VW Settlement Update / April 2017

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Issues Public Notice on Volkswagen Civil Settlement

Friday,  March 31, 2017 

On Jan. 4, 2016, and as amended on Oct. 7, 2016, the United States, on behalf of the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA), filed a complaint against Volkswagen (VW) alleging violations of the Clean Air Act regarding approximately 500,000 model year 2009 to 2016 vehicles containing 2.0 liter diesel engines and approximately 80,000 model year 2009 to 2016 motor vehicles containing 3.0 liter diesel engines. The complaint alleges that each of these vehicles contains, as part of the computer control modules, certain algorithms and calibrations that cause the emissions control systems to perform differently during normal vehicle operation and use than when undergoing emissions testing. The use of these prohibited defeat devices caused the vehicles to produce NOx emissions significantly in excess of those allowed by law. On June 28, 2016, the State of California, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), filed a similar complaint against Volkswagen.

Partial Consent Decree

The consent decree provides for the establishment of an Environmental Mitigation Trust to provide funds to the states to remediate the air quality impacts of the 2.0 liter vehicle emissions. Louisiana’s initial share is approximately $18 million over a three-year period. The $18 million to be distributed from the trust fund will pay for defined eligible projects also known as eligible mitigation actions. These include projects to reduce NOx from heavy duty diesel sources near population centers, such as large trucks, school and transit buses. A complete list of eligible mitigation actions is found in Appendix D-2 of the Consent Decree. The goal of each Eligible Mitigation Action shall be to achieve reductions of NOx emissions in the United States.

Louisiana Projects

The state has announced that it will distribute the Mitigation Trust Fund dollars among lasting, sustainable solutions. To this end, the state will give preference to projects proposed by public agencies that offer long-term benefits to the community at large.

The state is considering the replacement of or repowering of publicly owned school buses as provided in the Consent Decree and the replacement of or repowering of aging state-owned heavy equipment fleet vehicles that are eligible under the mitigation trust. The vehicles will be replaced with new cleaner vehicles and or new cleaner burning engines.

As identified in Appendix D, other options are available for consideration. 

How to Apply

All proposals must be received by the LDEQ no later than 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Proposals may be submitted by email at; faxed to 225-219-0000; mailed to the Department of Environmental Quality, Attn: Perry Theriot, P.O. Box 4303, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4303; or it may be hand delivered to 602 N. Fifth Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802. 


View the Full Public Notice: How to submit your RFP to LDEQ  


The full Partial Settlement, including Appendix D is available for review at:

Related Links


Want to learn more?

Register to attend the LCF Odyssey Day celebration on April 20th in Baton Rouge to hear LDEQ Secretary, Dr. Chuck Carr Brown speak on how the state plans to distribute the funds.


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TRS Question of the Month

A photo of a white EV sedan plugged in to a charging station located inside of an employee parking garage.

Question: What factors do employers need to consider when establishing a workplace charging program?

Answer: While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for workplace charging, there are a number of resources available to help employers design, implement, and manage the right program for their organization.

Assess Demand

Employers considering whether workplace charging is right for their organization will want to start by assessing employee demand with an employee survey ( Once this assessment is complete, employers may set goals for meeting workplace charging demand, either by planning to meet the entire need (i.e., all drivers that have expressed or will express interest in PEV charging) or by dedicating a percentage of parking spaces to PEV charging. For example, Google has a goal to dedicate 5% of all parking spaces to workplace charging.

Procure and Install

Employers should determine what types of charging stations to purchase. There are a few decisions to make, including the following:

  • Charging Level: There are benefits and drawbacks to both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations in the workplace. Employers must evaluate which option is best for their facilities. For more information about the differences between charging levels and their merits for workplace charging, see the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Workplace Charging Station Basics page (
  • Networking: Charging station networks provide maintenance, customer service, and energy monitoring capabilities, and collect payment on behalf of the station owner. However, networks require a fee, and employers will need to consider whether the convenience of charging networks outweighs the financial cost. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Level 2 page (

Employers should also be sure to get quotes from a number of charging station providers. For more guidance, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Sample Request for Proposal document ( Employers will work with their electrical contractor to determine charging station placement; station installation can be an expensive process, but employers can minimize costs by siting stations in locations that require minimal trenching, boring, and electrical panel upgrades. For more information about siting and installation, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Equipment and Installation Costs page (                                                              


A well-managed, well-planned workplace charging program can ensure station access to all employees, promote strong communication between employers and station users, and encourage responsible station use.

  • Registration and Liability: Many employers require employees to register their PEV, which allows the employer to identify the number of vehicles using their charging stations. For example, employers can give registered vehicles a mirror hangtag or window sticker that identifies the vehicle as having permission to use the charging stations. A registration form may also include language that requires vehicle owners to agree not to hold the employer responsible for any damage to the vehicle that occurs while it is parked at the charging station. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Registration and Liability page (

  • Station Sharing: It is important to emphasize that workplace charging is a privilege, not a right. Employees may be obligated to share stations with their colleagues and comply with established charging time limits. While an employer can set up systems for sharing stations, such as reserving the station (similar to how an employee would reserve a conference room) or establishing a set schedule for use, most employers allow users to resolve station-sharing conflicts themselves. However, it is important to establish consequences for violating station policies, such as using a station for less than four hours. By framing workplace charging as a privilege, an employer reserves the right to restrict access for employees that routinely violate company policy. For more information about how to establish workplace charging policies and encourage station sharing, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Station Sharing page (

  • Pricing: While most employers offer workplace charging for free, charging for station use can be a good way to manage demand. Employers may charge for electricity (e.g., per kilowatt hour) or for time (e.g., per hour), depending on preference and applicable regulations. Employers can motivate employees to move their vehicles and share the stations by charging a nominal fee (or no fee) for the first set number of hours (e.g., four hours) and then raise the fee for subsequent time that the vehicle is parked in the space. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Pricing page (

For more resources about workplace charging, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging website (, explore the Clean Cities’ Workplace Charging Toolkit ( /), or contact the TRS at

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team

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OEMs announce new offerings at NTEA this week

Ford expands its Qualified Vehicle Modifier program and Cummins Unveils New Engines at NTEA


  • Ford expands its Qualified Vehicle Modifier program to include companies that develop and install electrified and hydraulic hybrid powertrains for commercial vehicles, retaining the original powertrain warranty.
  • Ford eQVM program launches with three developers – XL Hybrids, Lightning Hybrids and Motiv Power Systems

INDIANAPOLIS, March 14, 2017 – Ford is expanding its Advanced Fuel Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) program to include companies that develop and install electrified and hydraulic hybrid powertrains for Ford trucks and vans.

The new eQVM program, unveiled at The Work Truck Show, helps fleet and commercial customers meet their unique and specific needs for durable, reliable electrified and hydraulic hybrid work trucks that retain the original powertrain warranty.

Ford is committed to being a leader in electrification. The company is investing $4.5 billion in 13 new electrified vehicles in the next five years. These include an all-new fully electric small SUV, a high-volume autonomous vehicle, a hybrid F-150, a hybrid Mustang, a Transit Custom plug-in hybrid and two new pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles.

“Ford supports electrification for a variety of vehicle types,” said Richard Cupka Jr., Ford sustainability and QVM program manager. “The eQVM program extends that support to the vocational truck industry where customers need relatively small numbers of specialized vehicles – there is no one-size-fits-all work truck.”

The eQVM program kicks off with three developers – XL Hybrids, Motiv Power Systems and Lightning Hybrids. These companies offer electrification or hydraulic hybrid solutions for a range of Ford vehicles popular with fleet and commercial customers, including F-150, F-250 to F-550 Super Duty, F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks, Transit and E-Series vans and chassis, and F-53/F-59 stripped chassis.

The Ford QVM program includes more than 200 companies dedicated to modifying the automaker’s broad commercial vehicle lineup for customer applications in a number of industries, including motorhome, school bus, mobility, emergency services, conversion van, police and limousine. Additionally, QVM upfitters install a wide range of equipment onto Ford trucks and vans to transform them into the work trucks that help build America’s infrastructure and keep it running.

Ford’s thorough QVM qualification process includes on-site assessments at each location to verify the operation meets manufacturing, assembly, workmanship, customer service and quality requirements and that it has processes in place to produce vehicles that meet federal regulations. Vehicles modified by a Ford QVM in compliance with Ford guidelines retain their factory warranties.

The eQVM program builds on the success of the Advanced Fuel QVM program Ford launched in 2010. Through that program, customers can obtain Ford Transit Connect, Transit or E-450 vans and chassis, F-Series trucks and F-53/F-59 stripped chassis that run on compressed natural gas or propane. The eQVM program expands available alternative power options to include electrification and hydraulic hybrid systems.

The eQVM developers are:

  • XL Hybrids: Offers a hybrid electric drive system for Ford Transit, E-350 and E-450 chassis, F-250 to F-550 Super Duty trucks, F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks and F-53/F-59 stripped chassis; as well as a plug-in hybrid upfit for the F-150 pickup.
  • Motiv Power Systems: Offers an all-electric powertrain for the Ford E-450 and F-59 chassis.
  • (LCF Member) Lightning Hybrids: Offers a non-electric hydraulic hybrid energy recovery system for the Ford E-350 and E-450 chassis, F-350 to F-550 Super Duty trucks, F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks and F-59 chassis.

Attendees at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis this week can explore several vehicles modified by the eQVM developers. The Ford booth, No. 3239, features a 2017 E-350 chassis cab with the XL Hybrids hybrid electric system installed and an F-59 stripped chassis equipped with the Motiv electric powertrain. Lightning Hybrids will show a Ford E-350 box truck equipped with its hydraulic hybrid energy recovery system at its booth, No. 5475. XL Hybrids will also display a Ford Transit with hybrid electric system and new plug-in hybrid F-150 in booth

No. 425. Test drive a walk-in van built on a Ford F-59 chassis equipped with the Motiv electric powertrain at The Work Truck Show Ride-and-Drive on Wednesday and Thursday.


Cummins Westport Natural Gas Engines


Now in full production for bus, medium-duty truck and vocational applications are the ISB6.7 G and the ISL G Near Zero. Based on the B Series diesel engine platform, the ISB6.7 G is a natural addition to CWI’s portfolio of natural gas engines to help power the more than 40,000 natural gas-powered trucks and buses operating in North America. 

“Our most compact natural gas offering – the ISB6.7 G – offers strong performance, reliability and durability to customers requiring low-emissions vehicles. With the publicly available natural gas fueling infrastructure growing across North America, the ISB6.7 G offers MidRange customers operating in local areas a low-emissions, cost-effective solution,” said Rob Neitzke, President, CWI. 

Also now at the forefront of cost-effective and dependable emissions-reduction strategies is the ISL G Near Zero – the first MidRange engine in North America to receive emissions certification from both the EPA and Air Resources Board (ARB) to meet the optional 0.02 g/bhp-hr Near Zero oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions standards. The NOx emissions of the ISL G Near Zero are 90 percent lower than the 2010 EPA standard of 0.2 g/bhp-hr.

“Based on the reliability and operating improvements of the base ISL G engine, the ISL G Near Zero is a game-changer,” Neitzke said. “The engine offers customers the benefit of performance with the lowest emissions at a much lower cost than battery electric-vehicles. It is zero-emissions technology at conventional propulsion system values.”

Both the ISB6.7 G and ISL G Near Zero operate exclusively on compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or renewable natural gas (RNG), and both utilize CWI emissions-leading and proprietary spark-ignited stoichiometric combustion with cooled exhaust gas recirculation (SEGR) technology. In addition, the engines feature electronic controls with programmable features, a closed crankcase ventilation system and a maintenance-free Three-Way Catalyst (TWC) aftertreatment.

For more information, visit

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TRS Question of the Month

Question: What are state and local governments doing to incentivize alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)?

Answer: There are many notable incentive activities at the state and local levels. Many states offer incentives for alternative fuels that advance specific environmental and energy security goals, while cities provide even more localized support.

States are targeting vehicles, infrastructure, and other means to encourage AFV adoption. Below are various types of incentives, as well as hyperlinked examples of each:

  • AFV Purchase Incentives: States offer grantsrebates, and tax credits for the purchase of AFVs. While some states may focus vehicle incentives on a particular fuel type, such as electric vehicles, others are more general in their support. States provide AFV purchase incentives to consumers, commercial fleets, and public fleets, such as schools and government agencies. Different incentive mechanisms tend to be more appropriate for different categories of vehicle purchasers; for example, grants are often limited to certain types of entities. Public fleets may not be liable for taxes, so they usually benefit more from grants than from tax credits. Private fleets can benefit from grants, rebates, and tax credits.

  • Fueling Infrastructure Purchase and Installation Incentives: Similar to AFV incentives, states provide grantsrebates, and tax credits for alternative fueling infrastructure. States usually create incentives for the physical fueling infrastructure, but many programs also support installation costs. Some states also offer a tax credit or tax reduction for the production or purchase of alternative fuel itself. Fueling infrastructure incentives may stipulate that the fueling or charging station must be available to the public, which helps to increase the availability of alternative fuels to a broader range of entities.


Municipalities are also playing a role in supporting AFV deployment. Cities and counties incentivize AFVs in a number of ways, including by offering free or discounted parking, expediting permitting processes, and providing vehicle and infrastructure grants. For example, New Haven, CT, provides free parking on city streets for AFVs, while Los Angeles, CA, offers instant, online residential electric vehicle supply equipment permitting approval. The Alternative Fuels Data Center’s (AFDC) Local Laws and Incentives page provides more information on these and a greater array of other local options; while the page regarding local laws and incentives is not meant to be comprehensive, it provides users an idea of the different municipal programs and policies that exist ( If you are aware of an innovative way that municipalities are supporting alternative fuels and vehicle acquisition, please contact the Clean Cities Technical Response Service at to share the details.

For more information about state and local alternative fuel incentives, see the AFDC Laws and Incentives page ( 

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The Baton Rouge Area ERC Program

The Baton Rouge area achieved attainment of the 2008 ozone standard (75 parts per billion) in 2014 and has remained below the standard since then.  This was the third of increasingly stringent ozone standards that the area has met.  Later this month, EPA is expected to formally recognize this achievement and redesignate the area to attainment status.  However, in October, 2015, EPA promulgated a new ozone standard of 70 ppb and it is quite likely that the area will not meet this standard and will fall back into nonattainment status.

Aside from health implications, nonattainment status with a National Ambient Air Quality Standard can have enormous economic development consequences for an affected area.

The importance of maintaining attainment of the federal ozone standard for economic development in the Baton Rouge area cannot be overstated.  Under federal Clean Air Act requirements, any new major source of emissions (new industrial developments or expansions) must undergo New Source Review (NSR).  In attainment areas NSR consists of a process called Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD).  New Source Review in nonattainment areas (NNSR) is a much more severe process.  The principal requirements of NNSR are:

  • Installation of Lowest Achievable Emission Rate (LAERC) technology
  • Provision for "offsets" representing emission reductions that must be made from other sources, and
  • Completion of an analysis of alternate sites, sizes, production processes, and environmental control techniques and 
  • Demonstrate that the benefits of locating the source in a nonattainment area significantly outweigh the environmental and social costs imposed 

The “offset” provision of NNSR requires that, for example, a new industry locating in an ozone nonattainment area that expects to emit 100 tons per year (tpy) of a pollutant (e.g. NOx) might have to find 110 tpy of reductions from another source to offset its emissions.  The offset ratio (e.g. 1:1.1) is designed to ratchet down ozone-forming emissions over time.  It is this provision that presents the potential for seriously constraining industrial development in the Baton Rouge area.  The stark truth is that there is precious little in the way of available offsets to support permitting for new industries or expansions at existing industries.

Only point sources are currently eligible for generation, banking and/or trading of emission reduction credits (ERCs) under current DEQ rules.  After several decades of aggressively reducing emissions of NOx and VOCs to mitigate ozone levels, Baton Rouge industries have practically exhausted opportunities for voluntary emission reduction projects and ERCs.  Banked ERCs have been depleted and, for all practical purposes, are unavailable for new industries or expansions that would require them to meet offset requirements for air permits. The industrial renaissance that the Baton Rouge area was beginning to enjoy has come to a grinding halt.

Historically, ERCs were typically earned by an industry through implementing projects that resulted in emission reductions at their facility.  For example, an industry might close or put controls on an existing source.  DEQ would have to certify the credits before allowing them to be banked or used for offsets, since the credits must meet Clean Air Act requirements that they be:

  • Enforceable (i.e., authorized by an appropriate permitting mechanism)
  • Permanent
  • Quantifiable
  • Real (i.e., must be actual, not potential emission reductions), and
  • Surplus (i.e., not required by a regulation)  

Alternatively, an industry might buy ERCs that have been banked by another industry. 

The current problem with this rather limited field of play (industrial facilities) is that the emission reduction credits bank is now practically broke with few, if any credits, available to provide needed offsets.  The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) has described several major projects in the past that were placed on hold because of sufficient offsets cannot be obtained for requisite air quality permits. 

After almost 25 years of working to reduce ozone levels in the Baton Rouge area, practically all of the simple and relatively low-cost emission reduction measures have been exhausted.   Recognizing these impediments to further progress in reducing ozone levels and economic development, stakeholders of Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition, have proposed an innovative strategy for the Baton Rouge area that will (1) reduce ozone-forming emissions and help facilitate maintenance of the ozone standard, and (2) produce bankable ERCs that can be used to meet offset requirements for permitting new facilities and expansions at existing facilities.

The centerpiece of the new strategy is to revise DEQ’s banking rules to allow creditable (i.e., surplus, permanent, quantifiable, and enforceable) reductions from certain mobile sources to qualify as ERCs and therefore be used as offsets for nonattainment new source review (NNSR) purposes.  Some examples of types of projects that could be conducted in the Baton Rouge area are:

  • Local industry funds truck stop electrification to earn NOx ERCs
  • Local industry funds retrofits/conversions of marine vessels operating on the Mississippi River in the Baton Rouge region for NOx/VOC/PM2.5 ERCs
  • Local industry pays for conversions of school buses from diesel to CNG and gets ERCs for PM2.5 emissions reductions
  • Retrofits/conversions of local mass transit vehicles generate marketable ERCs that can help fund services
  • Local industry contributes to a match for a local government grant for vehicle fleet conversions to CNG

Implementing the new strategy will help mitigate air quality improvement and economic development constraints of the current "point source only" banking system and provide a number of valuable benefits such as: 

  • Allow for continued economic and transportation development (increased availability and lower costs for ERCs)
  • New ERC projects can start reducing emissions and improving air quality in a relatively short period of time
  • Provide for overall ratcheting down of emissions in the nonattainment area
  • Reduce emissions from important ozone precursor sources not easily regulated by DEQ (e.g. on-road and off-road mobiles sources)
  • Facilitate overall emissions reductions in pursuit of attainment and maintenance of ozone and PM2.5 NAAQS
  • Substantially further interest in clean diesel


DEQ has now completed the draft rule (AQ365) that would implement the new ERC strategy.   The rule is expected to become effective in the January-February, 2017 time frame.

To help coordinate and facilitate the new ERC program, CRPC and other BRCAC stakeholders felt it would be beneficial to develop and maintain a web-based Information Resources Center (IRC) website.  Purposes of this new IRC would include:

  • Information resources on the new ERC program
  • Reservoir of guidance on participation in the new ERC program
  • Coordination and facilitation of ERC projects
  • Database for ERC projects and emission reductions
  • Source of information on banked ERCs
  • Tracking of overall emissions reductions from ERC projects for DEQ SIP purposes

For more information:

ERC Conference Presentations: 

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2016 Annual Report Survey

Are you proud of your fleet's fuel reduction practices or use of alternative fuels?

Get the credit for your efforts to green your fleet and in return we will share with you valuable information on your emission reductions. 

Louisiana Clean Fuels is working with the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program to document activities from the 2016 calendar year, and want your organization to be included.  By providing this information, you help ensure the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities program, and highlight the successes of fleets like yours in the LCF territory.  Example activities include alternative fuel stations, vehicles, idle reduction, biofuels, and other fleet technology.

The Louisiana Clean Fuels territory recently expanded and now includes 56 parishes. The territory covers all of Louisiana except for the parishes not encompassed by the purple region of the map. Parishes not included in LCF's territory are: Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and Tangipahoa. Those parishes are covered by our sister organization, Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership. If your fleet operates in one of those seven parishs, please contact Rebecca Otte at the SLCFP.

Here is a link this year’s survey: 2016 Annual Report Survey. The questionnaire is designed to take less than 10 minutes to complete.



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Fact of the Week

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is establishing Alternative Fuel Corridors for vehicles that are fueled with compressed natural gas, electricity, hydrogen, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). These corridors have alternative refueling sites along a designated route on the National Highway System. The routes highlighted in green have been designated as signage ready and are eligible for highway signage, and the routes in orange are designated as signage pending meaning that additional facilities are needed to warrant highway signage. Other routes have been proposed to be added to the network which is expected to expand in the future. For additional information on these Alternative Fuel Corridors, go to the FHWA website.


CNG Alternative Fuel Corridor Map as of January 5, 2017


Electric Vehicle Charging Corridor Map as of January 5, 2017


Hydrogen Corridor Map as of January 5, 2017


Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Corridor Map as of January 5, 2017


Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Corridor Map as of January 5, 2017

Fact #961 Dataset


Map of CNG Refueling Corridors. See FHWA website for interactive CNG Corridor map.

Map of Electric Vehicle Charging Corridors. See FHWA website for interactive Electric Charging Corridor map.

Map of Hydrogen Refueling Corridors. See FHWA website for interactive Hydrogen Corridor map.

Map of LNG Refueling Corridors. See FHWA website for interactive LNG Corridor map.

Map of LPG Refueling Corridors. See FHWA website for interactive LPG Corridor map.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Alternative Fuel Corridors website, accessed January 5, 2017.

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Fact of the Week

According to the newly released 2015 American Housing Survey, 63% of all occupied housing units have a garage or carport. Garages and carports often have access to electricity for parked vehicles, so these data are important for electric vehicle market analysis. Seventy-percent of new construction units (five years old or less) have a garage or carport. The West and Midwest regions of the country have a greater percentage of housing with garages or carports, each with over 70%. For rental housing units, only 37% have a garage/carport, as compared to 78% for those owning housing units.



Note: A housing unit is a house, apartment, group of rooms, or single room occupied or intended for occupancy as separate living quarters.

Fact #958 Dataset


Share of Housing Units with Garage or Carport, 2015

 Share of Occupied
Housing Units
Percent with a
Garage or Carport
Owner 63% 78%
Renter 37% 37%
Location - Census Region
Northeast 18% 49%
Midwest 22% 72%
South 37% 56%
West 22% 76%
Age of Housing Unit
New construction (< = 5 years) 3% 71%
Older than 5 years 97% 63%
All Occupied Units
Total 118,290 units 63%

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2015 American Housing Survey, AHS Table Creator, Accessed December 2, 2016.

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Extending Your EV Range

Posted by Eric Schaal

For electric vehicles to catch on in the mainstream, consumers have to be comfortable they can handle everything a gas-powered vehicle can. Among other things, that means driving in extreme temperatures. No matter how hot or cold it gets, an EV must maintain its performance on a reasonable scale and keep occupants comfortable. Otherwise, plug-ins will remain a niche segment.

In fairness, the earliest electric cars were not capable of enduring an intense cold spell. Models without thermal management or advanced climate options burned battery power when there wasn’t much to begin with. Furthermore, drivers who weren’t used to EV technology may not have been prepared for handling these models in winter.

Of course, drivers of gas-powered cars also deal with range loss and other issues in the cold, though they are not as magnified. But getting the most out of an EV in winter takes effort, especially when a car’s range is below 100 miles. Here are steps drivers can take to maximize an electric car’s battery life during winter.

Climate Control

Nissan Leaf Climate ControlsSince EVs do not have the manufactured heat of a combustion engine, drivers must find creative ways to stay warm or otherwise sacrifice battery power. Actually, electric cars do not waste the type of energy gas-powered cars do (as heat), so greater efficiency is the source of the problem.

EV drivers have several methods for reducing battery consumption:

  • Heating before you unplug. Cold temperatures make a plug-in climate system work hard to warm a car, so there is no point wasting that energy after you stop charging. Before leaving on a trip during winter, heat the car before disconnecting from the power source.
  • Heated seats. Your car’s power system uses less energy to heat a seat than it would sending warm air into the cabin. Most EVs come with heated seats or offer the option, so consumers living in cold areas should take advantage of them.
  • Layered clothing. The easiest way to conserve battery power is using little to no heat. Always dress in layers when heading out in winter so you can stay warm whether or not the climate control system helps. A scarf, hat and driving gloves complete winter attire in an EV.


Parking & Charging

Nissan Leaf parked and chargingBecause a battery can lose range simply sitting in subzero temperatures, drivers have to consider where to park their cars when the weather is frigid. The same applies to charging, which can take longer when it’s cold outside.

Though it may be impossible for drivers without a garage, EV owners can try the following:

  • Parking in an enclosed space. Even public garages with openings on every level are better for retaining battery power than an open-air parking lot. EV owners might try saving charging for overnight in a garage, if possible.
  • Heated garages. Homeowners with a heated garage are in the best shape when it comes to retaining battery power and limiting energy waste. Mild temperatures allow for faster charging as well.



Tesla Model S driving

There are some aspects of winter that can’t be adjusted. For example, the density of cold air creates more drag for a car to power through, limiting an EVs range. However, you can change some aspects of the drive to make a battery hold its charge.

  • Steady pacing. Driving in the cold is often an uncomfortable experience, and it can lead to drivers rushing to a destination. Hurrying – accelerating too quickly and speeding in general – is a guaranteed way to drain your battery.
  • Inflating your tires to the proper pressure level ensures you will get better performance from the car, so check on them frequently during winter. Cold weather changes pressure levels much more than milder temperatures.
  • Remove unneeded accessories. Roof racks and other addons alter the aerodynamics of any vehicle, which in turn creates a heavier load for the powertrain to support. Unless you are using this type of equipment for every trip, consider taking it down for a bit.


Best EVs for Cold Weather Climates

Red Chevrolet Volt Driving

As with any vehicle purchase, plug-in enthusiasts should choose the model that suits specific driving needs. In the most frigid conditions, a plug-in hybrid may be the only option if you have to drive long distances on a daily basis, unless you are thinking of a high-end model.

Cold-weather EV choices should take the following into account:

  • Electric cars lose range as the battery ages. If you buy a used model, get an idea of the real-world range and subtract 20-30% to estimate how the car would perform in harsh winter conditions.
  • Charging station implications. If there are no plugs on the route you plan to take to work or other daily activities, make sure the car has the technology to handle the cold. Newer Nissan Leafs have a reversible heat pump that helps range loss in the winter. Older models will not have this, so even if you see a low-mileage used Leaf it might not work for your needs.
  • The Chevrolet Bolt EV and any Tesla are great bets. While first-generation EVs maxed out at around 90 miles, there are now several models featuring over 200 miles of- driving range. Every Tesla – from the original base 60 kWh Model S through the 100 kWh S and X – offers better than 200 miles, while Chevy’s new Bolt EV got 238 miles for its EPA quote. These cars give you leeway.
  • Highway vs. city driving. If your daily routine takes you through city streets with frequent stops, you can get closer to range estimates in winter. Highway drivers will want to trim down their range estimate and then perform the subtraction accounting for the lowest temperatures.


Electric Cars’ Track Record in the Cold

Electric vehicles are already a fixture in places with very cold weather, including Norway, which has the highest adoption rate for EVs of any country on earth. Norway’s embrace of EVs came when the technology was at its earliest stages and cars like the first-gen Leaf were consumer’s best bet.

Moving forward, manufacturers will continue adapting plug-ins to accommodate different climates. With the first mass-market, long-range vehicles finally entering North America, it’s clear electric cars are having their moment. Don’t let the cold scare you off buying one for personal or company use.

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Why Employers Are Hiring Industrial Assessment Center Graduates

Posted by: Michele Capots, via

There are 28 primary Industrial Assessment Centers located at colleges and universities across the country.

When Mary McElhiney, vice president of business operations at ERS, is looking for new hires for her energy efficiency engineering firm she knows exactly where to look – the Energy Department’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program.

ERS, headquartered in North Andover, Massachusetts, was founded by an IAC graduate. Its core services of energy program evaluation, engineering assistance, planning and implementation, and sustainable development help utility, government, and large commercial and industrial clients solve energy and resource problems in cost effective ways. Thirteen of its 94 employees are IAC graduates.


Map of Industrial Assessment Centers

There are 28 primary IACs located at colleges and universities around the country. These centers send engineering students, supervised by faculty, to small and medium-sized manufacturers to provide energy assessments and recommendations for cost- and energy-savings solutions. With the professors’ guidance, these students analyze manufacturers’ facilities, energy bills, waste and water systems and more.


To date, more than 17,000 manufacturers have benefited from IAC assessments. An average IAC assessment leads to a 5-7% implemented energy savings and energy productivity improvement. Through each assessment, IAC students apply their engineering knowledge and skills to analyze a unique set of circumstances. No two assessments are the same, instead students learn how to adapt and solve problems. 


When McElhiney came to the company 12 years ago, it was very difficult to find engineers who understood the energy management work that the company did. IACs became a recruiting ground because they already had the hands-on experience ERS seeks to provide its clients with the valuable skills needed to meet their business needs.

Satyen Moray, an engineer with ERS at the Rock Hill, Connecticut facility, has been with the company for 15 years. Moray, is also an IAC graduate from the University of Dayton and credits the program with getting him where he is today.

He said he could study textbooks and course materials all day long, but to actually see it is a whole different awareness. During the IAC program, he visited roughly 50 facilities.

“The hands-on nature is instrumental,” said Moray.

Marcus Wilcox couldn’t agree more.

Wilcox is CEO of Cascade Energy, which helps to provide technical services for energy efficiency programs. He co-founded the Portland, Oregon-based company in 1993 and has 120 employees, nine of which are IAC graduates. Wilcox was the first student to join and graduate from the Energy Analysis Diagnosis Center, now known as the Oregon State University IAC. He believes the IAC program changed his future.

 “It taught me how to be an engineer in the real world by mapping all the knowledge I had and put it in the context of experience,” he said.

Industrial Assessment Center infographic on graduates in the workforce


Today, Wilcox’s advice to students going through the IAC program is simple. He suggests students gain field work experience because there’s real value working with real processes, problems, and people.

He also notes that graduates will be working with people who have been doing their jobs for decades. Energy might not be a priority for some clients and graduates need to learn how to explain the value of energy management practices. Finally, he says skip using the smartphone, email, and social media because personal contact and building relationships will help graduates strengthen their professional skills and their work will be that much more enjoyable.

It was similar advice that has been priceless for Moray.

“It was the best learning [experience] I received in my whole life,” he said.

Moray is a perfect example of why McElhiney continues to rely on IAC graduates to help make the business a success.

“IACs have experience in exactly what we’re doing because they’ve done it before,” she said.  “They help these companies even before they come here. I’m a big advocate for the IAC program.”



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