Energy Transition New York

Why this blog?

The energy transition industry is changing every day. New innovations, failed innovations, battery breakthrough and fossil fuel fluctuations. In this blog Valerie and me try to combine the news around electric vehicles and microgrids in North America, with a special focus on the U.S. east coast region. Through this blog we try to make sense of the progress the EV and Microgrid market are making for both an US and European audience. 

Valerie is relatively new to the Cleantech field, however is a U.S. business development expert. Myself, I am new to the U.S. and its market dynamics, but have a good sense how electric vehicles and microgrid are going to develop. 

I hope you enjoy our East Coast Electric and Energy Transition New York blog. 

Tim Kreukniet

About Tim Kreukniet:

By setting up the Dutch Organization for Electric Transport, Tim quickly became an electric vehicle expert. He is able to listen carefully to others perspective and places it in the bigger Energy Transition scheme, in order to help all parties involved to move forward. Before starting Energy Transition Group, Tim worked for DOET and Qurrent, and helped numerous companies and governments with their electric vehicle and microgrid questions. Tim holds a B.A. from Maastricht University and MsC from the Vrije Universiteit.

About Valerie Varco:

Valerie Varco joins Energy Transition with extensive experience helping start-ups and social enterprises craft their message, improve processes, develop strategy, and find partners. She specializes in business planning and implementation, communications strategy and branding, stakeholder development, and social impact assessment.

In addition to her business planning and branding expertise, Valerie is extremely knowledgable about the local context and start-up environment in the US which will be useful in setting up East Coast Electric, Energy Transition's pilot program, in the US. She comes to Energy Transition from the We See Beauty Foundation where she created the business plan for their signature pilot program, a worker-owned cooperative to benefit women from low-income neighborhoods, in Brooklyn, New York. .

While in graduate school, Valerie consulted with a number of NYC-based startups on market expansion and business strategy. She is actively engaged in NYC’s start-up scene and has participated in events like Strategy Hack and Amplify Good’s Summer Takeover as a marketing and brand advisor to help start-ups accelerate their growth.

A native of Colorado, Valerie earned her Bachelors of Arts in History from Colorado State University and her Masters of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.


The EV dilemma of New York City: where will I charge my EV?

The EV dilemma of New York City: is there space to charge my EV? 

Electric Vehicles (EV) are on the rise in the North East region of the United States, in late October the Governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut and New York - (among 8 states in total) signed a pledge to put 3.3 million EV's on the road by 2025. This is part of an ongoing effort by New York State to lower car tail-pipe emissions, stimulate innovative businesses and economic growth and diminish dependency on fossil fuels. 

One of the biggest obstacles for large-scale consumer adaptation is range anxiety. While average distance for most drivers is within the battery range of electric vehicles on the market, range anxiety creates a barrier to buying an electric car. From a technology perspective range anxiety can be solved in three ways; bigger battery capacity better communication towards the consumers through mobile technology, or by creating easy access to charging stations. All these have a considerable price tag. If we focus on electric vehicle charge stations the question arises who is going to pay for the hardware. and who is allowed to create revenue over the provided services?   

The Obama administration tried to break through this with the EV Everywhere program, but did not meet expectations. However things may change as we see a steady rise of EV chargers put in place (link to DOE site). On the plugin website it shows that NYC has about 160 public accessible chargers and 3 DC fast chargers.

New York faces the same challenges, but (as always) is a bit different. Ultra urban Manhattan has only limited space available on the curb. Furthermore, car ownership is low in Manhattan and the neighborhoods in Brooklyn adjacent to the east river. Moreover, the city is actively promoting to get rid of your car, use public transport and join a car sharing program. While I support this strategy, I do think curbside charging is going to be necessary in certain New York area's. Regardless of the incentives people are still going to buy a car, so we should do everything possible to make sure that they buy an electric car. For instance, the majority of car owners in Brooklyn and the Bronx do park on the street, but do not have a designated parking space on private property. Servicing those people could give a big boost to New York city EV ownership beyond the occasional Tesla Model S.

New York in this case has some similarities with Amsterdam and other Dutch cities. They too have limited space in the city and promote an anti-car policy, however they also see the benefits of an electric vehicle (most notably local air pollution, when EVs go in great numbers). Let’s compare it to Amsterdam. The city has almost a 1000 public level II charging stations 8 public level III fast charging stations and about 500 private charging stations. To reach this impressive number Amsterdam has used a progressive strategy to implement EVs. For instance, its customer segmentation in the beginning was fantastic; the city center in Amsterdam has a huge parking problem, to get a parking permit you have to wait up to 8 years, while paying for parking is about 5 dollars per hour. So people who got an electric car would get a parking permit instantly and the city would place a charging station within 100 meters from your house and provide you with free energy between 2008 and 2011. This was a temporary offer but people in the city with sufficient means raved about it and quickly the Tesla Roadster became an inhabitant of the city precious canal district. 

This campaign generated a lot of publicity for EV's as parking is a huge problem in Amsterdam. Afterwards, the city set out an request for proposal (RFP) to install 1000 public Level II chargers. The RFP comprised of certain crucial areas, for instance;

 

1. Revenues were allowed to be made by the owner of the charge point 

2. The owner of the charge point should adhere to an open standard to allow EV's with another service provider to access the station 

3. The charger could only be installed upon request by an EV owner and thus limiting the time a charging station stood idle

4. The energy provided must be renewable energy

This amount of public chargers also made the Car2Go project possible. The widespread availability of charging stations made it possible to let loose 300 electric Smarts in the streets of Amsterdam. Now everybody could drive an electric vehicle and support for electric vehicles is widespread throughout the city. 

So what could New York learn from this: 

1. Only install an EV charger when there is an electric vehicle owner living nearby to uphold support for EV chargers

2. Install the framework for EV chargers, through the RFP, but do not provide services to the end-user 

3. Public chargers are more expensive than private chargers in parking lots, so stimulate the placement of chargers in private areas (as it has done for new parking lots).

4. Help organizations like Zipcar to place more EVs, in order to increase the number of people that has driven in an EV to stimulate consumer awareness.

5. Adhere to an open model for EV charging to remain competitive (a later blog will dive into this topic)

6. Facilitate the placement of Level III/fast chargers in areas where a high number of EVs (could potentially) pass, this will greatly reduce Range anxiety and commuters will start using the EV


Tesla: The gateway to the electric vehicle for mainstream America

Last week, I visited NYC’s Tesla store. Located in NYC’s posh Meatpacking District, it’s airy, open space design, and track lighting made the store unlike any car dealership I’d ever seen. Part gallery, part design studio; Tesla’s Model S and Roadster were on display like pieces of art with an entire wall devoted to the different design options available to new owners.

Like many Americans, the Tesla store was my first encounter with the electric vehicle. Even with their extremely low maintenance cost, environmental benefit, and heightened driving experience, electric vehicles (both plug-in hybrids and battery-operated) only make up about .03% of the US automobile market. The upfront cost and lack of charging infrastructure prevent many Americans from making the switch. Additionally, a general lack of information about electric vehicle technology deter wide-scale adoption.

However, Telsa’s sleek stores located in upscale shopping malls and districts throughout the US provide an inviting gateway for mainstream America to familiarize themselves with electric vehicles. Tesla owns and operates all its retail locations removing the barrier of unenthusiastic dealers who may not want to take the time to explain the new technology to unfamiliar consumers.

Simultaneously,Tesla is tackling “range anxiety”- the fear that drivers will get stranded because of a lack of charging infrastructure - through its coast-to-coast network of superchargers.  Last month, two Model S's commemorated the completion of the first phase of Tesla’s Supercharger network by driving cross-country from Los Angeles to New York in 76 hours and 5 minutes. Tesla plans to double the number of supercharger locations before the end of 2014.

Still, starting at $62,400, the Model S remains a luxury out of reach for most Americans. This may change as Tesla's long-term strategy is to produce a more affordable electric vehicle. They recently announced plans to release a third-generation, less expensive model at the 2015 Detroit Autoshow. Industry experts anticipate the 2015 car will be priced in the $30,000 to $40,000 range.

Even with its luxury price tag, Tesla is not having any trouble gaining customers.  Tesla’s second-generation, Model X, an all-electric SUV, is due out at the end of the year. And as the salesgirl told me, 8,000 people have already put down a deposit.

 


What is happening in Austin Texas?

Last week I enjoyed some southern hospitality and was struck by the clean tech ecosystem that is present in Austin Texas.

East Coast Electric joined a delegation of Alliander, Cogas, University of Twente, Dr. Ten, Enervalis from the Netherlands to establish an ongoing cooperation between Amsterdam and Austin. Reason for this cooperation is the ongoing effort by both Alliander and Cogas to play a leading role in the Dutch and International Smart Cities arena. Through establishing international relations, setting up research programs and exchanging knowledge (by actually sending Phd students across the Atlantic). But most of all the smart cities collaboration between Amsterdam and Austin makes it easier for entrepreneurs to land in a trusted environment across the Atlantic. 

So what struck me in Austin? Mainly 3 things: The first is the level of the existing cooperation between the University of Texas, the CleanTX incubator and the utility Austin Energy. Simply put; the cleantech field in Austin is transparent and the environment is open and cooperative. The second part that struck me is the integration with events such as the South-by-Southwest festival that creates awareness of the innovation for a broad audience (a step that is often forgotten in the NL). Thirdly the receptiveness to international cooperation. Austin is a cleantech hotspot, but rather than having an exclusive approach, they open up and look beyond their horizon, in order to make their ecosystem flourish. They acknowledge that cooperation and partnerships only work when it is a two way street. 

So what have I learned in Austin? That Texas is open to innovation. That the grid problems take place on different parts of the day, but the systems to solve these problems are the same, and that spring starts early down south.

The level of cooperation between Austin and Amsterdam is admirable.  And upon this international cooperation the NL and the US can only grow. Through a concerted effort the Austin - Amsterdam partnership has deemed itself very admirable.


ARPA-E: the High Risk - High Reward investments of the US department of energy

The ARPA-E conference was by far the biggest conference I had ever participated in. It easily encompassed 2000 people and the topics were very diverse. ARPA-E is the acronym for: Advanced Research Project Agency

The program funds projects for 36 months between 3-5 million dollar accepting a high-risk, high reward portfolio.

During the conference over 250 different research project were  showcased. Some research was very concrete,  Urban Energy Power, others are a little more out of reach, Helion Energy, but still the premiss of fusion is too cool to ignore.

Changes in the energy landscape

The energy economy and its landscape is changing, faster that some accept , not fast enough for a whole bunch of researchers and entrepeneurs. I witnessed some great discussions about the utility 2.0, a number about transportation, and 1 about voltage frequency.

However, one thing really stood out, it was said over and over again that the research done in ARPA-E has difficulty in becoming commercial. Apart from the technical difficulties this has also a lot to do that  a researcher and an entrepreneurs are only seldomnly found in one person. Therefore a lot of people stress on the team and in early stages acquiring a good mix of people that can lead the company in its development and its commercialization. However the number of people that make things commercially viable were greatly outnumbered, thus there is a big bridge to gap.

Abscence of V.C. capital, but is it bad?

Another aspect was the almost complete absence of capital at the ARPA-E conference. And I understand why, a lot of these innovations are nowhere near a price point or pratical application. So how do we bridge the gap or as it is often referred to ‘the death valley’ between early stage and commercial application. Smart money, seems to be an answer. Another answer is to limit the amount of capital into a company until it has a commercially viable application and some clients. By limiting the capital into a company, you force the company to listen to its prospective clients and develop the product into something that solves a problem. Too often an innovation is the solution for a problem that does not exist in the clients understanding. Thus by focusing or even courting the clients a company develops an application or product that serves a need. 


Techbelt tour (Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Pittsburgh)

People often forget that the vast landscape west of New York used to be the manufacturing heart of the United States. Times are changing and customers are consistently demanding more technically sophisticated products. So in order for corporations to compete they need to specialize. The downside is; as you are focusing on your niche market, how do you make sure that you remain aware in the battlefield that has become globalization?

The Techbelt gives a clear answer. In Ohio and Pennsylvania they have bundled together their expertise and market the region as a region where state-of-the-art technical research and innovation takes place. What is unique is that it encompasses 2 states, multiple counties and over 8 universities that can feed off each other, rather than compete against each other. This is one of the resemblances this region shows with the Dutch Brainport  region.

The Techbelt approach has already shown a number of results as it got awarded the National Research center for Equipment Manufacturing and the region was mentioned twice in the state of the Union speech of President Obama (hyperlink). These are early signs of results and bring a lot of attention and energy to the region.

My trip started out in Cleveland, already in the elevator John of Lightning America, my host, William Cann of the Regional Chamber in Youngstown/Warren, and myself started discussing how the energy grid could become DC rather than AC as it is makes more sense. Discussion continued at Akron University where they have a microgrid in place to simulate load behavior of the grid, including a 60kw DC fastcharger for EVs. Apart from the battery research done at Akron and Youngstown/Warren, they are also starting a tech incubator that is helping 40 companies in the energy field. My final lag of the trip was in Pittsburgh, were the DC story continued both from a medium and low voltage perspective.

So what have I learned; there is a lot of cleantech in the Techbelt, a number of companies are growing and have potential to work with Dutch partners. It is an excellent place to get more buck for your research and manufacturing dollar, and it host a wild array of very pleasant people that are dedicated to the region.

It was a wonderfull trip, thanks go out to the regional chambers in Cleveland, Akron and Pittbburg, and an extra thank you to Eric Planey, William Cann and Sarah Boyarko, for making this a very effective and fun trip.


Misuse of EV Provide Fresh Battery for Second Owner

By Nicholas Lalli

It has been over three years now since GM has introduced its ground breaking Chevy Volt, and as lease contracts expire they make their way onto used car lots. As the 2012 and 2013 Volts arrive awaiting the beginning of their second life, as this reports shows, one thing stands deviant. Their lifetime MPG range. These pre-owned extended-range electric vehicles show a lifetime range of 34-39MPG. These Chevy Volt owners were using the gasoline engine for the majority of the 30,000-100,000 mile range these cars were driven. The EREV’s can reach over 100 MPG when running with electricity, only inputting a little help from a gas powered engine when reaching high speeds or low battery power.

The poor gas mileage was due to a misusage of the Volt. After further research, it became apparent that this group of Chevy Volts were fleet vehicles. Fleet vehicles are used by government officials; officials who have the cost of their gasoline usage covered, but not electricity costs from charging at home. The result is a large number of electric vehicles rarely ran on electricity at all.

This lack of efficiency has become an opportunity for the next wave of Volt owners. They can now purchase a Chevy Volt for much cheaper of costs due to high mileage, but the battery usage is much less and practically new. The misusage of these ‘Chevys gone green’ could have decreased the gasoline expenditure of the government, with a much cheaper energy source, electricity. This environmental and monetary benefit could have been composed with the simple additions of charging stations at the work sites of volt drivers. Something the US government is trying to promote through the Workplace charging Challenge (with varying success). Gasoline expenditure would have been decreased by 2/3, and the savings would have easily covered the cost of the added charging stations.  With that, the second wave of Chevy Volt owners have a chance to make use of all 100MPG’s and save some cash by simply plugging in.


From Vision Towards Knowledge Creation

Creating a bright energy future in which we can consume energy without guild: without climate change and without reducing the air quality.  It seems like a distant future. However a glimpse of such a future became apparent after I interviewed 21 scientists at the three technical universities (3TU) in the Netherlands. I conducted these with the goal of providing an overview of Dutch electric vehicle and microgrids research, to ultimately, set-up Dutch – U.S. research collaboration. These  inspiring conversations taught me a lot about the scientifically based  vision on the future of the energy industry.

Miro Zeman told me about clean intermittent, distributed and  renewable energy resources (like solar, wind and hydro) and how they will play an important part in supplying our future carbon neutral energy needs. Paulien Herder gave me insights in the extra strain of these intermittent sources on, often already outdated energy grids . Most researchers pointed at the development of novel information technology (IT) as the solution. These could provide tools to smartly manage these fluctuating energy flows to  balance supply with demand, and remain within the boundaries of the grid. However, Gerard Smit told me that these IT solutions will not be enough to match supply and demand. In this respect Peter Notten’s research into the development of new battery technologies was inspiring. Most researchers supported the argument that energy storage will increasingly play a large role in the future energy system. Remco Verzijlbergen came with an especially interesting argument: the batteries of electric vehicles might play an important part within the grid when managed efficiently: storing energy when demand is low and giving it back to the grid when demand is high.

Talking to these scientists made me realize the immense task at hand: transforming grids, growing the share of renewable energy sources and creating novel ways of managing these energy flows requires novel and radically different knowledge. I was happy to see and speak to many scientists working on these problems but also convinced that in order to accelerate developments, cooperation is key. A visualization of the Dutch knowledge network within these three universities revealed over 1700 researchers working on these topics within a strong knowledge clusters (see visualization below). Within these clusters scientists are working on a variety of topics like batteries, hydrogen storage, efficient photovoltaic cells, and smart and sustainable power systems, to name a few. In table 1 you will find an overview of strong Dutch research clusters.

Collaboration is Key

The quality of these research institutions is high considering the size of the Netherlands, only 17 million people, less than the number of people living in the State of Nw York. Just 17 million people, limited resources (MIT’s budget dwarves that of the TU Delft: by a factor of around 22) and still 4 universities within the top 100 list of universities in the world (times higher education ranking). However, this small scale has its drawbacks. Cooperation is key in staying in the forefront of developments and connecting Dutch researchers with American researchers could prove fruitful for both parties on specific topics where the research complements each other. Furthermore international collaboration between strong knowledge institutions increases the chances of finding funding for research.

 

A presentation on the Dutch research network and the next steps we will undertake click on this link: http://www.slideshare.net/MelchiorLangeveld/k2k-dutchexpertise

 

Table 1: Dutch knowledge clusters, their researchers and topics

Strong Clusters

(# nodes)

First tier (top 1% of degrees)

Second tier (top 2% of degrees)

Topics

1 (205)

F. Mulder; J. Schoonman; E. Kelder

Marnix Wagemaker, Gordon Kearley

Battery and Hydrogen Storage

2 (178)

M. Zeman; R. van Swaaij

Arno Smets, Wim Metselaar

Low cost efficient PV systems

3 (136)

E. Lomonova; J. Paulides

H. Jansen

Energy conversion in automotive systems

4 (154)

P. van den Bosch; M. Steinbuch

T. Hofman

Control systems for automotive applications

5 (132)

W. van Sark; A. Meijerink

J. van Roosmalen

PV performance in built environment

6 (172)

W. Kling; M. Gibescu

 

Smart and sustainable power systems (grids)

7 (106)

P. Herder

B. de Schutter

Technology, policy and management of smart grids

8 (119)

P. Bauer

B. Ferreira

Micro grids and EV charging

9 (91)

P. Notten

D. Danilov

Battery management systems and hydrogen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visualization of the Dutch EV & Microgrid research network


Smart charging reducing capital and operational expenditures for EV charging.

Last week Breaking Energy reported that the US will not meet its 1 million ZEV by 2015. All-in all not a very big surprise as the 2010 goal was pretty bald to begin with. Nevertheless it is good to be consciounness about the progress the US made and the hurdles we still need to overcome.

One of the premier drivers of EV’s in the US is the strong support of grassroots organizations like Plug-in America. From 15 to 21st of september they with a nummber of other organizations organize the National Plug-in Week will take place and throughout the US, people will meet EV’s and more importantly their drivers to share experiences.

At these local events, range anxiety is an often heard argument for non EV drivers to not purchase an EV. While the argument of range anxiety is debatable, 95% of commute distance is less than 40 miles, high capital and operational cost for EV infra owners are less so. Upfront EV charger cost, including equipment and installation, are a barrier for property owners to invest in EV charging. After installation, operational cost can be cumbersome, especially when you have a number of EV chargers adding to your demand charge.

Chargers in demand, as number of EV’s continue to grow

For example, in the near future, EV adoption rate will reach 10% in urban areas. To service these cars properly, about at least 3% percent of the parking spaces should be designated for EV drivers (in the Netherlands it is 0.3 publicly accesible charger to the EV). In an average parking lot with 300 spaces, this amounts to 10 chargers. 

As EV’s become more mainstream, customers will be more demanding. And as a propierty owner there is a distinct difference between having and operating 2 chargers or 10 chargers in a parking lot. If you don’t have at least a 11 kW charger, it will be difficult to service the short term visitors.  However putting 10 chargers in place. that charge with 11 kW at the same time, can have severe effects on the demand charge of your electricity bill (which runs up to 30% of your electricity bill) and the wires you need to put in place.

Smart Charging

To avoid these cost, propierty owners will make use of smart charging. The EV chargers are not managed by their technical capacity, but by business rules set-up by the owner of the charging stations. These can be used to avoid demand chargers, to limit the cost of the installation, to implement solar panels. When the operator of the smart charging stations is able to communicate with the utility, they could incorporate time of use pricing and demand response. With demand response the EV charger even turns into a double sided business model.  Dutch field test have shown that EV charge station owners can reduce their operational plus capital expenditures with 15-20%. These results are still preliminary, but as the EV market grows, the demand for EV chargers will grow. To avoid huge cost for parking lot owners, East Coast Electric and its partners want to work with US companies to demonstrate Smart Charging in the US and the effects on the bottomline for a parking garage. 


Total cost of ownership of EV leasing cheaper than Regular car

Total Cost of Ownership: Leasing and Electric Vehicle VS. Standard Combustion engine

By, Nicholas Lalli

The United States in 2015 is beginning to break away from a time of recession. Unemployment is decreasing, along with energy costs, but the long lasting effects on our financial mentality have set in. This has been proven with the large increase in number of leased vehicles, which are over 3 times larger than seen in 2009. The benefits of leasing are clear, in that you can afford a newer and more expensive vehicle over a 3 year period, while paying a fraction of the MSRP. To clarify, leasing a vehicle is practically a long term rental, and you aren’t tied to the costs of repairing an older vehicle with higher mileage. Typically, leases are over a 3 year or 36 month period and restrict you to using 45,000 of the vehicles miles. The monthly lease payments are determined using sales tax which vary by state, a down payment ($2,000 in our model), and residual value of the vehicle (how much the vehicle is worth after the lease). 

The model shows the specific variables attributing to the lease cost, in addition to outside expenses faced over that 3 year period. Rumor has it that Electric Vehicles have lower annual fueling costs, but does that make-up the difference in a higher MSRP? Luckily the United States government provides a $7,500 dollar incentive on the purchase or lease of a plug-in electric vehicle. These various factors facilitated my interest in the total cost of ownership for a leased electric vehicle and internal combustion powered vehicle. The calculations shown above are made using the tax, and average energy costs of New York State. The implemented incentive proved viable in reducing the TCO of leased vehicles over this 3 year period. The $15,000 dollar difference in MSRP of the Chevy Volt and VW Golf was voided due to the combination of lower fuel costs, and government credits associated with the Plug-in electric vehicle. The $7,500 dollar incentive decreased the payments to the Volt dealer to $15,439.43, still above $11,797.50 Golf. The Chevy owner begins to gain ground on the Volkswagen owner once fuel costs begin to accumulate. Over the 3 year period, the Chevy owner then saves more than $4,000 in fuel costs forcing the VW owner to spend slightly more over the 3 year period.

To clarify, a $35,000 dollar electric vehicle will save you money over 3 years compared to a $20,000 dollar gasoline powered vehicle.  In every instance depicted above the electric vehicle was more expensive, yet costs less to own. If leasing a vehicle is really for those with financial conscientiousness, then they can really go above and beyond by leasing a Plug-in electric vehicle. 

So an EV is not only a greener solution it is also a cheaper one. 

For any questions mail me at: nicholas.lalli (at) et-ny.com


UPDATE: Even with low gas prices - TCO of EV still beats regular vehicles

By, Nicholas Lalli

Gas prices need to be $1.85 a gallon before leasing a regular vehicle is cheaper than leasing an electric one

The United States in 2015 is beginning to break away from a time of recession. Unemployment is decreasing, along with energy costs, but the long lasting effects on our financial mentality have set in. This has been proven with the large increase in number of leased vehicles, which are over 3 times larger than seen in 2009. The benefits of leasing are clear, in that you can afford a newer and more expensive vehicle over a 3 year period, while paying a fraction of the MSRP. To clarify, leasing a vehicle is practically a long term rental, and you aren’t tied to the costs of repairing an older vehicle with higher mileage. Typically, leases are over a 3 year or 36 month period and restrict you to using 45,000 of the vehicles miles. The monthly lease payments are determined using sales tax which vary by state, a down payment ($2,000 in our model), and residual value of the vehicle (how much the vehicle is worth after the lease). 

The model above calculates the specific variables attributing to the lease cost, in addition to outside expenses faced over that 3 year period. Rumor has it that Electric Vehicles have lower annual fueling costs, but does that make-up the difference in a higher MSRP? The fueling costs are calculated as the additional electricity charges on your utility bill, based on the convenience of fueling at home.  Luckily the United States government provides a $7,500 dollar incentive on the purchase or lease of a plug-in electric vehicle. These various factors facilitated my interest in the total cost of ownership for a leased electric vehicle and internal combustion powered vehicle. The calculations shown above are made using the tax, and average energy costs of New York State. The implemented incentive proved viable in reducing the TCO of leased vehicles over this 3 year period. The Nearly $10,000 dollar difference in MSRP of the Nissan Leaf and VW Golf was voided due to the combination of lower fuel costs, and government credits associated with the Plug-in electric vehicle. The $7,500 dollar incentive forced payments to the Nissan Leaf dealer down to $12,605.96, still above $11,797.50 Golf. The Nissan owner begins to gain ground on the Volkswagen owner once fuel costs begin to accumulate. Over the 3 year period, the Leaf owner then saves more than $2,100 in fuel costs forcing the VW owner to spend slightly more over the 3 year period. To clarify, a $29,000 dollar electric vehicle will save you money over 3 years compared to a $20,000 dollar gasoline powered vehicle. 

Over the period of developing this model the United States saw a significant decrease in oil prices. My initial results of the TCO using gas prices around $3.25/gallon significantly favored the Electric Vehicle. Outdated prices in this model are in no way useful, therefore we adjusted prices down to $2.50 a gallon. Surprisingly, there is still a strong case supporting the Electric Vehicle; allowing one to own a much more valuable car for around the same total cost of ownership. But, how low do gas prices need to drop before the internal combustion engine is less costly to own? Continuing the comparison of the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen Golf, we notice a $950 dollar difference in cost of ownership. For the VW’s TCO to match the leaf, their gasoline expenses must be reduced to $2,950 over that 3 year period. In order for this to occur, gasoline prices must be reduce to $1.85/gallon, which New York hasn’t seen consistently in over a decade.

If leasing a vehicle is really for those who are financially conscious, then they can really go above and beyond by leasing a Plug-in electric vehicle as a greener solution as well. 


East Coast Electric a 2 year review

East Coast Electric a 2 year review
2 years ago 15 Dutch companies, organizations and research institutes saw the potential of the U.S. electric vehicle and microgrid market. Now on my way back on one of my too many flights across the ocean, I realize that the initial 2 years of East Coast Electric are over.  Dutch Minister Ploumen opened up the EV-Box office as the fast growing company has incorporated in the U.S.. Since the start Viriciti was and still is very pro-active in the U.S. market and is deploying more and more systems (especially on the West-coast). A new program has formed in Dutch-ATES bringing geothermal heating and cooling systems to the U.S., and the Netherlands has positioned itself as a leader in electric vehicle adoption through the government 2 government program and multiple participations in New York Energy Week and other events.
 
While the program is formally over, East Coast Electric will continue to exist and will pro-actively make the connections for Dutch clean energy companies, host events around Dutch clean energy solutions and the office at the Urban Future Lab can always be used by companies who want to work out of New York for a couple of days/weeks.
 
Throughout the program we had strong support from the Netherlands that made it easy to keep going. Whether it where companies visiting New York or friends/family that remained honest and interested in the new adventures.
 
The Netherlands currently has 75.000 electric vehicles, the US has 400.000. On a per capita basis the Netherlands keep on leading the way, however the sheer market size of the U.S. holds huge potential for nearly all Dutch EV companies. With an expected 1 million vehicles on the road by 2020 there is a lot we can achieve.
 
The program will continue, only my role will change as from January 1 2016, I will set-up EV-Box North America with assembly in the U.S., to provide the U.S. market with reliable, scalable EVSE hardware with functionality that creates a business-case for EVSE owners in commercial locations.
 
Personally I have not met all my goals, and dreaming out loud, I would want all New York City Taxis, Ubers and Lyft to be electric by 2025. To get there we need 30% or about 20.000 vehicles in the next 3 to 4 years, which is quite doable. The technology is readily available, it is time to execute.
 
All the best, Tim Kreukniet
 
ps, for a detailed report of the results of East Coast Electric or questions just send me an email to tim.kreukniet -at- et-ny.com 


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