric bus can accommodate fast charge connections at each passenger loading station.

Proterra FC model electric bus can accommodate fast charge connections at each passenger loading station.

Roland Cordero noted that Foothill Transit has grown its electric bus system from one pilot electric bus project during 2010 to expand to 30 buses in its fleet by the end of 2017. Motivation for the program came from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that mandated Zero Emission Vehicles be implemented in public transit programs.

Los Angeles has the worst air quality in the nation and there was ample motivation to try to meet ZEV guidelines in this region to improve general health for all the population, including the 14 million riders on the Foothill Transit system every year.

Electricity is currently the only fuel that complies to CARB standards for zero emission vehicles.

Cordero began evaluating a Proterra electric bus in his pilot program and found that the Pomona boarding station was a good midpoint for a recharging site that could refuel an electric bus.

After successful testing, Cordero added 14 more Proterra buses to his transit system, some that included high-speed interlock charging that could replenish the capacity of the bus battery pack to 70 percent state-of-charge in just one hour.

According to Cordero, the electric buses have been reliable and also save his program about 25 percent in maintenance costs or about $160,000 per year because of fewer material supplies needed.

After putting 27,000 miles per month and over a million miles on his electric bus fleet by 2017, Cordero was convinced of the viability of switching his entire public transit fleet to electric buses by 2030.

ChargePoint Express Plus DC Fast Charge System will employ up to eight 50-kW modules to provide as much as 400 kw of charging speed.

ChargePoint Express Plus DC Fast Charge System will employ up to eight 50-kW modules to provide as much as 400 kw of charging speed.

David Peterson from ChargePoint mapped out some strategies for electrification that fleet managers might take to develop a five-year implementation plan:

1. Know Your Fleet: In order to evaluate energy savings and opportunities for recharging electric fleet vehicles, managers should study average fleet miles per day, individual routes, length of time that vehicle is parked, analyze each vehicle’s telematics information. By evaluating how long a vehicle is parked, the amount of power required can be minimized locally.

2. Know Your Electric Power Infrastructure: Evaluate electrical panel and transformer infrastructure in fleet coverage region, and consider utility Time-Of-Use rate programs to purchase electricity at the cheapest cost.

3. Implement: Develop a five-year implementation plan for investment in electric vehicles and electric vehicle supply equipment. Is funding available to implement changes all at once or should fleet electrification be phased in gradually by leveraging as much existing electric power infrastructure as possible?

Peterson cited a case study example of a fleet manager who wanted to phase in 70 electric cars over five years, but only had budget for eight vehicles during the first year. When looking at his power panel resources, he had enough remaining unused circuitry for 160 Amps for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

Normally, a standard SAE J1772 AC Level 2 recharging station from ChargePoint, that can deliver 30 Amps of electrical current, requires a 40-amp circuit breaker. This would allow an existing panel, with 160 Amperes of current available, to normally just host four AC Level 2 ChargePoint stations for eight vehicles. However, because ChargePoint dual-port stations have a power-sharing capability, four Chargepoint stations with two plugs each could accommodate all eight vehicles on just 160 Amps of power.

By planning early and working with the EVSE vendor, cost-effective electric vehicle infrastructure can be implemented over time to achieve planning goals. Peterson emphasized that fleet managers should leverage existing power and route efficiencies before spending budget money.

Peterson also emphasized that EVSE systems should be scalable over time, especially as new EVs with bigger battery packs will require quicker charging systems.

The Southern Nevada Strong event was also profiled in the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Review-Journal:

https://lasvegassun.com/news/2017/mar/09/summit-promotes-more-electric-vehicles-on-nevadas/

http://www.reviewjournal.com/traffic/nevada-officials-planning-charging-stations-electric-vehicles

Blog posted by Stan Hanel, NEVA Outreach Coordinator

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