As electric drive vehicles become more popular across the United States, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) is doing its part to familiarize West Virginians with these next generation cars.
During a July 13 meeting at the NAFTC headquarters in Morgantown, W. Va., Executive Director Al Ebron invited all interested West Virginia University (WVU) officials and employees as well as others throughout the Mountain State to a presentation about electric vehicles and their infrastructure. A THINK City and an Eaton Level 2 charging station also were on display.
Ebron began with an overview of the NAFTC, highlighting the Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and managed by the NAFTC. He then introduced Luis MacDonald, senior project manager with Vetcars, a company dedicated to supporting the market development of electric vehicle technology and infrastructure.
MacDonald described the 100 percent electric, zero emission THINK City, noting that it contains a lithium-ion battery. “The THINK City has a range of about 100 miles on a full charge,” said MacDonald, who works with THINK to sell the car. “It is intended for urban driving at speeds of 25-35 miles per hour, but it can go up to 70 mph.”
Rick Roda and Joe Lewis represented Eaton, and they discussed the company’s Level 2 Pow-R-Station electric vehicle charging station for indoor or outdoor use. It can be wall-mounted for residential or commercial garages, or it can be installed as a free-standing pedestal for outdoor use. It can be used as a solo power station, or it can be networked with other power stations that will be operated or managed by one entity.
“These charging stations are very easy to install,” noted Ebron, who explained that he and NAFTC Assistant Director of Training and Curriculum Development Micheal Smyth and National Instructor Mark Schmidt recently attended the Eaton Certified Contractor Network for Electric Vehicles Certification Class. “As part of the Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program, we will offer infrastructure training.
“There are a lot of misconceptions out there about electric vehicles, and we’d like to put some of those to rest,” Ebron added. “I’d like to see WVU, the surrounding area and all of West Virginia become involved in using electric vehicles. This is revolutionary technology, and these cars are very dependable.”
Following the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to view and drive the THINK City. Some also got a close-up look at the Eaton Level 2 charging station.
West Virginia Division of Energy Director Jeff Herholdt, who was unable to attend the July 13 meeting, said West Virginia is a leading energy supplier to the eastern United States.
“For energy security, we need to look to domestic resources for transportation fuels. Electric and compressed natural gas vehicles represent real opportunities to help reduce our level of oil imports,” Herholdt noted. “The new and very impressive West Virginia Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicles Tax Credit should spur adoption of these vehicles. It is equal to 35 percent of the purchase price of a new qualified car up to a maximum of $7,500 per car, effective for taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2011. Now we just need a lot more people buying them.”