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Tag Archives: electric vehicles

What Do We Do At UCLA Transportation? [VIDEO]

Dickson Plaza 01-00354 copy2 blog

Dickson Plaza 01-00354 copy2 blogPeople often think all we do is provide parking on campus, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, parking is part of it. Most of it, however, is getting you access to campus. That's what we're all about: being green, sustainable and safe.

To highlight some of our goals, accomplishments and best practices, we've made this nifty video. Check it out below and on our YouTube channel.

 

Navigating the Roads the Green Way

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CA

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CAAre you a recent graduate? Headed off to college? How do you plan to get around town?

If you have a driver's license, you're probably thinking about getting behind the wheel. Driving in LA is a unique (and unavoidable) beast that gives you insights into other people and lessons in the local culture. But driving in LA the green way will help safeguard our future. Start developing green habits now with these tips.

  1. Learning California (& LA) Rules of the RoadLA Weekly’s less subjective observations are worth taking into consideration, such as protecting your left side from the sun, LA drivers' lack of experience with rain (you remember rain, right?) and unexpected, off-rush hour traffic jams.These are things you'll pick up with driving experience. For now, you first need to learn to drive according to California's road rules, which, in theory, supersede LA's.Before you get into a car and start driving these hallowed freeways, take an online driving assessment and an interactive test. It's definitely worth finding out how much you don't know about driving in California or any other state.
  1. Driving Green Brings Rebates & PrivilegesIn California, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project hands back up to $2,500 for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), $1,500 for plugin hybrids, and $900 for electric motorcycles and those tiny neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) you see on surface streets.Many states allow green vehicles to use the express/HOV lanes, so you can get to work (and home) sooner.
  1. Green Cars are Getting More AffordableYou wouldn't know it from the headlines, but Tesla is not your only option. Green vehicles are becoming increasingly more affordable.Autobytel.com lists the 2015 Prius at under $20,000. Electric cars are more expensive than hybrids; still, several list under $30,000. While this may seem like a lot of money, remember that gasoline prices are unstable at best, so consider your long-term savings.Additionally, more than half of U.S. states offer some kind of incentive for purchasing electric or hybrid cars, according to PlugInAmerica.org.Hybrid and electric cars have been on the market for several years now, so you could also consider buying a used one to save more money. A secondhand one can be more affordable than you might realize, even on a starter salary.
  1. Public Transport: The Ultimate in Green TransportationIn many cities like New York City, commuting via public transportation is normal and preferable to driving.Business Insider says LA has the ninth best public transportation in the nation. It has a huge bus ridership, and is channeling a few billion dollars into its light rail system, which will also alleviate road traffic. And like many cities, LA runs a bikes-on-buses service so commuters who really work out of the way can still get there without a car.

 

Smartphone apps to turn your daily commute green.

GreenAppCommuting

GreenAppCommuting

Using sustainable transportation is not always an option for some but we can take steps to help make our commute as green as possible when we do have to drive. Below are four mobile applications to help you go green when you are behind the wheel.

Fuel-SaverFuel-Saver Lite:
This mobile application is available for free in the Apple App Store and will help you increase your fuel efficiency. Fuel-Saver offers tips on best practices to drivers and assists in calculating your miles per gallon (MPG). This application works for all vehicle types and can help you achieve 30% greater fuel economy.

PlugSharePlugShare:
For those with an electric vehicle, PlugShare will be your new best friend. This free mobile application, available on both Apple and Andriod products, uses crowdsourcing to help drivers locate nearby charging stations. Find EV chargers, view ratings and availability, and pay with your phone.

FuelEconomyFuel Economy:
Fuel Economy is a free application available only on Andriod devices. Like Fuel-Saver, Fuel Economy helps drivers maximize their fuel economy. The Andriod app simplifies the process for drivers with visual cues. To maximize their fuel consumption, drivers turn red bars into green to save fuel. Unlike its Apple counterpart, Fuel Economy will cost users $1.95 to download.

CommuteGreenerCommute Greener:
Available for both Apple and Andriod phones, Commute Greener is a free application developed by the employees of Volvo. Commute Greener rewards drivers to maximize fuel economy and choose zero emission commute methods through friendly competition. Users gain points and incentives for making their commute as green as possible.

Will electric vehicles reclaim the road?

EV-Parade
EV-Parade

Nearly every major car manufacture produces an electric vehicle today.

Can you imagine a world where electric vehicles (EVs) dominate the roads? Too far-fetched? Just look at the late 1890s, when EVs were the car to have, outselling gasoline cars 10 to one! EVs were so popular that the first car dealerships were exclusively for electric cars.

Starting in 1910, Fordism and motorized assembly lines allowed gasoline fueled vehicles to be mass produced and take over the automotive industry. By the end of World War I, production of EVs stopped and soon became a rare commodity.

Riker Electric First EV

Thomas Parker built the first practical production EV in London in 1884.

Prompted by concerns of air pollution and the OPEC oil embargo, EVs regained popularity in the late 1960s. As the 1990s approached, along with California’s landmark Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate, a few major automakers resumed EV production in limited quantities. As the ZEV mandate weakened, automakers abandon EVs once again.

AMC_GM

The AMC Amitron (left) and GM EV1 (right) were the hot EVs of the 1960s and 1990s, respectively.

Recently, EVs have started their comeback with new, modern and efficient designs. Concerns for the environment, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution have prompted individuals to go green. Big automakers such as Toyota, Ford, GM, and newcomer, Telsa, all offer EVs aiming to please customers as well as decrease the negative environmental impacts caused by gasoline fueled cars and motorcycles.

Nissan_Tesla

Today's Tesla (left) and Nissan Leaf (right) were in the top-three selling EVs for 2014.

 

Will EVs ever rule the road as they did 100 years ago or are their glory days behind them?

Sources:
Electric Vehicle History. Retrieved from
Electric Auto Association

The EV experience from a daily UCLA commuter

Chevrolet-Spark-EV

Chevrolet-Spark-EV

Allison Faris is a student at UCLAAnderson School of Management and switched to an electric vehicle last May. Allison gives weekly updates about her new found EV life on her blog MyNetZeroEV , and has shared her reasons as well as the benefits and challenges with us:

Why did I choose to switch from a gasoline powered car to an electric car? The reasons narrow down to three: environmental, innovative and economic. Starting with the first reason, I was already living a pretty environmentally-conscious lifestyle. I’ve ripped out my lawn and planted California native plants. It felt completely natural to match my primary mode of transportation with my lifestyle choices, especially after I installed solar panels to power my car. The innovative features of my car are also numerous. It has a keyless ignition with two very cool computer control screens and even gently honks a reminder if I leave my keys in my car. But, those are all just the icing on the cake. The main selling point is economics. I lease my electric vehicle (most people lease EVs because of the rapid changes in battery technology) and my monthly lease payment is less than what I was paying for gas.  A California state rebate for driving an electric vehicle nearly covered my down payment and I charge on campus for free as part of the SMERC program. The choice was easy - I am almost making money on the deal! Plus, there is the added bonus of carpool tags for that Los Angeles freeway driving. Could you put a price on that access?

I will admit that driving an electric vehicle takes some adjustments. While driving a gas-powered car, I was not the best at filling up the tank when it was close to empty. But, that wasn’t usually an issue because a gas station was always easy to find. I still find that I am draining the battery pretty close to empty but a charging station is not as easy to find. Looking at the bright side of things, apps do make the world an easier place to live in, or at least more convenient. There are already quite a few apps that help an EV driver find the closest charging station. I look forward to the day when those charging stations are almost as numerous as gas stations. But, until that day comes, I’m learning how to keep my car’s battery full.