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Ridehailing Drivers Will Go Electric — If We Build The Charging Stations

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Originally published on RMI.org
By Laurie Stone

Michelle Pierce, a retired electrical engineer living in Southern California, is a passionate EV advocate. She started driving an electric vehicle for Lyft because she wanted to expose more people to electric vehicles and demonstrate the benefits of EVs. In 2017, Pierce rented a Chevy Bolt through the former Maven Gig program. Maven Gig was a GM subsidiary that provided short-term rentals of both EVs and conventional gasoline vehicles for ride-hailing drivers.

However, Pierce, who drove in Los Angeles about 50 percent of the time, soon discovered that many ridehailing drivers don’t have charging stations near where they live. This makes it challenging to drive an EV. “When you are driving for Uber or Lyft, you need to start the day with a full charge so that you don’t have to take time away from driving,” says Pierce. “It’s hard to charge up just before you get your day started or after work, especially if you are working late,” she adds.

In order to limit global warming to 1.5°C, we need to both reduce vehicle miles traveled and electrify transportation, and a big part of that is electrifying fleets. In fact, Lyft and Uber have commitments to electrify 100 percent of their fleets by 2030 and 2040 respectively. But electrifying rideshare fleets comes with a crucial need to install more charging stations — especially in low-income neighborhoods.

RMI’s recent report, EV Charging for All, analyzes the charging infrastructure needs for ridehailing electrification in Los Angeles. Although the infrastructure growth needed requires a substantial amount of investment, RMI’s analysis finds that this investment would earn a consistent, healthy return while delivering more accessible EV charging to both ridehailing drivers and the public.

The Inequity of Today’s EV Charging Infrastructure

The lack of charging stations makes some ridehailing drivers wary of going electric. Ben Valdez is a driver for both Uber and Lyft. He currently lives in Highland Park, about 10 minutes from downtown LA. “Although there’s charging infrastructure, it’s very limited in my area. There’s nothing in my neighborhood in particular,” he says. Having to go out of the way to charge is one of the reasons Valdez says he “won’t purchase an EV anytime soon.”

RMI discovered that many neighborhoods where household incomes are under $51,000 lack DC fast-charging (DCFC) stations for EVs. But if ridehailing drivers need to charge at slower Level 2 public chargers, it would take a lot of time out of their driving time. “I drive up to 200 miles a day. If I have to take a break to charge, that would be a big consideration,” says Valdez.

But it’s not only fast chargers that need to be installed in low-income areas. Many people live in multifamily apartment buildings, and don’t have a place to charge their cars overnight. If drivers can start with a full charge, driving an EV is much more practical.

Pierce says the lack of infrastructure in low-income areas is a perfect example of social injustice. “Many of these communities don’t have the three-phase electric distribution infrastructure necessary to install DCFC. It’s like a chicken and egg problem,” she says. “Nobody will be putting in a brand new shopping center there so the community will never get the electric infrastructure they need.”

An analysis of EV charging in California, however, shows that electric ridehailing fleets can generate as much as 60 times the demand for DC fast charging compared with a typical private EV. RMI found that building out this fast-charging network — including in lower-income communities — can be profitable, as the stations would achieve more than 30 percent average daily utilization (or eight hours of use a day), more than enough to financially support its development and operation.

Safety and Air Quality

The placement of EV chargers is also crucial. As a woman, Pierce says she is always aware of where she charges at night. She has certain chargers that she likes to frequent in well-lit places, and in places where there is sure to be activity at all hours of the night. She even signed up for a 24-hour fitness club in order to take advantage of the bathroom and a nearby charger.

And there are certain chargers she makes sure to avoid for safety reasons. Pierce believes we must install level 2 chargers where drivers live, and DCFC at gas stations or other busy places where people feel safe.

People do not only have a right to feel safe, they also have a right to clean air. EV rides from ridehailing services tend to occur near charging stations. And since most charging stations are currently located in wealthier areas, the lower-income neighborhoods miss out on the benefits of cleaner air from EVs.

“These neighborhoods are already polluted,” says Pierce. “They’re close to refineries and manufacturing plants. Then when people are forced to drive polluting cars because they don’t have access to charging there’s even more social injustice.”

An Equitable EV Transition

Transportation electrification depends on the rapid development of a robust public charging network. And that network will need to be more equitably distributed than the existing one, which is currently concentrated in wealthier areas.

Fortunately, electrifying ridesharing fleets, along with the right set of policies and programs, can deliver enough charging demand to make it profitable to install this charging network. This will provide cost-effective charging to all, including those with lower incomes who have, to date, been largely left on the sidelines of transportation electrification.

Download EV Charging for All: How Electrifying Ridehailing Can Spur Investment in a More Equitable EV Charging Network


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/15/ridehailing-drivers-will-go-electric-if-we-build-the-charging-stations/

Cleantech

Zero Emissions Zones: A Tool to Target Benefits of Vehicle Electrification to Communities that Need it Most

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Originally published by Union of Concerned Scientists, The Equation.
By David Reichmuth and Leslie Aguayo, a Climate Equity Program Manager from The Greenlining Institute

Zero-emission vehicle technologies, like battery electric and fuel cell vehicles, are critical to reducing air pollution and climate-changing emissions from transportation. State and federal policies that require and incentivize zero emission vehicles sales are important tools to ensure that this transition away from fossil fuel combustion happens as rapidly as possible. The reduction in tailpipe pollution will help address harmful and inequitable air pollution exposure from on-road vehicles. And, there are tools that could be used to target these benefits to specific communities — communities that are disproportionately burdened by air pollution. One promising tool is the use of low- or zero-emission zones to prioritize the use of cleaner vehicles.

Low- and zero-emissions zones are a policy tool available to cities to improve air quality and can reduce congestion, raise revenue, and achieve climate goals. There are more than 250 of these zones across Europe, but can they work in the United States? To help answer this question, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Greenlining Institute have created a primer to explore potential benefits to communities, as well as factors to consider in using zones as a tool to increase racial and economic equity. The goal of this primer is not to be prescriptive, but instead as an aid to help policymakers and stakeholders understand and evaluate the utility of low- and zero-emissions zones for their communities, as well as provide important considerations towards equitable policymaking.

Congestion, low-emission, and zero-emission zones compared

A congestion zone is designed primarily to reduce vehicle travel and is often used to combat traffic and other issues caused by having many vehicles on the road. Low-emissions zones (LEZ) and zero-emissions zones (ZEZ) are designed primarily to reduce emissions, and are often used to combat air pollution and meet global warming pollution reduction goals.

Congestion zones and LEZs or ZEZs are similar to each other, but there are key differences. In California, a city has the ability to implement a congestion zone on its own, but legislation may be needed before a city can begin creating LEZs or ZEZs.

A congestion zone may limit vehicle entry by type or time of day. Often, a fee will be used to incentivize drivers to choose an alternative form of transportation within the zone or to avoid it altogether. LEZs and ZEZs usually require vehicles to meet a certain pollution standard, but they can also be designed to apply only to certain classes of vehicles, such as heavy-duty trucks.

Congestion, low-emissions, and zero-emissions zones can be designed to meet an area’s particular challenges with the best practices for that community. Some of the factors to consider are included in the table above.

Consideration of local needs vital to implementation

Communities in other countries have established ZEZs to discourage the use of polluting gasoline and diesel vehicles in dense urban areas. Given the high levels of vehicular air pollution in California and the racial inequities in exposure to tailpipe pollution, communities may want to explore ZEZs as a potential remedy ZEZs are promising because, in addition to promoting long-term change, such as the transition to electric vehicles, if designed equitably, they can direct the benefits of existing clean vehicle policies to people who are overburdened by harmful air pollution.

In implementing ZEZs in hardest hit communities, there are important equity considerations that must be addressed, such as access to cleaner vehicles and chargers, ensuring market-based approaches result in real-world emissions reductions, and, most importantly, assurance that the community has the power to determine the structure and implementation of the zone.

Similarly, decisionmakers must consider many factors in pursuing an LEZ/ZEZ, and each city will need to explore the options that work locally. For too long, in implementing solutions to help the environment, decisionmakers have missed the opportunity to center economic and racial justice. ZEZs hold potential to further all three, but the policy should be considered carefully within each local context.

In fact, equitable implementation of an LEZ or ZEZ is not possible if it is done in an acontextual or ahistorical manner, particularly in California where car dependency, highways, and transit systems were born out of racialized policies. New policies must not ignore the impact of past decisions such as the construction of highways intentionally designed to segregate communities of color or punitive, racially-targeted transit enforcement. On a smaller scale, each locality’s unique context must also be factored to design an appropriate ZEZ that targets community needs, seizes opportunities for economic development and prioritizes racial equity.

For these reasons, this primer highlights the critical importance of context, and prioritized interviews and qualitative data from stakeholders in California’s communities with the highest levels of air pollution and poverty levels (AB 617 Communities). The feedback received was critical for understanding community perspectives on ZEZs, developing equity considerations, policy recommendations for decision makers, and mitigating future transportation induced environmental inequality.

While LEZs and ZEZs are not the silver bullet to equitable transportation or pollution reduction, if done with an equity-centered approach, and in combination with other community-driven strategies, the potential benefits could serve as a step in the right direction.

Featured image from LACI, from related story: USA’s 1st Zero-Emissions Delivery Zone Is In Santa Monica, California


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/28/zero-emissions-zones-a-tool-to-target-benefits-of-vehicle-electrification-to-communities-that-need-it-most/

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Tesla Model 3 Review After 3 Years: “I really, really, capital letters L-O-V-E, LOVE this car!”

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Arash Malek, the founder of Scentwedge, has shared a 3 year review of his Tesla Model 3. He has accumulated 80,000 miles in those 3 years, which inspired him to share a review on how he truly feels about the car.

Arash starts the video by emphasizing that he loves his car. Imagine loving your car after owning it for three years. Many I know would be ready for a new car due to issues they have with parts or just aging.

“To summarize it with one word, I guess it would be that I love, love, love, love it — love it! I freaking love the car. I really, really, capital letters L-O-V-E, LOVE this car. Let me tell you why.

“Aesthetically speaking, the Tesla Model 3 is the most minimal interior of any car, in my opinion. Everything that’s there is absolutely necessary to be there and I find it beautiful when something is clearly a subtractive design process. When you focus on removing rather than adding, that really resonates with me, and I prefer the Tesla Model 3 interior over the Tesla Model S or Model X interior — well, not the refresh, but the one before the refresh. And I just find it so naturally beautiful.”

As he spoke, he shared footage of his Model 3 driving in the lush mountain scenery that was accented by the warm glow of the sun. There’s a small lake to the left, vibrant green grass on either side of the road that curves into a horizon guarded by small mountains. This scene reflects Arash’s aesthetic, which he described as a minimalist purist.

“For that reason, I haven’t done many modifications to the car. In fact, the only other thing that I’ve done is add a little bit more wood to the interior of the car with the Scentwedge center console. But aside from that, I’ve done zero modifications to the car and I absolutely love it the way it rolled off the lot.”

He explained that he’s not a car person. Before he drove his Model 3, he had a Honda Accord and only used it to get from point A to point B. He really wasn’t a fan of the car and isn’t much into babying a car. He would wash it in an automated car wash and didn’t really focus on protecting the paint — it was just a car.

“It’s not so much that I want to baby the car and protect it. It’s more so I still see it as a tool, but I see it as the best freaking tool — the most fun tool. And the smartest tool available that happens to also be the fastest and most fun thing to drive and get around with.

“How often do you change the oil? And the answer to that is, ‘Never. I’ve never changed the oil on my car.’”

He explained how convenient charging is, especially on road trips. When Arash was in Norway, he took his Model 3 on a five-day-long road trip. He noted that range anxiety was nonexistent.

“Going from point A to point B, the idea of charging doesn’t even cross my mind because the car navigates you to the chargers that you need along your route based on charge status — and road conditions, inclines, declines, weather — and it just does all the thinking for you. So, figuring out how you’re going to charge, where you’re going to charge, is a non-issue because the car does it for you.”

Arash also explained that although many may fret over changing the brake pads in their cars, this is not an issue for a Tesla due to Tesla’s regen braking.

“The wear and tear on the brakes are significantly less than a traditional gas-powered car. So, actually replacing the brakes if you don’t race with the car, which I don’t, is not that frequent at all. I mean I think over the course of 80,000 miles I’ve only changed my brakes maybe once and I’m not even sure of that.

“After 80,000 miles of use, I still feel the same way about it as the first day that I purchased the car. And I think something about that is intrinsically magical. It’s constantly pushing the status quo of what it used to be. It’s kind of impossible to get tired of it and that’s my genuine review of the Tesla Model 3 after 80,000 miles. It just keeps getting better and it’s never been to the point where I’ve even considered upgrading the car to anything else.

Arash said that he considered getting a Model Y due to space and car camping, but he’s already on the waiting list for the Cybertruck and he thinks that will be his end vehicle.

“I tell everyone that I know: It’s the best product that I’ve ever purchased, hands down.”

You can watch Arash’s full review here.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/28/tesla-model-3-review-after-3-years-i-really-really-capital-letters-l-o-v-e-love-this-car/

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Cleantech

Tesla Model 3 Review After 3 Years: “I really, really, capital letters L-O-V-E, LOVE this car!”

Published

on

Arash Malek, the founder of Scentwedge, has shared a 3 year review of his Tesla Model 3. He has accumulated 80,000 miles in those 3 years, which inspired him to share a review on how he truly feels about the car.

Arash starts the video by emphasizing that he loves his car. Imagine loving your car after owning it for three years. Many I know would be ready for a new car due to issues they have with parts or just aging.

“To summarize it with one word, I guess it would be that I love, love, love, love it — love it! I freaking love the car. I really, really, capital letters L-O-V-E, LOVE this car. Let me tell you why.

“Aesthetically speaking, the Tesla Model 3 is the most minimal interior of any car, in my opinion. Everything that’s there is absolutely necessary to be there and I find it beautiful when something is clearly a subtractive design process. When you focus on removing rather than adding, that really resonates with me, and I prefer the Tesla Model 3 interior over the Tesla Model S or Model X interior — well, not the refresh, but the one before the refresh. And I just find it so naturally beautiful.”

As he spoke, he shared footage of his Model 3 driving in the lush mountain scenery that was accented by the warm glow of the sun. There’s a small lake to the left, vibrant green grass on either side of the road that curves into a horizon guarded by small mountains. This scene reflects Arash’s aesthetic, which he described as a minimalist purist.

“For that reason, I haven’t done many modifications to the car. In fact, the only other thing that I’ve done is add a little bit more wood to the interior of the car with the Scentwedge center console. But aside from that, I’ve done zero modifications to the car and I absolutely love it the way it rolled off the lot.”

He explained that he’s not a car person. Before he drove his Model 3, he had a Honda Accord and only used it to get from point A to point B. He really wasn’t a fan of the car and isn’t much into babying a car. He would wash it in an automated car wash and didn’t really focus on protecting the paint — it was just a car.

“It’s not so much that I want to baby the car and protect it. It’s more so I still see it as a tool, but I see it as the best freaking tool — the most fun tool. And the smartest tool available that happens to also be the fastest and most fun thing to drive and get around with.

“How often do you change the oil? And the answer to that is, ‘Never. I’ve never changed the oil on my car.’”

He explained how convenient charging is, especially on road trips. When Arash was in Norway, he took his Model 3 on a five-day-long road trip. He noted that range anxiety was nonexistent.

“Going from point A to point B, the idea of charging doesn’t even cross my mind because the car navigates you to the chargers that you need along your route based on charge status — and road conditions, inclines, declines, weather — and it just does all the thinking for you. So, figuring out how you’re going to charge, where you’re going to charge, is a non-issue because the car does it for you.”

Arash also explained that although many may fret over changing the brake pads in their cars, this is not an issue for a Tesla due to Tesla’s regen braking.

“The wear and tear on the brakes are significantly less than a traditional gas-powered car. So, actually replacing the brakes if you don’t race with the car, which I don’t, is not that frequent at all. I mean I think over the course of 80,000 miles I’ve only changed my brakes maybe once and I’m not even sure of that.

“After 80,000 miles of use, I still feel the same way about it as the first day that I purchased the car. And I think something about that is intrinsically magical. It’s constantly pushing the status quo of what it used to be. It’s kind of impossible to get tired of it and that’s my genuine review of the Tesla Model 3 after 80,000 miles. It just keeps getting better and it’s never been to the point where I’ve even considered upgrading the car to anything else.

Arash said that he considered getting a Model Y due to space and car camping, but he’s already on the waiting list for the Cybertruck and he thinks that will be his end vehicle.

“I tell everyone that I know: It’s the best product that I’ve ever purchased, hands down.”

You can watch Arash’s full review here.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/28/tesla-model-3-review-after-3-years-i-really-really-capital-letters-l-o-v-e-love-this-car/

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Cleantech

Who on Earth is Twiggy Forest? 

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Andrew “Twiggy” Forest is Australia’s second richest person. His wealth has been accumulated from mining and other ventures. He is the major shareholder and former CEO of Fortesque Metals, which holds massive iron ore leases in the Pilbara of Western Australia. Inspired by other billionaires (like Bill and Melinda Gates), he has pledged to give away his wealth during his lifetime. To do so, so far, he has funded philanthropic foundations to wipe out modern slavery (The Global Freedom Network), encourage the employment of indigenous Australians, and grant scholarships for higher learning. 

But, you are asking, how does this relate to the readers of CleanTechnica? Let me tell you about what Twiggy is up to now. Twiggy Forest has established Fortesque Future Industries. Current projects include:

  • Successful combustion of ammonia to power locomotives and large marine vessels, including ore carriers.
  • Design and construction of hydrogen powered mining trucks and drilling rigs.
  • Successful production of green iron and green cement. 

The Outback’s answer to Steve Jobs plans to make Fortesque one of the world’s biggest energy companies by using green hydrogen. Australia’s vast renewable energy resources will be tapped to create green hydrogen that will power not only Forest’s huge mining ventures but also be available for export. 

Fortesque plans to build a 40 GW renewable energy hub in the Pilbara. This energy will be used to create hydrogen which will in turn be used to produce green steel. The EU and associated countries will be looking for products that are produced in a low-carbon environment. The export potential is mind boggling. 

The transition to green steel will not be easy. Twiggy anticipates that as green hydrogen becomes cost effective, the fossil fuel industry will fight back by slashing prices. In a recent Australian Broadcasting Commission lecture, he described it thus: “At the end, it will be grim – think of a knife fight in a telephone box.”

Judging by his track record so far, I think I know who will win. We have a ringside seat, pass the popcorn!


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/28/who-on-earth-is-twiggy-forest/

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