Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow stops in Augusta

Friday, June 14, 2013 3:56 PM
Last updated 10:28 PM
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Joy Kramer wants as many people as possible to see the changing face of American transportation.

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A Ram 2500, the only pickup made by Chrysler to use compressed natural gas, is displayed at the third annual Georgia Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow in Augusta.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
A Ram 2500, the only pickup made by Chrysler to use compressed natural gas, is displayed at the third annual Georgia Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow in Augusta.

“We’re here to show what’s available – right now,” said Kramer, the tour director for the third annual Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow, which stopped Friday in Augusta.

Lined up outside the Georgia Regents University Alumni Center were vehicles powered or assisted by propane, biofuels, natural gas, electricity and compressed natural gas.

Newer technology, more cost-effective infrastructure and growing demand are pushing alternative fuel markets forward rapidly, with municipalities often taking the lead.

“Cities and municipalities are looking for ways to save taxpayers some money,” Kramer said. “We take a national conference down to a local level because small municipalities don’t always have the money to travel to large shows.”

In addition to lectures on cost, safety and maintenance, visitors were offered a look at the newest alternative-fuel vehicles that can travel longer distances.

“The performance is already there – absolutely,” Kramer said. “Range anxiety is what keeps people from the technology.”

Exhibitor Whitney Collins, of Georgia-based Force 911, explained the benefits of a Ford F-150 police vehicle outfitted with the company’s propane system, which can switch between gasoline and propane at the push of a button.

Although some cities with alternative-fuel fleets exempt law-enforcement vehicles for performance reasons, propane has a higher octane level than gasoline and has gotten excellent reviews, she said.

“It’s phenomenal how much it saves in fuel costs,” she said, adding that propane is a domestic product – with about 90 percent originating in North America – that can help reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Electric cars and hybrids are growing in popularity and becoming more cost-effective, said Mike Anderson, the sales manager for Efacec USA, which markets the newest generation of “fast chargers” for the electric and hybrid car market.

In addition to providing clean transportation without exhaust emissions, such vehicles are easy to maintain, Anderson said.

“There are no oil changes, no timing belts to replace – you just rotate the tires every 7,500 miles and add a few fluids, and that’s it,” he said, showing a new Nissan Leaf, which has a range of 65-70 miles between charges.

Financial incentives such as a $7,500 federal tax credit and a $5,000 Georgia tax credit, he added, have helped make such vehicles more attractive.

Currently, there are about 25,000 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles in use in the U.S. There are about 1,300 Leaf EVs in Georgia.

A U.S. factory for the Leaf was completed recently in Tennessee, which will increase the volume of electric cars available in the U.S.

Although most municipalities are interested in alternative-fuel vehicles, cost is always a primary factor, said Don Francis, the executive director of Clean Cities Atlanta, a partnership linked to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program.

Part of his role is to help municipal fleets shift to alternative fuel as cost-effective as possible.

“It has to be worthwhile financially,” he said. “If the financials don’t work, especially with a local government, it just doesn’t happen.”
There are 8,000 to 9,000 charging stations in the U.S., with as many as 40,000 anticipated by 2016.

The Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow was founded in Georgia by Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols and has spread throughout the Southeast.

Its next stops in Georgia are Valdosta on June 20 and Columbus on June 21.

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itsanotherday1
46883
Points
itsanotherday1 06/14/13 - 03:25 pm
2
0
Something like the Leaf would

Something like the Leaf would be the cat's whiskers for people commuting to Vogtle and SRS. provided there were charging stations at the work site.

I would jump on whatever bandwagon gave me what I have now, at a lower cost of operation/ownership. Money talks, greenieism walks.

Fiat_Lux
16245
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/14/13 - 04:28 pm
3
0
It would be nice, however,

trying to make things better by adding ethanol to gasoline was a total bummer for all except the oil companies.

It's pointless to do alternative fuels if the engines being put in vehicles aren't designed to burn them efficiently. Ethanol messes up most present-day engines and trashes gas mileage. It was nothing more than another way to rip off the American public.

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 06/14/13 - 08:58 pm
2
1
MPD

The only way to compare vehicle efficiency is to rate them by miles per dollar. When you do that, you find that diesel fuel wins the contest.

itsanotherday1
46883
Points
itsanotherday1 06/14/13 - 10:49 pm
1
0
Fiat, I'm right there with

Fiat, I'm right there with you. I keep a close eye on mpg, and it can vary by as much as 15%, depending on the ethanol content. I seem to do better with Shell for the most part. Kroger is hit and miss, and Walmart is the worst mpg for me. Your mileage may vary.

Riverrunner30909
149
Points
Riverrunner30909 06/15/13 - 02:47 am
0
0
itsanotherday1
Unpublished

Apparently you do not know much about the subject of MPG. It is not the ethanol that is making a difference in your mileage, it is the difference in the time you sit with your engine running from one day to another. Some days you have between 1% to 100% more Idle time on your engine than the day before and that time can never be made up by driving differently, every time you stop with engine running and not moving you are getting 0 MPG and that greatly and I do mean GREATLY affects your calculations.

Bodhisattva
6837
Points
Bodhisattva 06/15/13 - 04:58 am
2
0
We've had a couple of friends

We've had a couple of friends who've lived in Alaska. Electrical outlets are provided at parking spaces for engine heaters so during winter the whole thing isn't one big frozen block and a big worthless mess. There's no reason the same couldn't be done as charging stations for electric vehicles here.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 06/15/13 - 06:26 am
2
0
I wonder if people would be
Unpublished

I wonder if people would be OK with metered electrical outlets at work, of do they expect this service to be provided for free?

itsanotherday1
46883
Points
itsanotherday1 06/15/13 - 08:31 am
0
0
I would think that companies

I would think that companies who would benefit from reduced fossil fuel consumption would provide some kind of subsidy/incentive for employees to use EV's.

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