Friday, November 9, 2018

UNC Charlotte’s automotive fleet was awarded nearly $58,000 to upgrade the fleet to reduce transportation-related emissions through alternative fuel methods. This grant is from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University’s Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project.

Students were part of this funding effort, as the Charlotte Green Initiative supported a matching grant of $10,600.

With the funds, the automotive fleet will make upgrades to current vehicles, which will reduce their harmful emissions. Trucks and vans will be updated with hybrid-electric technologies. Additionally, a 31-year-old heavy-duty bucket truck will be upgraded to diesel electric.

Upgrades to the pickup trucks and vans will include electric motors, lithium-ion batteries, regenerative braking systems and other controls, without modifying the original engine or transmission. Electric motors are particularly effective at campus speeds and hills due to the significant torque they generate. The hybrid systems are expected to deliver cost savings from reduced fuel use, longer brake life and less frequent engine maintenance. 

The CFAT Project provides funding to public and private entities that are located in counties that do not meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards, such as Mecklenburg County. The $5.6 million project allowance is supported with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT). This is the third time the University has been awarded a grant from this project.