National Oil & Lube News

February 2017

Digital issues of National Oil & Lube News, the trade magazine for the preventive maintenance industry

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Page 34 of 67

February 2017 | NOLN 35 Currently, the total number of EVs on the road in the U.S. stands at just below 500,000. In 2014, EVs were a mere drop in the bucket among new vehicles sold — making up less than one percent of new vehicle sales that year. But there is evidence that demand for EVs is growing, as well as options and opportunities to keep them fully charged, all across the country. If you are an operator of a quick lube or other repair facility, your focus has been on the inter- nal combustion engine, fueled by petroleum. However, like all successful business owners burning with entrepreneurial savvy, you stay abreast of the trends in your industry. You rec- ognize the days when the major car companies ignored electric cars are over. You may have even considered installing an EV charging station, especially if your shop is located in one of our major population centers or one of the many mid-sized cities dotting the map of the U.S. Organizations like the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition — a 501c3 nonprofit that serves as a coordinating point for clean, alternative fueling options for vehicles, including EVs — have been promoting increasing the number of EVs on the road. is is part of a larger effort to advance American energy independence through incen- tives, research and technology-based solutions. Efforts like these bode well for forward-think- ing owners wanting to get in on the front-end of the demand curve. While the environment and energy indepen- dence matter to the coalition, there is also an economic component to their work, as pointed out by their executive director, Mark Bentley. "Our experience with not only EVs, but all alt-fuel vehicles, is green matters," Bentley explained. "Being green isn't the only envi- ronmental benefit; it's also the money people keep based on savings from EVs. Also, there is a component of jobs associated with building an alt-fuel infrastructure, as well as the energy independence fostered by lessening our reliance on foreign oil." What's interesting about the work of the co- alition — based in Birmingham, Alabama — is they work to dispel the myth in some circles that EVs are just an option for wealthy environ- mental advocates, clustered in the Northeast or on the West Coast. Bentley indicated in Alabama, all EV sales — plug-in hybrid and battery electric — have grown nearly 14 percent since 2013. Among pure-battery electrics, like Tesla, as well as Nis- san's Leaf models, the increase is significant — more than 55 percent. "Gas prices are beginning to inch up again, as they always do" Bentley said. "Drivers all across the state are finding out they can save money, while helping to keep our air cleaner. is is a win-win scenario that will continue to drive the growth of EVs, in my opinion." According to Phillip Wiedmeyer, the co- alition's CEO and president, choice is a key factor in promoting EVs. "In order for car manufac- turers to meet Corporate Aver- age Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards by 2025 (which requires doubling the overall fleet average in current fuel efficien- cy, from 27.5 miles per gallon to the mandated 54.5 miles per gallon in less than 10 years), they'll have to greatly expand their current offering of plug-in technology," Wied- meyer said. "Currently, there are 16 models available to consumers, and over the next three years, that number will expand, with the addi- tion of 19 more new EV models. is is due, in my opinion, to having maxed out everything that can be done via the internal combustion engine in enhancing fuel efficiency standards." Nationally, environmental groups like the Sierra Club have launched various initiatives, all with the express purpose of getting more EVs on the road. ey could be characterized as bullish on EVs, as demonstrated by aggres- sive efforts to promote an exponential demand spike in the number of EVs on the road in a de- cade. e target being set at 10 million by 2025, which they've determined is the necessary amount of EVs in the total vehicle mix, to avoid the worst effects of climate change. "What we're trying to do is highlight a few things we think make EVs attractive to anyone in the market for a new vehicle," said Gina Co- plon-Newfield, director of Sierra Club's Electric Vehicles Initiative. Coplon-Newfield quickly ticked off the three elements about EVs she believes make them viable for anyone considering a new or used vehicle: • ey're fun to drive • ey're great for the environment • ey fit most vehicle owners' lifestyles A major focus of her organization is the envi- ronment. Consequently, that's a pri- mary driver of why the Sierra Club supports growing the number of EVs on the road. "EVs lower green- house gas emis- sions, as well as reduce the amount of health-related pollutants; this is even factoring in emissions from power plants," Co- plon-Newfield said. She added that the util- ity industry nationwide also needs to incorporate EVs into their incentive programs, while considering grid efficiency and load management options, like offering lower rates for off-peak EV charging. She'd also like to see them begin installing charging stations. In Alabama that is already happening, ac- cording to Alabama Power Company's Electric Transportation Program manager, Cedric Dan- iels. "Our company offers residential users dis- counts between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., the prime time for EV users to be charging their vehicles at home for the next day's commute to work," said Daniels, who also serves on the board for the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. So, could a vehicle charging station be an option for you as a business owner? Certainly being in a major population center helps, or be- ing located near a freeway or interstate exit, or clustered among several other businesses like restaurants and retail shops. Perhaps, start with a single charging station and then, if demand warrants it, add additional units. When queried about what a business own- er should consider when opting to install a charging station, Jonah Teeter-Balin, director of Product Marketing for AeroVironment, Inc.,

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