Clean School Bus Education Technical Assistance Series Now Out!

The Alternative Fuels Data Center has recently released an eight piece series surrounding electric school bus education. The series has been named “Flipping the Switch on Electric School Buses” and features  handouts and recorded webinars. The series is catered towards K-12 schools and school bus fleets that are interested in implementing electric buses. Each part of the series focuses on a different fleet consideration for electric school buses.

The entire series can be watched as a whole step-by-step guide through the process, or you can focus on the topics that meet your specific fleet’s needs and concerns. The eight parts include:

  1. Electric School Bus Introduction
  2. Working with Electric Utilities
  3. Vehicle Requirements
  4. Charging Infrastructure
  5. Infrastructure Planning and Solutions
  6. Vehicle in Use Performance
  7. Driver and Technician Training
  8. Cost Factors

Additionally, the EPA and the DEQ have funding opportunities to assist in the cost of making the switch from old buses to new low- and zero-emission buses. The main website is available here: https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus and applications are now open

For more information on funding opportunities or questions, please contact Carina Trustram Eve, Co-Coordinator, at csoriano@centralina.org  

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NC VW Phase 2- Multi-unit Dwelling Program

Eligible applicants to be submitted to the Level 2 Multi-Unit Dwelling Program include property owners of multi-unit dwellings with 10 or more units in North Carolina, such as apartment complexes, condominiums, etc. This excludes individually-owned townhouses, row houses and mobile homes.

The program includes funds totaling $489,544 to be used in installing Level 2 electric vehicle charging infrastructure at eligible multi-unit family dwellings. The RFP was released May 2, 2022 and applications will be made available June 13, 2o22.

On May 9, 2022 the DAQ will host a webinar on how to request access to the DAQ Management System from 1:00pm- 2:00pm for applicants who do not have access to the system. The webinar will discuss what documents are required to request access to the system, how to use the built in tutorials once access is granted to the system and how to submit an application. Register here

A second webinar hosted by the DAQ will occur on May 16, 2022 from 1:00pm-3:00pm. The focus discussion for this webinar will be RFP and its requirements. Staff will answer questions regarding the Request for Proposals and the program application. Register here

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Clean School Bus Program Funding

A Clean School Bus, as defined by the BIL, is a bus that reduces emissions and is operated entirely or in part using an alternative fuel or is a zero-emission bus. The BIL provides $5 billion dollars over 5 years (FY22-26) for the replacement of existing school buses with low and zero-emission buses. State or local government entities, eligible contractors, nonprofit school transportation associations, and tribes, tribal organizations, tribally-controlled schools are all eligible for the program funding. A zero-emission bus is defined as a school bus that
produces zero exhaust emission of any air pollutant and any greenhouse gas. 

Awards will be granted covering up to 100% of the cost of the replacement bus and charging or fueling infrastructure. Priority applications may be recognized to replace buses that serve; high-need local education agencies, tribal schools, rural schools, low-income area schools, or applications that provide cost share through public-private partnerships, grants from other entities, or school bonds.

Usage requirements (All replacement buses must):

  • Be operated as part of the school feet for which the award was made for not less than 5 years;
  • Be maintained, operated, and charged or fueled according to manufacturer recommendations or state requirements and;
  • Not be manufactured or retrofitted with a power unit or any other technology that creates
    pollution within the school bus, such as an unvented diesel heater.

Slides are now available from the EPA’s Clean School Bus program webinar here.

Sign up for Clean School Bus Program news here.

More information and updates available here: https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus.

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Earth Day 2022

Happy Earth Day 2022! Here at the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, we value the importance of Earth Day and what it means to participate in protecting and appreciating our Earth. Recently, the CCFC published resources for fleets to look towards when trying to conserve fuel as a way to save money and cut back on petroleum dependence. We encourage fleets to check out these resources this Earth Day to see how your fleet can make an impact. 

Check out that page here. Which includes fuel conservation tips like;

  • Encouraging drivers to do their best to cut idle time
  • Planning routes and selecting refuel stops in advance
  • Keeping each vehicle up to date with tuneups and overall maintance 

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NC School Bus Electrification

The NC VW School Bus Program, Duke Power Electric School Bus Pilot Project and Bipartisan Infastructure Funds will all provide funding for electric school buses. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is seeking to increase interest and awareness of the availability of electric school bus replacement funding through the NC Volkswagen Settlement Program. 

NC VW School Bus Program Information

             –Historically Under-Resourced County Outreach Program

Duke Power Electric School Bus Pilot Project Information

Bipartisan Infastructure Funds Information

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Fuel Conservation Resources

With fuel costs and inflation keeping prices high, CCFC staff have compiled a list of fleet resources on fleet fuel  conservation.

Idle Reduction

As a basic rule of thumb, turn off your engine whenever possible. Idling uses a considerable amount of fuel,; an average medium, heavy-duty truck consumes approximately 0.84 gallons per hour while idling. However, some vehicles require idle time while operating. So, in these scenarios, there are technologies available that can help reduce fuel consumption during the idle period. Listed on this resource are various technology options for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles. The table at that link also lists the percent emission reduction associated with the technology as recognized by the EPA. 

Additionally, Argonne National Laboratory’s idle reduction worksheet can help guide the process of calculating savings when considering the switch to an idle reduction technology.  

Conserving Fuel

Though it might seem obvious, it is important to remind fleet drivers of the basic tips & tricks to conserve fuel. Remind drivers to slow down and drive consistently,  as speeding increases fuel consumption and decreases fuel economy. When planning routes or deliveries, combine trips and reduce vehicle load whenever possible. By avoiding unnecessary stops and reducing your vehicle load, you can maximize the vehicle fuel consumption. 

Keeping your vehicle in shape-such as by correcting tuning issues- can improve gas mileage by an average of 4%. Additionally, keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve gas mileage from anywhere between 0.6% and 3%.

General easy to follow tips may include: accelerating gently, coasting to decelerate, use air conditioning sparingly, and attempt to plan routes ahead including fuel stops to avoid unnecessary stopping. 

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NC VW Settlement Phase 2 Grants to Fund Level 2 Charging Stations at State Government Sites

The Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) has released the Request for Proposal (RFP) for State Agency Level 2 Charging Infastructure grants under Phase 2 of the Volkswagen Mitigation plan. 

The RFP details how to apply for the $1,000,684 available for funding to install new light-duty zero emission vehicle (ZEV) Level 2 charging stations at state agencies and state-managed attractions.

Applications can be submitted by NC state agencies and state-managed attractions including; departments, institutions, public universities, community colleges, state parks, aquariums, and museums. Public-private partnerships where the lead applicant represents a state agency or state-maintained attraction may also apply. Projects within the 37 counties identified as Historically Under-Resourced are eligible for bonus project scoring points & other additional technical support. 

The PDF version of the application is available on the program webpage for agency reference to prepare all required materials for the online application. The online application will be made available April 1, 2022 and must be submitted on May 31, 2022 via the  Grant Management System. 

The DAQ will hold an information session on this RFP for interested applicants on March 14.

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First PoleVolt EV Charging Station Now Open!

Governor Cooper and Mayor Lyles visited the unveiling of the new first of its kind in North Carolina PoleVolt charging station outside of the Ritz at Washington Heights Park. The curbside EV charging station uses existing streetlight infastructure to cut down the costs of installing an EV charging station by as much at 50 percent. 

The Ritz at Washington Heights Park is located in the Historic West End. In 2018, several community leaders formed the Historic West End Green District. This initiative was designed to improve air quality, reduce emissions, and improve health. Making this location perfect for the free-to-use charing station. 

The project has been brought to fruition by the partnership of Duke Energy, The City of Charlotte, Centralina Regional Council, and the UNC Charlotte EPIC center. 

It is essential to support EV infrastructure to be ready when electric vehicles will become more affordable and accessible. Installing an EV charging station outside of the Ritz at Washington Heights Park gives locals access to charging that lack off-street parking availability for at home charging. 

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Region of Excellence Awards Clean Cities Category Now Open

The nomination period for the Centralina Region of Excellence Awards is here! The awards are opportunities to recognize and celebrate how local governments and partners expand opportunity and improve quality of life across our region. As partner organizations in the Centralina region, we encourage you to submit nominations for project, programs, or plans that were initiated or completed during the past calendar year. 

The recipient of this award is a stakeholder organization that reduced the consumption of traditional transportation and fossil fuels by recognizing the environmental, economic and national security benefits. The awardee demonstrates leadership and excellence in clean transportation options, emerging mobility initiatives and alternative fuel activities. These activities include but are not limited to purchasing alternative fuel and/or fuel-efficient vehicles, using alternative fuels in their fleet, implementing idle reduction policies, improving fleet fuel economy, partnering with fuel providers to expand alternative fuel availability or generally supporting and participating current Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition/Clean Cities programs and priorities. The Clean Cities award has its own unique evaluation process and judges. Visit the Centralina Region of Excellence award page for more information!

Pictured: Chris Davis, Operations Supervisor & Fleet Manager Charlotte Department of Transportation

The 2021 Clean Cities Award was presented to the Charlotte Department of Transportation for implementing fleet improvements as part of the Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP). The SEAP listed several goals including participation in Duke Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan, the development of three new EV charging locations that will provide 13 additional chargers through infastructure installations, the introduction of an electric street sweeper and installing up to 874.4 kilowatts of solar capacity that would generate 1M kwh of zero-carbon electricity, a projected savings of approximately $3 million over the life of the solar units. Interested in learning more about the Charlotte DOT award? Contact csoriano@centralina.org to get in touch with Charlotte award contacts. 

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