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Fleet Briefing: NRG’s 10,000 EV Stations, Valero & Chesapeake, Austrian Post, Volvo, Volkswagen

NRG Energy will build an EV charging network of at least 200 stations and provide the wiring for at least 10,000 more, investing about $100 million over the next four years in an agreement reached with the California Public Utilities Commission, NRG said.

The 200 fee-based charging stations will be able to add 50 miles of range in less than 15 minutes of charging. The plan includes stations in the San Francisco Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County. The agreement also includes the wiring for at least 10,000 individual charging stations at offices, apartment buildings, houses, schools and hospitals, NRG Energy said.

The agreement resolves litigation relating to a long-term electricity contract signed over a decade ago by a subsidiary of Dynergy, which was then co-owned power plants in California with NRG, Forbes reports.

Valero Energy and natural gas developer Chesapeake Energy are discussing a plan to add natural gas fueling stations along major Texas interstates. The stations would be eligible for state funding, Fuel Fix reported.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has allocated $4.5 million in grants to fund the development of a network of natural gas vehicle fueling stations linking Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. Few such stations exist today. Houston, for example, has only three stations, Fuel Fix said.

The Austrian Post has plans to roll out one of Europe’s largest electric vehicle fleets – around 1,000 electric vehicles over the next three years, equivalent to more than 10 percent of its fleet. Austrian Post, who aims reduce overall emissions by five percent a year, already uses 18 electric cars, 75 electric mopeds, and 100 electric bikes for its deliveries. The planned expansion includes the purchase of up to 300 electric cars and more than 700 e-bikes partially funded by a grant of €5,000 ($6,680) to €6,000 per vehicle, Business Green said.

Volvo said that its 10 di-methyl-ether (Bio-DME) trucks – halfway through a two-year trial project with fuel producer Chemrec and fuel distributor Preem – are surpassing expectations. Use of Bio-DME fuel reduces CO2 emissions by 95 percent compared to diesel fuel. Altogether the Volvo trucks have covered 400,000 kilometers, and function well on the road, Volvo said.

The field test will continue until the end of the year, followed by an evaluation to chart the viability of a future market for Bio-DME. Additional participants in the study include haulage firms PostNord, DHL, J-Trans, Bröderna Lindqvist Akeri, BDX Företagen AB, and Ragn-Sells, Volvo said.

The production version of Volkswagen’s battery-electric E-Golf will come to the U.S. market in 2014. The BEV vehicle will be based on a new platform – the A7 Golf – rather than that of the current A6 Golf which has been used as the prototype in fleet testing, Green Car Congress said.

The E-Golf will look like a current four-door Golf, with seating for five people. It is driven by an 85 kW electric motor that delivers 199 lb-ft of torque, and a 26.5 kWh Li-ion battery pack with an estimated driving range of 93 miles. The layout of the battery pack is expected to change in the production version, Green Car Congress said.

Photo: NRG Energy

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