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.

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NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron, right, promotes electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure in West Virginia during a July 13 meeting at the NAFTC headquarters. Credit: NAFTC

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.”

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Vetcars Senior Project Manager Luis McDonald gives a presentation about the THINK City. Credit: NAFTC

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.

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Eaton representatives Joe Lewis, left, and Rick Roda discuss the company’s Level 2 Pow-R-Station electric vehicle charging station, which is pictured on the far left. Credit: NAFTC

“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.

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Mark Schmidt, NAFTC national instructor, and Casey Randolph; energy development specialist in the West Virginia Division of Energy, which houses the W. Va. Clean State Program; inspect the THINK City. Credit: NAFTC

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.”

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Kelly Bragg, coordinator of West Virginia’s Clean Cities coalition, the W. Va. Clean State Program, connects an Eaton Level 2 charger with a THINK City. Credit: NAFTC

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WVU Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Roy Nutter drives the THINK City during the July 13 NAFTC event to promote electric vehicles in West Virginia. Nutter also is a member of the Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program Advisory Committee. Credit: NAFTC




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