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Fleet Roundup: Nissan, Volvo, Yellow Cab, Aqua America, Ford

Nissan will this summer test peak-shaving services, which will take power from its Leaf electric vehicle and send it for a limited time to a building during periods of peak demand. During the test, the EV battery will supply four percent, or 6 kW, of the peak summer power consumption of a municipal administrative center in Japan, GreenCarCongress reports. The EVs will supply power between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. once power usage spikes in July. The test will be carried out through September.

Nissan has also installed the first of 400 free fast battery chargers in Europe, The Detroit News reported. A 40-unit network will be installed throughout the Netherlands, leaving most Dutch motorists within 20 miles of its Quick Chargers. Another 40 chargers will be placed in France. The Quick Chargers have a direct current design that conforms to the ChadeMo charging standard. They can be made compatible with Renault’s AC 43kW fast charging station.

Aqua America, a US publicly traded water utility that serves nearly 3 million residents, will replace a portion of its fleet with compressed natural gas vehicles. The company’s subsidiary Aqua Pennsylvania has been piloting CNG vehicles for more than a year and has plans to build a slow-fill station at its Springfield Operations Center. Aqua Pennsylvania will begin the transition with its 20 dump trucks and 60 vans. Passenger vehicles that have original equipment manufacturer CNG alternatives also be converted.

Yellow Cab of Pittsburgh, a division of the Pittsburgh Transportation Group, is introducing propane-powered taxi cabs to its fleet. Initially, at least 55 cabs will be converted to use propane fuel. PTG expects to save $1.40 per gallon on fuel and reduce its carbon footprint by about 500 tons a year.

Consumer Reports tested fuel economy packages on small car models to determine whether the annual fuel savings offset the additional cost of the extra feature, and found the Ford Focus SFE was most efficient with 31 miles per gallon. That’s three miles per gallon better than the standard Ford Focus – but still only represents annual fuel cost savings of $145, reports Autoblog. CR tested fuel economy packages on the Ford Focus SFE, Chevrolet Cruze Eco and the Honda Civic HF.

Volvo recently tested its Sarte road train project in Spain, using three vehicles – an XC60, a V60 and a S60 – that drove autonomously, following a truck for 124 miles at 53 miles per hour, reports Autoblog. The test aims to determine the fuel efficiency and safety benefits of a road train. The following vehicles were equipped with cameras, radar and laser sensors and wireless communication to copy what the lead car was doing.

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