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Alternative Fueled Vehicles Gaining Popularity in Georgia | Solar Energy USA Blog Archive

Alternative Fueled Vehicles Gaining Popularity in Georgia

Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 at 5:22 pm by Solar Energy USA
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June 2013 marked the start of the second annual Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow in Georgia. The AFV Roadshow Tour is a statewide, 8-city vehicle showcase and series of presentations on the economics and practicality of implementing alternative fuel transportation solutions. Open to the public, the roadshow displays innovative advancements in transportation and spotlights the ability of moving vehicles and fleets with fuels other than petroleum such as natural gas, propane, biofuels and electricity.

Solar Energy USA had the pleasure of attending a recent AFV Roadshow “stop” in Buckhead (Atlanta) Georgia.  A number of unique and exciting cars, trucks, and vans were on display, all of which arrived at the venue without burning a single drop of gasoline. Below are some pictures of the AFVs on hand at the recent show:

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In addition to an alternative fuel vehicle showoff, the event also featured a seminar and a number of speakers with many years of experience working with alternative fuels.

GA Public Service Commissioners Chuck Eaton and Tim Echols were on hand to participate in the event. Eaton drove his plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt, while Echols arrived in an all-electric Nissan Leaf. Commenting on the popularity of electric vehicles (and his personal experiences driving a Leaf) Commissioner Echols stated that though the technology is not flawless, it is important for Georgians to begin adopting the technology so that improvements in technology can be made as we learn more and more.

clean-cities-atlanta-logo-alt-fuel-vehiclesDon Francis of Clean Cities Atlanta gave a presentation discussing some of the best practices for stimulating the use of alternative fuels and vehicles. Clean Cities Atlanta is a coalition of local companies, fuel suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, national laboratories, state and federal government agencies, and other organizations that all focus on the shared goal of petroleum reduction. Francis commented that while some adopters of AFVs do so for environmental reasons, most people (and organizations) are purchasing and driving these vehicles because doing so makes financial sense. In order to reduce petroleum consumption by 2.5 billion gallons by 2020, Clean Cities recognizes three primary directives:

1. Replacement: Direct substitution of a petroleum product with an Alternative Fuel.

2. Reduction: Decrease petroleum use by promoting smarter driving habits, fuel efficient vehicles, idle reduction, and advanced technologies.

3. Elimination: Severely reducing petroleum use by encouraging mass transit usage, trip elimination, and congestion mitigation.

EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are becoming more and more popular because of their high MPG ratings, their convenient ability to be plugged-in and recharged, and the frustrating and unpredictably wild increases in the price of a gallon of gasoline. The cost of “filling up your tank” for $30 dollars or more is decreased to under $5 dollars though charging your vehicle’s batteries with electrical energy, and the savings are even more dramatic when that energy comes from your own solar panels.

Click here to see Driving Cost Comparison: Electric Cars vs. Gasoline Cars vs. Solar Powered Cars.

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More than 1 million vehicles in the U.S. currently run on alternative fuels (including EVs powered by solar energy). A good resource for researching AFVs is the Alternative Fuels Data Center which is operated by the Department of Energy.  There are more than 1 million Toyota Prius hybrids on the road today (most of them are in California) including nearly 24,000 on the roads in GA. Plug-in vehicles are gaining popularity in GA as well. Recent data shows over 1,000 Nissan Leafs registered in GA and another 684 Chevy Volts registered in the state too.

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Tax credits and incentives are available on the purchase of plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. A $7,500 dollar federal tax credit is available as well as a $5,000 dollar state of GA credit (available on all-electric vehicles).

Statistically, 70% of the US population drives less than 29 miles per day (according to Cornelius Willingham of Nissan USA). The most popular EV, the Nissan Leaf, has a range of 70-100 miles per charge. As more and more electric vehicle charging station infrastructure is developed and installed we suspect drivers will have less “range anxiety” about being stranded on the road without a charge. One type of EV charging station that was on display at the Alternative Fueled Vehicle Road Show in Atlanta was a ‘Fast Charger’ which is a type of EVSE technology that can recharge an empty Nissan Leaf batter to 80% full charge in just 30 minutes!

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