This week, I was a guest blogger for General Motors. I wrote a blog post entitled “GM’s E/V Technology & its Addition to PHI’s Fleet.” Pretty much, I had a chance to interview Hallie Reese, PHI Vice President of Safety & Strategic Services and talk about the planned addition of the Chevy Volt to PHI’s fleet, what to expect as a result of the addition, as well as what lies ahead. In addition to the blog post, I attached a video to support the interview. It’s about 5 minutes long, but if you don’t have time to watch the video, I can break down our chat into 5 key points:
1. PHI’s commitment to General Motors:
PHI is extremely happy to work with GM on this project. We supported GM when they were seeking federal funding and committed to purchase 10 Chevy Volts to add to our fleet. We also installed our first two charging stations at Edison Place, our headquarters in Washington, DC, where the Volt was able to “top up” on its way to the Washington Auto Show in January.
2. Future plans for installing charging stations:
PHI will continue to install charging stations as vehicles are available throughout our service territory. The majority will be “at work” charging stations housed at our facilities for our fleet vehicles.
3. Challenges in mass appeal for E/V vehicles like the Volt:
In the early ‘90s, society was worried about how far a car would go on one charge (i.e. “range anxiety”). Range anxiety refers to a vehicle’s battery losing its charge, thus leaving the vehicle stranded. The Volt has overcome that issue with the availability of its gasoline tank. Supplementing the electric charge with gasoline provides the additional range consumers need.
Additionally, price may be a challenge. With all new technology there tends to be a higher cost for early adopters. In an attempt to encourage the general public to consider energy efficient vehicles, federal funding is available to offset some of those costs with tax incentives.
4. Other energy efficient vehicles in PHI’s fleet:
Since 2007, all of PHI’s newly purchased passenger vehicles are hybrids. We also recently added a preproduction hybrid plug-in SUV to our fleet. We currently have several hybrid bucket trucks throughout our service territory, with more on order. We plan to add a hybrid plug-in bucket truck to our fleet sometime next year.
5. The Volt’s impact on PHI’s carbon footprint:
At full charge, the first 40 miles driven in a Chevy Volt are all electric. That said, statistically, the nation’s average morning commute is less than 30 miles. So, this addition to our fleet will add virtually no emissions to our carbon footprint. The Volt will be a great addition to our fleet and it will enhance our existing “emission profile.
After meeting with Hallie, I walked away with these thoughts:
- I’m really excited to see our plans for the hybrid plug-in bucket truck. I thought the existing hybrid bucket trucks were cool already. To add plug-in technology to that concept is clearly cooler. After writing this blog post, I’m inclined to write one on the hybrid bucket trucks we already have. As soon as we get a hybrid plug-in bucket truck, I’ll have to write one on that too. Stay tuned for those!
- I’m also completely sold on the fact that at full charge the first 40 miles driven in a Chevy Volt are all electric. That’s pretty compelling when supported with the nation’s average morning commute. In my opinion, that statistic alone could easily be the deciding factor when purchasing a vehicle for those consumers focused on lowering their carbon footprint.
- I’m honestly proud to work for a company that is committed to curbing their carbon emissions where they can. I’ve had a chance to learn a lot about decreasing my own personal carbon footprint as well as help those around me do the same. Not only have I been able to see the decrease in the amount of energy I use month to month, I’ve been able to save money in the process. If you’re interested in checking out your carbon footprint, check out our Carbon Footprint Calculator.
‘Til the next post,