Recharge Wrap-up: Ford HQ gets giant solar array, Chevy City Express gets 24 MPG city

University Of Wisconsin Engineers Blend Diesel And Gas For Improved Efficiency; Southeast Alternative Fuel Conference

  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
Ford will be building Michigan's largest solar array at its Dearborn headquarters. With funding from DTE Energy, the solar carport will provide covered parking, as well 30 charging stations for electric vehicles. The array is expected to generate 1.13 million kWh per year for Ford's operations, and offset 794 metric tons of carbon emissions. Read more in the press release below.

Chevrolet announced the fuel economy for the 2015 City Express, at 25 mpg combined. The cargo van is rated at 24 mpg in the city, and 26 mpg on the highway. Chevy credits the van's inline four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission for its impressive city mileage. For its customers - which are mainly businesses - "The fuel economy of the City Express will help stretch their dollar at the pump and give them the flexibility to invest the savings back into their business," says Chevrolet's Ed Peper. The City Express starts at $22,950. Read more in the press release below.

Engineers at the University of Wisconsin have developed an efficient engine that runs on a diesel-gas blend. The engine, which uses a computer to control the blend proportions, is about 15 percent more efficient than the any diesel engine according to mechanical engineering professor Rolf Reitz. The team has put the experimental reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) engine in a demonstration car - a 2009 Saturn. "This vehicle can do 50 miles per gallon," says Reitz, who believes the system could be improved further. Read more at Wisconsin Public Radio.

The Southeast Alternative Fuel Conference and Expo will take place in October in Raleigh, North Carolina. Held at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center from October 22-24, the event will feature a variety of exhibitors, speakers and, most importantly, alternatively powered vehicles. "The three day conference will be a one-stop shop for fleet and transportation related decision makers to learn about return on investment, efficiency and alternative transportation fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, propane and natural gas," says Anne Tazewell of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. If you can't make it to Raleigh for the Expo, you can still enter to win a free two-year lease of a Nissan Leaf at the Center's website. Learn more about the event in the press release, below.
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Ford, DTE Energy to Build Michigan's Largest Solar Array

- Ford and DTE Energy work together to build Michigan's largest solar array, second largest solar carport in the Midwest

- The project, funded by DTE Energy, will provide 360 covered parking spaces and facilitate for 30 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn

- Carport expected to generate 1.13 million kilowatt-hours annually – enough energy to power 158 average-sized homes for a year

Ford Motor Company is teaming with DTE Energy to build Michigan's largest solar array at Ford World Headquarters.

The project, funded by DTE Energy, will provide employees with 360 covered parking spaces and 30 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles such as the company's Ford Fusion Energi and C-MAX Hybrid Energi. A kiosk will also be on site offering general information to visitors about solar power and specific details about the Ford carport.

"Ford has a long history of innovation and a deep commitment to sustainability," said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company. "Our fundamental purpose as a company is to make people's lives better. We do that by creating outstanding products, by investing in communities where our employees live and work, and by using technology to tackle global sustainability challenges. Those beliefs are embodied in this project."

The solar canopy will have capacity to generate 1.038 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 158 average-sized homes. It will be the second-largest solar carport in the Midwest, after a 1.1-megawatt facility at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, and it will reduce the amount of electricity Ford pulls from the grid to run its offices.

The solar array will offset an estimated 794 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with DTE Energy to bring a more efficient, renewable energy source to our offices," said Donna Inch, chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Land Development Corporation. "This is an innovative project that will benefit both DTE Energy and Ford, and is yet another example of our work toward building a more sustainable future."

Under a recently finalized agreement, DTE Energy will construct, operate and maintain the carport for 20 years. Construction is slated to begin in September and be completed in early 2015.

The solar installation is part of an initiative DTE Energy launched in 2009 called SolarCurrents. The program works to fulfill DTE Energy's commitment to generate 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015.

"The SolarCurrents canopy project is another example of how DTE Energy and Ford are working to build a more energy-efficient and sustainable future," said Irene Dimitry, DTE Energy vice president, marketing and renewables. "At the same time, this project will help us come closer to meeting Michigan's renewable energy goals and diversify our energy portfolio."

This is the second collaboration between Ford and DTE Energy in recent years.

In 2010, the companies teamed up to install a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic panel system at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. Energy generated by the system helps power vehicle production at the plant, where Ford Focus, Focus Electric, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi are built.

Ford World Headquarters is home to other environmental innovations. In 2012, a "living roof" was installed when a 2,500-square-foot portion of the rooftop needed repair.

Multiple varieties of sedum were planted to reduce storm water runoff from the building. The project built on the success Ford saw a decade ago when it developed its first green roof at Dearborn Truck Plant, home of F-150 pickup production. Consider the numbers:

- 10.4 acres of drought-resistant vegetation (the equivalent of eight football fields) was planted on top of the truck plant
- The vegetation helps create a natural storm water management system that costs two-thirds less to operate than a conventional treatment system
- The roof, covered with 11 plant species that act as insulation, lowers the amount of heat entering the building by 70 percent, reducing cooling costs by 5 percent

2015 Chevrolet City Express Gets 24 mpg in the City

DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today the fuel economy for the 2015 City Express cargo van. The company's first entry into the small van segment will offer an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, resulting in 25 mpg combined.

The vehicle's 2.0L dual-overhead cam inline-four-cylinder engine matched to a continuously variable transmission allows the vehicle to achieve greater efficiency on the road, especially when driving in the city.

"The 2015 Chevrolet City Express is designed for our customers who are looking for a small, easy-to-maneuver, fuel-efficient, cargo-carrying vehicle," said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet & Commercial. "The fuel economy of the City Express will help stretch their dollar at the pump and give them the flexibility to invest the savings back into their business."

All types of businesses – from florists to food delivery – will benefit from Chevrolet's service and support, including two-year/24,000-mile (whichever comes first) standard maintenance that helps businesses keep their vehicles in shape and on the job.

The 2015 Chevrolet City Express LS starts at $22,950, MSRP excluding tax, title, license, optional equipment and dealer fees. Standard features on the LS model include dual rear sliding doors, power windows, 40/60 split rear cargo doors that open 90 and 180 degrees, solid rear doors with available tinted-glass windows, center console storage with a standard file folder bin, fold-down mobile workspace passenger seat, 20 interior cargo-mounting points, six floor-mounted D-rings, six exterior roof rack mounting points, vinyl flooring, a 150-amp alternator and a 12-volt power outlet.

The new addition to Chevrolet's stable of fleet vehicles will arrive in dealerships in the fourth quarter, offering 122.7 cubic feet (3,474 liters) of customizable cargo space, a tight turning diameter of only 36.7 feet (11.2 m) and an estimated payload capacity of 1,500 pounds.

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

Southeast Alternative Fuel Conference & Expo
Three day event highlights transportation solutions

Raleigh, N.C. (August 11, 2014) – The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center is hosting the Southeast Alternative Fuel Conference and Expo at the Raleigh Convention Center, October 22-24. Highlights of the event, the largest of its kind on the east coast in 2014, include plenary and breakout sessions with national and regional leaders, a 25,000 sq. ft. expo hall and an alternative fuel vehicle ride-and-drive, as well as five co-located events on the morning of the 22nd that will be free to conference attendees.

"The three day conference will be a one-stop shop for fleet and transportation related decision makers to learn about return on investment, efficiency and alternative transportation fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, propane and natural gas," states Anne Tazewell, transportation program manager at the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center and conference planning committee lead.

The conference will encompass over 50 exhibitors, 100 speakers and 20 alternatively powered vehicles. Keynote speakers include: U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary Reuben Sarkar; Jim Mottavalli, a contributor to the New York Times, NPR's Car Talk and author of several books on transportation; and General Duncan McNabb, former commander of U.S. Transportation Command and member of the Energy Security Leadership Council.
Additional industry related speakers include Joe Jobe, CEO National Biodiesel Board; Joe Thompson, President ROUSH Clean Tech; Adam Monroe, President Novozymes NA; Susan Alt, Senior Vice President Government Affairs Volvo Group NA; Brendan Jones, Electric Vehicle and Infrastructure Deployment, Nissan NA and Genevieve Cullen, Vice President of the Electric Drive Transportation Association. Vehicles that will be on display and/or available to drive and/or ride in include a natural gas powered boat, a VIA Motors electric vehicle, a Tesla Model S, Ford propane vehicles and a Thomas Built alternative fuel school bus.

The winner of a free two year lease to a 2015 Nissan LEAF, the world's bestselling electric car will be announced as part of an evening reception at the conference on October 23rd. All attendees that register for the conference before October 22 will be entered to win. However, it is not necessary to attend the conference to win. All legal U.S. residents 21 and older in the 48 contiguous states may enter the giveaway by visiting the Center's website at and answering a short clean transportation quiz.

About the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center
The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, visit:http://www.nccleantech. Twitter: @NCCleanTech

About the Southeast Alternative Fuel Conference and Expo
The October 22-24th, 2014 event at the Raleigh Convention Center is supported through grants provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and the N.C. Department of Transportation and over 25 sponsors. The conference planning committee is comprised of U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities coordinators in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.To learn more about the Southeast Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo visit:www.altfuelsconference. org

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