Thursday, December 25, 2014

Senate Votes To Remove Credit Cap For Natural Gas Dual-fueled Vehicles

A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2015 that removes the cap has been approved by the Senate.
Current law allows automakers to earn credits for compliance with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program by producing alternative fuel dual-fueled vehicles, but these credits are subject to a cap. Today automakers earn the majority of their allowed credits by producing E85 Flex-Fuel vehicles, leaving none left for natural gas vehicles. The NDAA provision modifies the program by removing the credit cap for natural gas dual-fueled vehicles.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Networks

Question of the Month: What are the major electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) networks, and how can plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) drivers access their stations? What are the costs associated with each network?

Most PEV charging occurs at home, but for those who have a need to charge at a public location, it's important to understand available charging networks. While EVSE networks and charging infrastructure are frequently evolving, the major networks currently include AeroVironment, Blink, ChargePoint, GE WattStation Connect, Greenlots SKY, NRG eVgo, SemaConnect, and Tesla. Each network has a unique model, with the most common approaches being monthly subscriptions, pay-as-you-go (i.e., pay per charge), and free (free to charge and no subscription fee required).

To determine which charging networks have EVSE along your regular routes and close to your frequent destinations, use the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Station Locator and the Plan a Route function. Select a station, click "more details," and refer to the "electric charging network" field. Please note that many public EVSE are not networked and do not require specific access cards.

EVSE Networks
For detailed information on each charging network, see below.

  • Access: Monthly subscription, pay-as-you-go. Unlimited monthly access is provided for a monthly rate, or you may pay-as-you-go. To subscribe, call the company or fill out a form online. You will receive a key fob in the mail, which is needed to initiate a charging session. A one-time activation fee of $15 is required for new subscribers.
  • Contact: 888-332-2148,

Blink (Car Charging Group)
  • Access: Pay-as-you-go. Start by registering a credit card with a Blink account. There are no required annual or monthly membership fees, and no minimum credit card balance. Once registered, you will receive an "InCard" and can initiate a charge using the card. Guests can also initiate a charge with Blink's mobile application.
  • Contact: 888-998-2546,

  • Access: Pay-as-you-go, free. Sign up for free by submitting your credit card information via the website. You will receive an access card in the mail. If you initiate a session at a networked station that requires a fee, ChargePoint will assess an initial deposit of $25. Stations can be activated by using the ChargePoint card or your registered credit card. Users who do not have a ChargePoint card can use the EVSE by calling the number provided below, which is also listed on the EVSE.
  • Contact: 888-758-4389,

GE WattStation Connect
  • Access: Pay-as-you-go. To start charging with WattSation Connect, register and log in through the website. You will then be asked to link your account to PayPal for payment, and download the WattStation Connect mobile application.
  • Contact: 855-443-3873,

Greenlots SKY
  • Access: Monthly subscription, pay-as-you-go. To start charging with the Greenlots SKY network, download the Greenlots mobile application, which will allow you to search for stations, view real-time status and pricing, and choose between a prepaid monthly subscription or pay-as-you-go.
  • Contact: 888-751-8650,

NRG eVgo
  • Access: Monthly subscription, pay-as-you-go. NRG eVgo provides multiple charging network plan options, including a monthly subscription and an option to pay-as-you-go. To subscribe, visit the website and sign up for a charging plan in your area.
  • Contact: 855-509-5581,

  • Access: Pay-as-you-go. To sign up, log on to the SemaConnect website and open a new account with a $20 balance charged to a major credit card. You will receive a "SemaCharge Pass" radio-frequency identification (RFID) card that can be used to initiate charging at any SemaConnect location. SemaConnect also offers mobile payments via its smartphone application, toll-free number, or via a QR code scan.
  • Contact: 800-663-5633

  • Access: Free.Tesla Superchargers do not require an access card; Tesla Model S owners can drive up and plug in. The chargers are compatible with Model S vehicles equipped with the 85 or 60 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack that have been configured to use Superchargers. Note that other PEV models cannot access Tesla Superchargers.
  • Contact: 877-79-TESLA

The table below provides an overview of the access type and costs associated with each network.

 Network AccessCost
AeroVironmentMonthly subscription;
$19.99 per month
$4.00-$7.50 per charge
BlinkPay-as-you-go$0.39-$0.79 per kWh OR
$6.99-$9.99 per charge
$25 initial fee
Cost per charge varies
GE WattStation ConnectPay-as-you-goCost per charge varies
Greenlots SKYMonthly subscription;
Subscription costs and cost per charge vary
NRG eVgoMonthly subscription;
Cost per charge varies by region
SemaConnectPay-as-you-go$20 initial fee
Cost per charge varies

Multi-Network Access
Some companies have teamed up to facilitate access to multiple charging networks with one access/payment card. Nissan LEAF drivers, for example, can enroll in the EZ-Charge program and use EVSE on the AeroVironment, Blink, ChargePoint, Greenlots, and NRG eVgo networks in certain markets.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Two Municipal Gas Utilities Compared

Both Philadelphia and Jacksonville have municipally-owned natural gas utilities. Daniel Gabaldon, co-founder of Enovation Partners encourages Philadelphia to use their gas utility "as a catalyst for an industrial renaissance" rather than sell it.
Philadelphia seems to be focused on using its gas utility, PGW, as a tempting solution to its immediate fiscal challenges, looking for a quick sale. Jacksonville has been much more focused on using its municipal gas utility and harbor as a platform for sustained growth. It has created partnerships with businesses, leveraging its port facility and utility by attracting capital and investments, bringing together labor, capital, customers, and businesses, and positioning Jacksonville to become a market leader on the East Coast in liquefied and compressed natural gas.