Sep 092011

Pala Casino Installs Electric Car Charging Equipment

The Pala Casino Spa & Resort recently became the first casino in San Diego County, California to offer Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) to the owners of electric cars, according to the tribe’s press release.

The upgrade is part of Planet Pala environmental program. The tribe established its environmental department in 1997, and has since expanded to include quality control programs for water, pesticides, air and recycling. Now the tribe is helping improve the environment by supporting electric vehicles.

The casino unveiled two BLINK charging systems on September 8. ECOTality is the nationwide provider of the BLINK system network.

Andrew Hoskinson, the area manager of ECOTality, Inc. for San Diego, drove his 2011 Nissan Leaf to the casino in Pala and demonstrated the system by re-charging the car’s batteries for the return trip to San Diego.

“The availability of the BLINK equipment here at Pala is very significant,” Hoskinson said, “because there is now a charging station in an outlying, rural area in Southern California for the owners of electric automobiles. This greatly improves travel distances for electric vehicles.”

Read the full Story At Indian Country Today Media Network

Sep 082011

Natural gas-powered Ford taxis start rolling in Orange County

An Orange County taxi company became the first cab business in California to put new compressed natural gas-powered Ford Transit Connect Taxis into service.

California Yellow Cab of Orange County started using the first 10 of 50 Transit Connect Taxis it plans to put into service by 2012.

Yellow Cab of Anaheim also has ordered 69 of the vehicles. That means that soon more than 100 of the distinct, boxy Transit Connects will be plying Orange County streets. The CNG-powered Ford-built taxis are already in use in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and St. Louis. They cost about $35,000.

The taxis are based on the gasoline-powered version of the Transit Connect, a small van popular as a delivery or commercial vehicle. Dallas-based BAF Technologies is retrofitting the taxis as natural gas vehicles certified by the California Air Resources Board.

The Air Resources Board encourages the use of natural gas-powered vehicles because they are less polluting than autos with standard gasoline engines.

Taxi companies and other businesses like them because natural gas costs less than gasoline.

“We have a situation here in Orange County where the per gallon equivalent of CNG is almost $2 less than the price of a gallon of traditional fuel. Given that, along with the increased infrastructure support, it’s not hard to see why it makes sense for us to go with the CNG-powered Transit Connect Taxi,” said Tim Conlon, president and general manager of California Yellow Cab.

Orange County has 30 compressed natural gas filling stations.

“Our goal is to convert our entire fleet to alternative fuels,” Conlon said.

Read the full Story At Los Angeles Times

Sep 072011

New stations offer free charge for electric cars

Electric car owners may find it a bit more convenient to recharge when traveling through Roseville.

The city recently installed three new EV charging stations, two at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville and one on the corner of Oak Street and Washington Boulevard in downtown.

“We want to give people the ability to charge their car when they need to,” said Vonette McCauley, public relations director for Roseville Electric. “Whether they are here for employment or they are shopping, we want to provide some ability for them to recharge.”

But the city isn’t the only entity making it easier for electric car owners to charge up.

John L Sullivan Chevrolet at the Roseville Auto Mall is in the process of installing two large solar canopies that will act as a charging station for customers.

“This will provide a free charge to our customers who want to come in and hook up,” said Steve Ruckels, controller with John L Sullivan Chevrolet.

All these efforts are in response to increasing demands for electric vehicles, albeit the demand might be slow moving, according to Kris Blair, account representative with Roseville Electric.

Read the full Story At Granite Bay California

Aug 262011

UPS, AT&T Announce Green Fleet Additions

UPS is purchasing 100 fully electric commercial delivery vehicles from Electric Vehicles International.

The class 6 walk-in delivery trucks with a 90-mile range (pictured) will be placed in service early next year in California’s South Coast Air Basin, San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento Valley.
LG will cover half the cost for the new EVs and will work alongside engineers from GM to collaborate on components, vehicle structures and architectures. LG will also become GM’s supplier for the components, which it’s permitted to sell to other auto makers. That means this partnership will be good for the electric vehicle industry as a whole, and not just GM.

This purchase marks the largest deployment of zero emission delivery vehicles in California, and one of the largest single deployments of commercial all-electric vehicles in the world, EVI says. It estimates that the vehicles should save UPS 126,000 gallons of fuel a year.

In related news, AT&T has announced the deployment of the 4,000th alternative-fuel vehicle in its corporate vehicle fleet. The AFV, a Ford E250 van running on compressed natural gas, was deployed in Chicago.

Currently, 3,000 of the company’s AFVs use compressed natural gas. Half of all of AT&T’s AFVs are deployed in California, the company says.

Read the full Story At Environmental Leader

Apr 182011

Solar’s up! 3 new, noteworthy California projects

I don’t normally write about all the solar projects going live in a given week or month, because then this blog would have to become solar-tech pastures. But three on-site projects have just gone live in California that are each noteworthy in their own right. On-site corporate solar investments are compelling to me because these are organizations that have gone beyond purchasing renewable energy from a utility company. They have contributed directly to the cleantech cause.

#1: The Nichols Farm
The reason this one caught my attention is because the technology involved at theNichols Farmpistachio processing facility is concentrator photovoltaic, and the project is being billed as the first of its kind in North America. The 1-megawatt capacity power plant is expected to produce approximately 2,244 kilowatt-hours in its first year of operation, which is about 70 percent of the electricity needs for the pistachio farm’s processing facility. The solar installation takes up six acres next to the plant, and it uses SF-1100 CPV technology fromSolFocus. The units concentrate the solar, meaning they can collect more potential energy on a smaller piece of land than is typically possible with other types of solar. They have tracking units to follow the sunlight supply. The installation was designed and built by Bechtel.

Nichols Farm

Nichols Farm

Said the Nichols Farm owner Chuck Nichols:

“As an integrated grower, processor and marketer of pistachios, I appreciate the value of harnessing natural resources in an efficient, sustainable manner. That’s why I selected SolFocus CPV from a list of solar options. The high-energy yield combined with the superior environmental footprint of the SolFocus systems made it an ideal choice for our facility, which processes pistachios for farmers throughout the Central Valley of California.”

Read the full story at ZD Net