MassEVolves Spotlight: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) has undertaken several initiatives to increase education and awareness of electric vehicles (EVs) within the campus community, and is also investing in EV infrastructure and operations. The objective, says Jamie Jacquart, Assistant Director for Campus Sustainability, is “to see that electric vehicles are something that are becoming mainstream and normalized and part of everybody’s experiences.”

UMass Dartmouth’s main campus has two dual port EV charging stations. The university has been working with Eversource and the State Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to finance and install additional EV charging stations on campus.

Last year, UMass Dartmouth held the campus’s first EV test drive event to provide students with the opportunity to look at and test out some electric vehicles, including electric bicycles. For many students, it was their first EV driving experience. The school also provided information about the wide range of EVs available on the market. Many students saw the price as not being a financial barrier.
For them, “EVs were not as expensive as they had thought initially,” Jamie says.

UMass Dartmouth’s main campus hosts two dual port EV charging stations and is working with Eversource and the State Department of Environmental Protection to finance and install additional electric vehicle charging stations on campus. The school plans to add an additional ten dual port chargers to help service the 18 EVs that are being driven to campus on a regular basis.

UMass Dartmouth recently purchased its first electric plugin vehicle, a Prius Prime for parking enforcement staff, with a pledge to add at least one more in 2021. “They are thrilled and excited to be able to drive and spend most of their day on electricity, rather than having to constantly be using gasoline to do that,” says Jamie.

To learn more about UMass Dartmouth, visit umassd.edu. To download the complete MassEVolves UMass Dartmouth PDF case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

7 Tips on Moving from Concept to Execution with EV Charger Installations

The case for EV charging for businesses, facility and fleet managers continues to grow. EVs have lower energy and maintenance costs, and offering EV charging is a powerful incentive to attract employees and customers who drive electric.

However, making the decision to initiate a charging process is just one piece of a bigger puzzle. Once you have determined the type of chargers that make the most sense for your needs, careful planning is a must do. Our conversations with organizations who have successfully implemented EV charging programs of their own have provided a few tips for ensuring a successful process.

Tip 1: Incentives might be available! Take time to learn about possible tax credits and rebates: Federal and many state governments and local utilities offer a range of incentives to help you cover the cost of your EV charger stations. The Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act (the CAA) signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020 extends through the end of 2021 a federal tax credit of 30% of the cost of purchasing and installing EV charging stations (up to $1,000 for residential installations and up to $30,000 for commercial installations). The credits are retroactive through 2018. President Biden is also pledging to expand EV infrastructure by 500,000 chargers by 2030 and expand federal tax credits for EVs to cover more brands at a higher volume of credits.

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to get significant financial assistance from your state. In Massachusetts, for example, the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) provides grants for workplaces and multi-unit dwellings. For non-residential sites installing Level 2 charger that is accessible to the public for at least 12 hours a day, MassEVIP can provide up to $6,250 per port, and a maximum of $50,000 for hardware and software costs per site. You can look up state tax credits and rebates for your state on the US Department of Energy website.

Tip 2: Engage your power company: Your power company can be a valuable resource when it comes to planning an EV installation. Many power companies provide rebates for Level 2 chargers and can keep you informed about state and federal incentives. They can inform you of the limits of the electrical grid at your location so that you don’t exceed capacity. Your power company may also be able to refer you to reputable installation EV charger installation companies and provide you with incentives to use your EV charging equipment during off-peak hours.

Tip 3: Decide Whether to Charge to Charge: While some businesses decide to provide charging for free, others decide that their EV charging program will be easier to manage by charging a nominal fee, which helps cover the cost of electricity, opens up availability of the equipment to more drivers, and may be viewed as more equitable by those who don’t drive EVs. Fees can also be adjusted during off-peak periods using charger software. Experts recommend that even those looking to provide charging as a benefit (workplaces, malls) set a rate just above the local residential electric rate unless they know they have more chargers than will be used. That way people looking for a freebie won’t camp out, and the equipment will only be used by those who need it – and, given they need it, will appreciate the reasonable rate.

Tip 4: Consider (and plan for) recurring software fees: EV charging software can help you manage charging times for employees and encourage charging during off-peak hours. It can also help you keep track of how many drivers are using your chargers and for how long, as well as promoting the availability of fee-based charging stations for public use, thereby driving some incremental revenue. Management software also helps keep the equipment available for those that really need it. That said, costly recurring monthly EV charging software fees can add up over time, possibly reducing or eliminating economic benefits to your organization. In the end, deciding whether to go with “smart” chargers is a decision you should consider carefully, depending on your circumstances.

Tip 5: Site Selection Matters – Choose the charge location carefully:Siting your charging station(s) is dependent on several factors. Putting the chargers close to electricity may save money in the short term, but it is a decision that will have consequences for years to come. Should EVs be given the most desirable spaces in your lot? How will that be perceived by other drivers, particularly if parking space is limited? Unless it is far less expensive to put charging spots in desirable spaces, experts say it’s best not to do so. Also consider factors such as lighting for night use, visibility, in-out ease, and 24/7 availability. Make sure your EV spots feature signage clearly identifying them as EV-only parking to discourage traditional vehicles from parking in them.

Tip 6: Plan for Success: Based on charge installations to date, entities have found that when it comes to EVs and charging, the old cliche holds true, if you build it, they will come. After current charging is at capacity, what happens next? When you set up the wiring for chargers, consider adding extra capacity so that you can scale without ripping up concrete and asphalt again. If you have more EV drivers than charger plugs, you’ll have to manage that in a way that keeps EV drivers from feeling they are the victim of a bait and switch. One way to provide more flexibility is to make sure that each charger is accessible from multiple parking spots, not just one.

Tip 7: Consider how EV Drivers will Find Them: Depending on who the chargers are intended for, you might want to post public signs (including on nearby highways), list the chargers on PlugShare, or highlight them in your company newsletter.

These are a few key factors to consider when planning an EV charger installation. What are your charger questions and experiences? We’d love to hear from you.

(Thanks to EV Technical Consultant Chad Schwitters for his contributions to this post.)  

MassEVolves Spotlight: Braintree Electric Light Company (BELD)

BELDThe Braintree Electric Light Department’s innovative “Braintree Drives Electric” program has been generating awareness and promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) to Braintree residents since 2016.

The program provides Braintree residents with discounts based on their charging habits and for the installation of charging equipment at their home. 

“We want to show residents the many benefits of owning or leasing an EV, including reduction to environmental impacts, affordability, and efficiency,” says Ken Stone, Energy Services and Accounting Manager. 

After partnering with Sagewell and Energy New England to help promote the program, BELD currently has about 80 residents enrolled with approximately 100 EVs in the town of Braintree. 

As part of the program, BELD has hosted virtual EVents, including a Q&A and a local EV specialist roundtable. Sagewell identifies new Braintree EV owners and contacts them to inform them about the Braintree Drives Electric program and uses smart charging program data to analyze residents’ charging habits. Energy New England manages the Braintree Drives Electric website, processes all customer rebates, and provides outreach to customers and local car dealerships. 

BELD currently owns and operates one Chevrolet Volt, two Volkswagen e-Golfs, and two hybrid bucket trucks, with a third hybrid bucket truck ordered and expected to arrive in 2021. BELD also owns and operates two dual head charging stations, which are free of charge for all electric vehicle users.t

To learn more about BELD, visit beld.net. To download the complete MassEVolves BELD PDF case study, click here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

MassEVolves Spotlight: AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca, a founding participant in MassEVolves that embraces sustainability on a global level, installed a 250 electric vehicle (EV) charging port complex at its Waltham location in 2020, the largest such complex on the East Coast.

A collaboration between AstraZeneca, Eversource, the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP), and MassEVolves enabled the retrofitting of AstraZeneca’s existing garage in Waltham with electric vehicle charging stations. The project consisted of expanding the Waltham location’s EV charge capacity to 125 dual-headed stations, for a total of 250 Level 2 ports, creatively installed to allow each charging port to cover two parking spaces. This provides charging access to more than 450 spaces in the parking garage.

“Our company is committed to environmental sustainability and operating with net zero carbon emissions by 2025, and we are excited to be part of bringing large-scale EV capability to the region and to the employees who work at the AstraZeneca Boston BioHub,” says Ken Sutton, Facilities Director for AstraZeneca R&D Boston. “We hope this project inspires others to leverage the power of collaborations between private industry, State of Mass. EV organizations, and utilities like Eversource to affect change.”

Eversource, AstraZeneca’s energy provider, paid for and managed 100 percent of the installation of infrastructure supporting the charging stations under its EV Charging Station Program, which include transformers, switchgear, conduits and wiring. Funding for the chargers was a collaboration, with AstraZeneca purchasing the charging stations and receiving a partial rebate through financial incentives offered by MassEVIP. The ChargePoint charging stations were supplied by Voltrek.

Feedback from employees has been positive.

“The expansion of the charging station at work makes my life much easier,” says April Chen, who works at the BioHub. “I don’t have to come in the middle of the day to move my car to get charged. It makes my mind peaceful at work.”

Learn more about AstraZeneca’s sustainability initiatives at astrazeneca.com/sustainability.html. Download the complete MassEVolves AstraZeneca case study here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

Study Predicts Battery Recycling, Tech Advances Will Reduce Resource Impact of EV Battery Production

EV Batteries

EV BatteriesElectric vehicles (EVs) save drivers thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. They also reduce local healthcare costs, because unlike traditional vehicles, EVs produce zero harmful particulate emissions. Recharge America estimates that, once in the community, each EV generates $1,000 in annual economic benefit. The case for EVs keeps getting stronger every day.

Now, the environmental lifecycle case regarding electric battery production is getting stronger, too.

As reported in The Guardian, a study by Transport & Environment (T&E), Europe’s leading clean transport campaign group, assessed the amount of raw materials needed to make EV batteries today and in the future, taking into account advances in manufacturing processes and recycling. When compared to the raw materials required to run a fossil fuel car, the assessment found that EVs consume a tiny fraction of the nonrenewable raw materials consumed by traditional vehicles.

From The Guardian: “Our previous analysis has shown that that electric vehicles emit 64% less CO2, including all the different stages like electricity generation and fuel production, but this still hasn’t shaken off the argument that electric vehicles use up a large amounts of raw materials,” said Lucien Mathieu, a transport analyst at T&E and an author of the report. “Our analysis shows that the raw material needs of EV batteries pale in comparison to the fuel burned by fossil fuel cars, which, unlike batteries cannot be recycled.”

The study estimated that only around 30 kilograms of metals will be “lost” or not recovered during the lifecycle of an EV. In contrast, a traditional car burns up an average of 300 to 400 times more petroleum by weight during its lifecycle in Europe (and considerably more than that in the US).

The report shows how advancements in EV battery recycling can have a measurable impact on the environment, predicting that by 2035, over 20% of the lithium and nickel, and 65% of the cobalt, needed to make a new battery in Europe could come from recycling.

In addition, technological advancements will reduce the overall amount of resources needed for battery production, with researchers predicting that the amount of lithium required to make an EV battery will be cut in half over the next decade. The amount of cobalt required will drop by more than three-quarters, and nickel by around a fifth.

While the United States currently has no federal mandates for EV battery recycling, a number of startups are now working to address the growing demand for recycled battery metals, reports Wired.

MassEVolves Spotlight: Analog Devices, Inc.

Analog Devices, Inc.

Analog DevicesAnalog Devices, Inc. (ADI) kept moving forward on electric vehicles (EVs) in 2020, adding 14 additional electric vehicle charging access points inside a solar-topped parking garage on its Wilmington campus, doubling its onsite EV charging capacity. Since installing their first charging stations in 2015, ADI has seen the use of their charging stations increase six-fold.

“Our partnership with MassEVolves has helped us bring ADI’s sustainability commitment to our ADI communities in Massachusetts, through investment in our infrastructure and engaging our workforce to learn more about electric vehicle ownership,” said Mike Errera, Vice President of Planning and Logistics, Analog Devices, and Site Manager of the ADI Wilmington campus.

Looking ahead, ADI plans to pivot employee EV education events from in-person to virtual, so when their commuters are back on the roads they will be more likely to drive electric.

“ADI is unique among MassEVolves participants in that we are a key contributor in furthering electric vehicle technology,” said Mike. “EV battery systems are significant drivers of total vehicle cost. ADI’s battery management solutions (BMS) reduce overall costs while improving battery performance, range and safety.”

ADI recently announced the industry’s first wireless BMS and a groundbreaking collaboration with General Motors aimed at accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and a sustainable future. ADI is also an active member of the Global Battery Alliance, which is helping drive creation of a sustainable battery value chain by 2030.

Learn more about Analog Devices. You can download a copy of their complete MassEVolves case study here.

MassEVolves is a statewide initiative conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. More information about the MassEVolves program is at massevolves.org.

Navigating Electric Vehicle (EV) Chargers: Frequently Asked Questions, Answered

All about EV chargers

All about EV chargersPerhaps you have been looking at electric vehicles (EVs) for your home or business and you have concluded that they are a terrific idea: better performance than traditional petroleum-powered vehicles, lower fuel and maintenance costs, zero emissions – you are sold. 

But what about EV chargers? 

Navigating the EV charging landscape and the available options may seem a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. As you begin your research, you will encounter “Level 1,” “Level 2,” and “Level 3” chargers. Don’t let the terminology throw you. Think of them as slow, medium, and fast. And that slow doesn’t necessarily mean bad, especially if you have  longer times to charge at work, at home, or both. 

All EV models either use the same standard plugs for normal-speed charging (spelled out as Level 1 and Level 2 Charging below), come with a suitable adapter to handle variations, or can access other chargers using adapter accessories. 

Level 1 chargers provide energy equivalent to a standard 120 volt (V) three-prong AC outlet and supply an average power output of 1.3 kW to 2.4 kW, which is roughly equivalent to adding 3-5 miles of range to your battery per hour of charging. Typically, if you opt to use a Level 1 charge cord with a standard outlet, it will not require special electrical work, although before plugging an EV into any outlet you should check to make sure that you are using a dedicated circuit that is not supplying other appliances such as refrigerators or lights. We also believe it is always a good idea to have qualified professionals look at your electrical system to ensure that it can provide a safe and reliable charging option. 

Charge cords that can handle Level 1 and greater charges are typically included with the purchase of an EV. In instances where an appropriate outside plug option is available for a driver, Level 1 charging (110–120 V) is particularly suitable for home use. Most EV drivers overwhelmingly prefer to charge at home when they can – for those with that option, 80% or more of charging happens at home. Drivers can often receive discounts from their utility by charging at night, during off-peak hours. While Level 1 charge stations are available to purchase and can be installed in business or home locations, for planning purposes it is likely that they will support no more than one vehicle per day due to their relatively slow charging speed. 

Level 2 chargers can be installed at homes and are also the most widely used charger for public settings. On average, Level 2 charging adds roughly 25 miles of range per hour. They are popular in areas like public garages, hotels, malls, restaurant parking lots, and business parking settings. Level 2 chargers require a 240V electrical connection and an electrical circuit has at least 25% greater amperage than the charger’s output. The higher the output, the faster your charging time. Flexible chargers enable you to adjust the amperage to fit the limitations of your electrical system.

Many different commercial charge station options are available, and an increasing number of residential EV drivers are installing Level 2 chargers at home to take advantage of charging times that are many times faster than Level 1 chargers. For homes with more than one EV in the driveway, Level 2 chargers can be an especially sound investment, particularly when federal tax credits are taken into consideration. The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit allows individuals and businesses to write off 30% of equipment and installation costs: up to $1,000 for residents and $30,000 for commercial enterprises. 

Given their higher charging rates, Level 2 chargers in work settings can be used to support more than one vehicle per day, although employees and employers may have to establish workplace policies for allocating charging resources to ensure that access is available to EV drivers.  

Level 3 chargers offer the fastest charging rates and, because of their special equipment requirements, typically entail a significant upfront investment. Also called Direct Current Fast Chargers (DC Fast Chargers), these stations can charge an EV battery to 80% of capacity in as little as twenty minutes. Level 3 chargers require a 480-volt connection and can cost tens of thousands of dollars to install, so they are not designed for home use. They are available at rest stops for long highway trips, as well as some shopping centers, restaurants and other public locations around town. Different EV brands use different proprietary standards for Level 3 charging, and your EV must be equipped to handle a fast charge. For many business needs, Level 3 chargers can be cost prohibitive, although they may make sense for heavy commercial and/or industrial use with fleet vehicles and potentially locales with a large number of EVs. 

So Which Chargers Should I install?  

Level 2 chargers hit the sweet spot for most businesses, which can take advantage of federal and (when available) state tax credits, potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars in purchase and installation costs. Range demands make Level 2 charging preferable to Level 1 charging for the needs of organizations with more than just a few EV drivers, and are a worthy upfront investment.

For businesses, an incremental approach in rolling out EV charging capabilities may be the most practical strategy. Survey your team to understand what their needs might be. Begin with one or two dual charging stations and gauge reaction. EVs have a way of promoting themselves, and as your EV program gains traction, the case for expanding your charging capabilities will end up selling itself. A common refrain we always hear in the EV ecosystem is this: “Build it and they will come.”

Tim Allik is Communications Manager for Recharge America 

 

Leading by Example: A New Program to Promote EV Fleet Purchases in Mass.

Leading by Example Fleet Challenge

Leading by Example Fleet ChallengeMore than any other single group, fleet vehicle operators stand to gain from going electric. Fleet vehicles tend to be used much more frequently than passenger vehicles and are operated for much longer durations, and as a consequence, the economic benefits of lower maintenance and fuel costs are multiplied.

With fleet vehicles in mind, MassEVolves, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ Leading by Example (LBE), has created a new program opportunity: the Electric Vehicle Purchase Challenge (The Challenge). This annual, voluntary challenge initiative spotlights new electric vehicle (EV) purchases for fleets made by MassEVolves participants. 

MassEVolves is a state program recognizing organizations for supporting the use of electric vehicles for their operations, employees, and communities. It is conducted by Recharge America in partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Protection. 

For the inaugural year of The Challenge, MassEVolves will recognize participants who have or will be purchasing electric fleet vehicles between 2018 and the end of calendar year 2021 then on an annual basis The Challenge offers a unique opportunity to add additional EVs to the roads of Massachusetts. 

Any eligible organization or agency that wishes to participate in The Challenge can: 

  1. Submit a MassEVolves participation pledge. 
  2. Participate with MassEVolves and LBE staff, as applicable, in technical support activities related to implementing the pledge. 
  3. Submit data on the number and types of EVs acquired between January 1, 2018 and the end of calendar year 2021.

While The Challenge is not an incentive program, it does provide valuable recognition, networking, and learning opportunities.

Why Fleet Electrification Makes So Much Sense 

An article by Heather Flanagan on CleanTechnica about fleet vehicles (sponsored by ABB) spells out some of the key benefits of fleet electrification. 

The not-so-secret sauce is utilization. A typical passenger car vehicle in the US might travel around 12,000 miles per year, but a transit bus or Class 8 truck will see up to five times that usage. Consequently, reliability, longevity, and associated maintenance costs are on an entirely different scale for fleet owners …. 

An individual EV owner may save more than a thousand dollars annually on fuel and maintenance costs over a comparable combustion vehicle while reducing their individual carbon footprint. For a fleet of a thousand round-the-clock buses, trucks, or rideshare vehicles operating at 50,000 miles per year or more over the course of ten years, the savings escalate quickly into the millions.

The new Challenge by  MassEVolves and Leading By Example provides a unique opportunity for participants to share best practices and gain access to valuable information from peers, helping to guide their EV rollout plans for the months and years to come. 

Eligible entities for The Challenge include companies, higher education institutions, and state agencies across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. All state agencies should contact LBE’s Eric Friedman at eric.friedman@state.ma.us.

To sign up and learn more, email Leynah McGarghan at lmcgarghan@recharge-america.org.

Leynah McGarghan is Program Strategist at Recharge America