Recharge Wrap-up: Audi to build Q6 e-tron in Brussels, Boris Johnson test drives Toyota Mirai

SCAQMD Donates Electric Lawnmowers

  • Image Credit: Andrew Parsons / i-Images
Audi will build the Q6 e-tron at its factory in Brussels, Belgium. Production for the electric vehicle - which will be based on the concept car from the Frankfurt Motor Show in September - is slated for 2018. Its expected driving range of about 311 miles should help make it competitive against the Tesla Model X. Audi's Brussels plant is also where the A1 is made. It employs about 2,500 workers and produced about 115,000 vehicles in 2014. Read more from Automotive News Europe.

During a visit to Toyota Headquarters, London Mayor Boris Johnson confirmed that Transport for London will be the UK's first Toyota Mirai customer. Mayor Johnson traveled to Japan on a three-day trade mission, and took a test drive of the fuel cell vehicle. "By embracing this technology of the future, we aim to consolidate hydrogen's role as a practical alternative fuel for the 21st century and beyond," says Johnson. "I am sure that Transport for London will provide the ideal environment for us to see everything Mirai can do and, in doing so, take another great step towards improving air quality in our city and protecting the health of Londoners." Read more from Toyota, or at Green Car Congress.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has delivered 12 electric commercial lawn mowers to government and nonprofit organizations in San Bernardino County. The donation of the electric mowers is part of a demonstration program to promote zero-emissions equipment. At prices ranging from $3,000 to $20,000, the electric mowers cost about 25 percent more than their gas-powered counterparts, but their lower operating costs can make up for the price difference in about two years. In addition, they produce about half the noise, and save about 600 pounds of harmful emissions per year. SCAQMD plans to deliver five more of the mowers as part of the same program. Read more in the press release below.
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SCAQMD Launches Nation's Largest Zero-Emission Commercial Lawn Mower Demonstration Program in San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The South Coast Air Quality Management District today delivered a dozen new, battery-electric commercial lawn mowers to agencies in San Bernardino County as part of a long-term demonstration program to promote the zero-emission equipment.

"We hope the ease of use and significant fuel cost savings associated with these mowers will encourage more wide-spread use of this cleaner technology," said Janice Rutherford, San Bernardino County supervisor and SCAQMD Board Member.

At an event held today at the Inland Empire 66ers stadium in San Bernardino, the SCAQMD delivered 12 new, zero-emission, battery-electric commercial lawn mowers, at no cost, to seven government and non-profit agencies, including:

• Cal State San Bernardino;
• City of San Bernardino;
• County of San Bernardino;
• Inland Empire 66ers baseball team;
• San Bernardino International Airport;
• San Bernardino Police Department; and
• Urban Conservation Corp/Southern California Mountains Foundation.

An additional five mowers will be delivered to the agencies next week for a total of 17 mowers provided by SCAQMD, representing the largest such demonstration in the nation.

Each agency will use the mowers and provide fuel savings estimates, hours of usage and other information to SCAQMD to help in quantifying air quality benefits and monitoring equipment performance.

The mowers are manufactured in the United States by Mean Green Products based in Hamilton, Ohio, and include riding and walk-behind mowers. Depending on model, each mower costs about $3,000 to $20,000, which is about 25 percent more than a comparable gas model. However, considering the cost savings in gas and maintenance, the electric mowers could pay back the cost differential in about two years.

The mowers also are about 50 percent quieter than a commercial gas mower. Depending on model, they can operate up to 7 hours on a single charge.

Commercial lawn mowers are typically used multiple times per day, have a useful life of about 10 years and use thousands of gallons of gasoline per year. Replacing one commercial gasoline-powered mower with a battery-electric model is expected to save 700 gallons of gasoline per year and reduce more than 600 pounds per year of smog-forming emissions and fine particulates.

Funding for the program comes from U.S. EPA's Targeted Air Shed Grant Program to implement incentive programs to reduce air pollution in the communities of San Bernardino and Boyle Heights.

SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

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