Illinois town aims to make electric cars … Normal

From an article by Kari Lydersenin Midwest Energy News:

Normal, Illinois, is home to Mitsubishi’s only U.S. manufacturing plant, and residents of the town 130 miles southwest of Chicago are known for embracing sustainability and renewable energy. Many families have two incomes and two cars, and “are very educated and early adopters of technology,” in the words of Mayor Chris Koos.

So about a year ago, Koos and other civic leaders decided to dub Normal and its adjacent “sister city,” Bloomington, “EVTown” and ask Mitsubishi to make it among the early destinations for its new all-electric car, the i-MiEV.

As typically happens with electric and hybrid cars, Mistubishi will roll out the i-MiEV in larger coastal markets first. Drivers in smaller towns, especially in the Midwest, will have to wait many months longer than urbanites to buy an electric vehicle or hybrid from their local dealer. Normal town planner Mercy Davison said locals were disappointed in how long they had to wait for the Nissan Leaf.

So Mitsubishi agreed to dedicate up to 1,000 i-MiEVs for Bloomington-Normal drivers. With a combined population of about 130,000, that would mean a considerably high proportion of families buying new i-MiEVs.

“It’s a big goal, but we think it’s doable,” said Koos.

Solar farm, alternative fueling station, composting set for O'Hare & Midway

From an article by Jon Hilkevitch in the Chicago Tribune:

Solar energy collectors will be installed on up to 60 acres at O’Hare International Airport, and a service station selling alternative fuels for private and commercial vehicles will open near the airport, Chicago’s aviation chief announced Monday.

“The solar panels will provide a substantial renewable energy source to help power O’Hare, and the alternative fueling station will promote the use of clean fuels and electricity to power vehicles,” city Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said at the 2011 Airports Going Green conference, which runs through Wednesday in downtown Chicago and at O’Hare.

At Midway airport, a composting program will be launched to handle food waste from its 13 restaurants, Andolino said.
private waste hauler will collect compostable materials at Midway, ranging from leftover food to cardboard boxes, and deliver them to an off-site composting facility, said Amy Malick, deputy commissioner of sustainability at the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The Midway project follows a pilot composting program at O’Hare. A total of 200 tons of compostable waste at both airports will be diverted from landfills each year, Malick said.

The service station selling alternative fuels will be located on a 2.25-acre parcel at Patton Drive and Higgins Road (near the intersection of Mannheim Road and Higgins) just outside the airport, Andolino said.

“The fueling station will be able to provide alternative fuels like bio-diesel, ethanol, electric charging as well as traditional fuel” to commercial vehicles and private passenger vehicles, Andolino said. Construction of the facility is expected to begin in about a year, she said.

Milwaukee Electric Vehicle Meeting – Sunday, Oct. 9th in Milwaukee

I’m sending this out to you as an invite to the first ever official meeting of the Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Association! (WiEVA)

The meeting will be held at:
Milwaukee Makerspace
3073 S. Chase Ave, Bldg 34
Milwaukee, WI 53207

On Sunday, October 9th at 1:00 PM.

The Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Association is a chapter of the Electric Auto Association, whose goal is to promote electric vehicles through education, and help owners and drivers of electric cars connect with each other. We are just starting up, and want to become THE state-wide organization for those interested in electric vehicles and clean transportation. If you are interested in a Chevy Volt, NIssan Leaf, or are already DRIVING your own electric car, we want to hear from you!

The Milwaukee Electric Car Club is an informal group of guys in the greater Milwaukee area who get together to convert their own vehicles to electric. They already meet at the Milwaukee Makerspace, so we are piggly-backing on when of the days when their members are in working on their cars. Those coming out to the meeting are welcome to arrive early and stay late to visit with Milwaukee Electric Car Club members, and take a look at their vehicles. They typically meet from 10AM to 4PM for electric car work.

If you are getting this e-mail, then you have already expressed interest in electric vehicles at an event such as the MREA, Green Drive Expo, EcoFair 360, or other event we have already been displaying vehicles at.

We would like to have as many electric vehicles at our meeting as possible. So, if you have an electric car, truck, scooter, motorcycle, lawn mower, Chevy Volt, or other vehicle you would like to s how off, bring it out. If you are interested in buying or selling an electric vehicle, or converting your own, this will be the place for you as well. If you know what Electrathon is, or have ever wanted to drag-race a “PowerWheels”, come on out! Electric Vehicle Dealers WELCOME!

If at all possible, please bring your electric vehicle with you. If you can make it, but can’t bring your EV, please bring photos or any other information you have on it. We will also have computers and internet access for anyone who wants to show off any web content about their vehicle.

We hope to do a round-robin of introductions, do a little general education on EVs, and show off a number of different vehicles, with informal tours by their builders. We’ll have some snacks and beverages there for you as well!

Please tell anyone else you think would be interested in this event about it. If you are on an eco or transportation mailing list, please share it with your other members.

While this meeting will be held in Milwaukee, we hope to hold meetings in other locations around the state in the future. We need your help deciding how to make our organization as useful as possible to members, and educating the general public.

I genuinely hope that you can make it!

See you there,

Ben Nelson
EAA, Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Association, Milwaukee Makerspace

PS: It’s worth coming out just to see the Milwaukee Makerspace – a collaborative creative workshop concept making amazing real-world projects. See their web page for directions to the Makerspace, its members, and projects. If you receive a duplicate of this e-mail, my apologies, I am a member of several mailing lists that have overlapping memberships. If you received this message in error, let me know, and I’ll remove you from my list. Also, plenty of parking there, and smaller vehicles, motorcycles, and convertibles can be parked inside in case of poor weather.

Schlitz Park to add electric vehicle charging station

From an article on BizTimes Daily:

Schlitz Park in downtown Milwaukee has become the first corporate development in the state to install an electric vehicle (EV) charging station as part of a growing effort to make sustainable transportation easier for its tenants and their employees.

The charging station was provided by ElectriCharge Mobility and manufactured by Coulomb Technologies, which operates the worldwide ChargePoint Network. Major automakers began to sell EV models late last year. Projections estimate that by 2012, 20 models will be available and that by 2015 there will be more than 3 million plug-in electric vehicles in use worldwide.

“As electric vehicle use grows, there will be employee demand for EV charging services at their workplace,” said Dave Hansen of Brookfield-based ElectriCharge Mobility LLC. “Progressive organizations like Schlitz Park are seizing the opportunity to meet this need as part of corporate-wide green initiatives to lower greenhouse gases and to steward independence from petroleum based fuels beyond the workplace.”

Although users will charge vehicles overnight at home, the limited range of early electric vehicles will make the availability of charging stations where people work a necessity, according to Hansen.

Oconomowoc students to ride on plug-in hybrid school buses

From a article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Town of Oconomowoc — Sandy Syburg has driven school buses for years – but none like these.

When they start rolling on their routes next week, these hybrid electric school buses won’t lurch forward the way conventional school buses do.

A diesel engine is least efficient when it’s trying to get a 27,000-pound vehicle moving from a full stop, Syburg said. Thanks to the hybrid technology, the electric motor kicks in first, with lithium-ion batteries powering the bus forward from a stop.

“It’s very smooth. It’s like a gust of wind when you’re sailing,” said Syburg, chief executive of Oconomowoc Transport Co.

In the bus terminal, Syburg can plug an electrical cord into the side of the bus so that solar panels can charge the batteries that run the vehicle’s electric motor.

To date, more than 100 hybrid school and commercial buses have rolled off of the IC Bus LLC assembly line since 2007. Eleven of them are plug-in hybrid electric school buses in Oconomowoc, ready to start the school year next week.

The investment, aided by a state grant through the federal stimulus package, aims to reduce diesel fuel use by 7,500 gallons a year. That would provide savings of $26,000 in fuel costs for the Oconomowoc Area School District at today’s diesel prices.

When they’re done with their morning school run, the buses will return to the bus company on Brown St. and their batteries will be recharged with the help of 224 solar panels that were erected by Renewable Energy Solutions of Waukesha.

It’s the first solar-electric charging station in the state, and it’s ready to power the biggest fleet of plug-in hybrid school buses in the country.

The buses are projected to result in saving because of a 50% gain in fuel economy. A typical bus gets 7 miles per gallon, but the hybrid technology will boost that to 12.

“It’s a little glimpse of the future; it’s very impressive,” said Mike Barry, assistant superintendent of the district. The district will seek to incorporate the solar-powered hybrids into its curriculum.

“We’re trying to make some links between the curriculum that the students learn about in school and the real world,” he said. “When the connection is as immediate as the very bus that takes you to and from school, that’s a powerful connection.”