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101 Posts authored by: andrewklock Employee

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While Ford has gotten major points in the EV market with its environmentally-friendly sedans, Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Ford Focus Electric, not enough attention has been paid to the American automaker’s larger vehicles.

The Ford Transit Connect van, which has been sold in Europe for some time, is new to the U.S. market, but it came in with a bang—winning Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in 2010. The Transit van gets great mileage and is much lighter than similar vans, making it more environmentally-friendly to produce, and is also available in an electric model.

In addition, SAE reports that Ford has currently working with Azure Dynamics (its partner in developing the Transit Connect Electric) to develop a plug-in hybrid-electric Super Duty F-450/F-550, one of Ford’s biggest and hardiest trucks. Production of the hybrid models would likely start in 2014.

Illinois training

Continuing on our cross-country training expedition, the EV Safety Training team visited the Illinois Fire Service Institute to deliver a classroom train-the-trainer session to Illinois first responders. One hundred students were in attendance, and State Farm Insurance provided a Chevy Volt and an extricated Honda Insight, as well as a hybrid vehicle battery.

The great attendance at this training reveals just how anticipated—and important!—the EV Safety Training program is to first responders in all states, not just the areas that we associate with high EV density.

The next stop of the EV Safety Training tour is the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute on January 28. For more information, and to learn when we’re coming to your state, visit our calendar page

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Way back in October, we posted about the eTrans: an all-electric school bus created by Trans Tech Bus intended to cut the gas guzzled by school districts across the U.S. While the eTrans won’t be available until later in 2012, some school districts have decided to get the next best thing: hybrid school buses.

In Kentucky, Jefferson County Public Schools have purchased 18 hybrid school buses as “part of a statewide push to use more of the fuel-efficient vehicles to save money on gas,” according to WLKY. This brings the district’s hybrid bus total to fifty, more than any other school district in the country. Kentucky has almost 160 hybrid buses, which were purchased using federal stimulus money.

With approximately 26 million elementary and secondary school children riding school buses twice a day in the United States, it’s no surprise that school bus gas bills can easily eat their way through a state budget. With the increased gas mileage provided by hybrid models, schools can reduce their carbon footprint—and teach students that going green saves more than just the environment.

On January 10, Energy Secretary Steven Chu was at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to promote the Obama administration’s support for the domestic auto industry. The Auto Show has hosted the unveilings of several new hybrid and electric vehicle models, and including vehicles by American auto manufacturers like Ford, General Motors, and Tesla.

To coincide with Chu’s visit to Detroit, the Department of Energy has released a new video titled “Energy 101: Electric Vehicles.” The video briefly explains the basic technology behind electric vehicles, as well as highlighting some of the many perks and benefits to owning an EV. You can learn more about the video’s production and some of the other advantages to EV-ownership at the DOE website.

Marine_solar_power[1]The Army goes green! Lance Cpl. Dakota Hicks, from Laharpe, Ill., connects a radio battery to a portable solar panel communication system in Sangin District, in Afghanistan. (AP)

When we think of plug-in hybrids, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a Toyota Prius—not an armored military vehicle.

But according to Green Car Reports, the U.S. Army has just created a fully-armored plug-in vehicle, the FED Bravo: a fully-functional plug-in hybrid vehicle that offers as much protection to U.S. troops as the gas-guzzling Hummers traditionally used by the military.

The U.S. military is the largest worldwide consumer of oil, purchasing upwards of 150 million barrels per year. This dependence on oil is detrimental not only to the national budget, but to U.S. soldiers as well. According to a recent story on NPR, the mine-resistant vehicles that carry U.S. military personnel have a high human cost: for every 50 convoys accompanying fuel to U.S. bases, a Marine is killed or wounded while guarding a convoy. A high-safety, low-fuel vehicle like the FED Bravo might be just what the military needs.

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One of the best things about purchasing an electric vehicle is the number of tax credits that come with the car—a pretty decent perk, when you consider the price tag on some of these vehicles. But if you’ve been on the fence about buying an EV and are waiting for the right moment to make up your mind, you might want to act fast!

December 31 is officially the last day in which you can install an electric vehicle charging station in your home and be able to deduct some of the costs from your taxes. Other expiring tax credits include the cost of converting an existing vehicle from gasoline to plug-in powertrain and the credit on the cost of purchasing a two- or three-wheeled EV (such as the electric bicycles and mopeds coming in from China).

Despite these expiring deals, however, the electric car purchase Federal income tax credit remains safe for the near future—but it’s never too soon to take advantage!

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Back in September, we reported on the top five electric vehicle partnerships as reported by AOL Energy. Included in the list was Volvo, which partnered with Siemens to collaborate on developing new electric vehicle technologies.

On Tuesday, Volvo announced that it would be forming another relationship, this time with Eltek, a world leader in efficient electronics. According to Green Power Train, Eltek will be supplying on-board chargers to be incorporated into the vehicles being developed in Volvo’s EV program. The EV Powercharger 3000, which provides 96% power conversion efficiency, will reduce battery charge time and therefore lower charging costs.

Volvo has yet to release an all-electric vehicle, but does plan to release hybrid models of existing vehicles starting next year.

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Over the summer, we reported on the addition of seventy electric vehicles, including 50 Chevrolet Volts, to the official New York City fleet. Several Volts became NYPD patrol cars, marking the first foray into all-electric first responder cars. 

Now, New York is getting another electric boost with the addition of six Nissan LEAF vehicles to begin an electric taxi program. This is in keeping with Mayor Bloomberg’s 2007 announcement of a commitment to making all of New York City’s taxis either hybrid or electric as soon as possible. Four kinds of hybrid taxis have already taken to the city streets, and hybrids now make up 35% of the fleet. The Nissan LEAF, however, will be the first all-electric taxi of its kind.

Currently, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is implementing a plan to install electric vehicles in garages across the city in order to make New York’s infrastructure more electric-vehicle friendly. If New York’s steps to make the city more EV-friendly take root, hopefully it won’t be long before we see even more states and cities adding electric vehicles to their official fleets. 

In September, NFPA and SAE co-hosted the 2nd Annual Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summit in Detroit, Michigan. The Summit had several objectives, including reviewing the progress of electric vehicle technology, filling in gaps in codes, standards, and specifications that address the safety hazards associated with electric vehicles, and creating an action plan to continue research, training, and communication for electric vehicle safety.

The summary report from the Summit, prepared by Casey Grant, is currently available for download on our website. The report contains an executive summary of the Summit as well as more detailed information about the discussions and progress that took place over the course of the event.

 

On an accident scene, first responders have their hands full. They need to make sure the scene is safe for firefighters, police, and EMS personnel. They need to secure victims and possibly extricate them. They need to keep pedestrians and bystanders away from the accident scene while setting up barriers to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

With the long checklist of safety standards that first responders need to keep, it’s almost understandable that sometimes things get missed. However, remembering all safety precautions, and taking them, is one of the most important duties a first responder has. One of those safety precautions is making sure any vehicle involved in a crash is immobilized before beginning rescue or extinguishment procedures. If vehicles aren’t immobilized, the results can be disastrous—as seen in the video posted above, taken from an accident scene in Anthem, Arizona.

Electric Vehicle Safety Training emphasizes three major steps that must be taken before beginning extrication procedures on a vehicle scene: Identify (determine if the vehicle is a hybrid or electric model), Immobilize (this will ensure that the vehicle will not move unexpectedly and potentially injure someone), and Disable (power down the vehicle and prevent it from being turned on again accidentally). Yet these steps are not just critical for first responders addressing a hybrid or electric vehicle incident—the Identify, Immobilize, Disable step system is necessary when responding to any vehicle accident.

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Joining the ranks of other auto manufacturers who have combined forces to enhance EV technology, Toyota and BMW have announced a plan to collaborate for the development of hybrid systems and diesel technology.

This collaboration will likely prove beneficial to both sides of the deal. BMW has been working on its hybrid technology and is known for its diesel vehicles, while Toyota has been in the hybrid game for over a decade, since it released the first generation Prius almost twelve years ago.

According to Nitro Bahn, both companies are excited about the relationship. While BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofer is looking forward to the “development of environment-friendly technologies and the expansion of sales”, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is especially pleased about the sharing of knowledge and cooperation between the companies.

This collaboration will likely prove beneficial to both sides of the deal. BMW has been working on its hybrid technology and is known for its diesel vehicles, while Toyota has been in the hybrid game for over a decade, since it released the first generation Prius almost twelve years ago.

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It’s not news that hybrid vehicles leave their conventional-fuel competitors in the dust when it comes to fuel economy. But according to a new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute, it looks like the batteries and electric motors make hybrid vehicles safer, too.

In a study of 25 vehicles that featured both typical and hybrid powertrains from 2003 to 2011, the Highway Loss Data Institute found that 27% of occupants are less likely to be injured in a car crash in the hybrid version of the vehicle. That’s a huge percentage. According to the study, there are multiple reasons why the hybrid version might have been safer, but the vehicle’s weight likely played the most critical role. Heavier vehicles have been proven safer to occupants than lighter vehicles, because the heavier vehicle will transfer force to the lighter vehicle due to the added mass. The heavy batteries and electric motors used in hybrid vehicles gives them a weight boost over conventional-fuel models.

This is not only good news for occupants of the vehicle, but for insurance companies as well: hybrids need 25% less personal injury protection than their typical counterparts.

The HLDI also found that hybrid vehicles could present a higher danger to pedestrians due to their lack of engine sound. However, President Obama signed a law in early 2011 requiring all new hybrid and electric vehicles to have some sort of noise system to alert pedestrians, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working on adjusting the law to require EVs to have pedestrian-alerting sounds on whenever the car is in motion.

66154558[1]Los Angeles Mayor Anotonio Villaraigosa with the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas which has been named 2012 Green Car of the Year at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show. (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times / November 7, 2011)

Premiering this week, the LA Auto Show, the first North American auto show of the season, will set the tone for the rest of the year. And while green cars often make an appearance at the LA show, catering to California’s eco-friendly drivers, this year there are more than 70 alternative fuel and high-efficiency vehicles on display.

Of those vehicles, five are in the running for the Green Car of the Year award. Nominated by Green Car Journal editors, the finalists included the Ford Focus Electric, the Honda Civic Natural Gas, the Mitsubishi I, the Toyota Prius V, and the Volkswagon Passat TDI. On Thursday morning, the Civic took home the prize, joining last year’s winner, the Chevrolet Volt.

The five finalists represent multiple types of alternative fuels: electricity, natural gas, gas-electric hybrids, and diesel fuel. “This year’s Green Car of the Year finalists underscore that there is no single solution to our transportation challenges,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com, in a written statement. 

This myriad of choices represents a lot of options for consumers. But that isn’t a bad thing. According to Medill Reports, “It all comes back to fuel efficiency. The survey showed that 83 percent of its respondents said they would be willing to pay more for a more fuel efficient vehicle and listed cost savings as the No. 1 motivator with environmental friendliness coming in at No. 2.”

With the growing availability of different types and capabilities of alternative-fuel vehicles—and the subsequent increases of the numbers of those vehicles on the road—it’s becoming more and more important to have first responders who are well-trained in addressing all types of vehicles. That’s why EV Safety Training is committed to educating every first responder in the country: to keep  you driving green, and driving safe.

andrewklock

Leaf alert!

Posted by andrewklock Employee Nov 7, 2011

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On Friday, the EV Safety Training team headed into Cambridge for a showing of Revenge of the Electric Car, which you might remember hearing about here at our blog. On our way out, we caught sight of a Nissan Leaf, just hanging out in the parking lot!

Revenge of the Electric Car is currently showing in select theaters around the country. It’s an excellent film, and we at EV Safety really recommend it.

Have you spotted a new EV in your area? Tell us about it in the comments! 

andrewklock

EV Standards 101

Posted by andrewklock Employee Oct 28, 2011

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With the number of electric vehicles on the roads growing, it’s becoming very clear that here in the United States we don’t yet have the infrastructure needed to support all-electric roads. In addition to a lack of available charging stations, education and training of first responders and auto workers also needs to be addressed.

Fortunately, the American National Standards Institute is on the job, and has created the Electric Vehicles Standards Panel, known as the EVSP. The EVSP will be charged with establishing standardization suggestions that will allow for safe and supported electric vehicle growth in the United States.

Jim Pauley, co-chair of the EVSP and senior vice president of external affairs and government relations for Schneider Electric, sat down with FenderBender to discuss the EVSP’s mission and goals. Check out the full interview!

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