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Electric Vehicles Bring UCNSB Into The Future

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In sync with our initiative to develop strategies for sustaining our water and energy resources, the New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission (UCNSB) has begun adding electric vehicles (EVs) to our fleet. We’ve recently acquired a pair of Nissan LEAF Electric Vehicles, and have also begun integrating our bucket trucks with electric technology.

The upgrades we’re making to our UCNSB bucket trucks will include outfitting them with a JEMS (Jobsite Energy Management System). This device will essentially turn the trucks into hybrids. It will allow us to turn the trucks off when stationed at a jobsite, resulting in no emissions or noise while working. Workers will still be able to use the bucket and air conditioner or heater in the cab of the truck, without leaving the engine running.

Wrapped in eye-catching graphics featuring the familiar UCNSB logo, you’ll be sure to notice our two new EVs as our employees drive around town. As proponents of environmental conservation, we’d like to share some of the benefits of electric and hybrid vehicles like the ones we’re using.

Environmental Impact

First introduced in 2010, the Nissan LEAF was the world’s first mass-market 100% electric car. Over the past decade, as an increasing number of auto makers have followed suit, consumers have gained trust in the concept of battery-powered cars and the charging stations required to operate them. Energy companies and various motor vehicle manufacturers have pledged to continue to expand our nation’s network of charging stations to support the ever-growing number of electric vehicles on the road.

Through initiatives such as Ford and Volkswagen’s Electrify America, which has pledged $11 Billion toward expanding the network across the US, charging stations for EVs are becoming more prevalent by the day. Electric vehicles are gaining traction as a great way to reduce consumers’ impact on the planet.

These earth-friendly automobiles have zero emissions and many can travel almost 250 miles on a full charge. They prevent lots of fossil fuels from being consumed – while keeping greenhouse gases out of the environment, which is a primary cause of global warming. This is also true of aftermarket upgrades, such as JEMS devices that eliminate idle time at job sites, reduce fuel consumption, and ultimately decrease the carbon footprint and tailpipe emissions of a vehicle. The more EVs and electric technology that gets on the road, the healthier the planet will be.

Some car manufacturers like Jaguar and Volvo have even gone so far as to announce that they will stop launching new models which are powered by internal combustion engines starting this year. This is a huge leap for the automotive industry, and for the environment.

Other car makers have converted their manufacturing plants to operate in a way that is sustainable and environmentally conscious. Estimates show that Nissan’s EV plants alone save 13,500,000 gallons of gasoline and prevent 120,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Even when you consider the resources that are required to charge electric vehicles, they are a smart choice for our environment. Total emissions and resources used by EVs are considerably less than those of conventional vehicles. Homeowners who convert to electric vehicles are encouraged to consider the installation of solar panels on their homes, which can help offset energy usage. This home upgrade can minimize the car’s environmental footprint even further.

Community Benefits

On a smaller scale, electric vehicles like those we’ve added to our UCNSB fleet are beneficial to our New Smyrna Beach community. There are several advantages to replacing gas-burning engines on our local roadways, some of which are slightly less obvious.

Electric vehicles are substantially quieter than their counterparts. If a portion of the traffic that flows through NSB’s highways converted to electric vehicles, there would be much less noise pollution. We at UCNSB are happy that our new electric vehicles will do their part to contribute to our community’s image of a “quiet little beach town.”  Our bucket trucks can now work in our customers’ neighborhoods quietly, thanks to their new JEMS upgrades.

Another way of measuring a reduction in overall emissions of greenhouse gases is by gauging air quality in a particular area. Replacing gasoline engines with electric power in a portion of our vehicles would result in better air quality in our area. Cleaner air would positively affect the health and wellbeing of all residents.

Additionally, EVs are much less expensive to operate because electricity is cheaper than gasoline. Generally speaking, operating costs are about half of those for driving a gas-powered car for the same distance. The cost of maintenance is lower for these types of vehicles over time. They contain fewer fluids that need regular attention, and they have less moving parts that can be worn over time.

A less obvious advantage of owning an electric vehicle is in the event of hurricanes or other natural disasters. As any NSB resident can attest, it can become difficult to fill your car’s tank up with gasoline when faced with a hurricane evacuation. Even after the storm has passed, electricity is typically restored before gasoline supplies return to normal.

New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission having two fully electric vehicles, as well as bucket trucks that conserve fuel by running on electric power at job sites will be of great benefit to our customers. Our UCNSB employees will be able to remain fully operational throughout weather emergencies. They can even charge their mobile phones and computers off of the car’s battery if needed. Our UCNSB employees are looking forward to sharing all of the positive things that these fun, earth-friendly vehicles can do with our community. So, feel free to honk or give a friendly wave when you see them driving through your neighborhood!

Resources

NISSAN GLOBAL. “Environmental Activities, NGP2022 Nissan Green Program”
https://www.nissan-global.com/EN/ENVIRONMENT/

NISSAN. “Loan Programs”
https://www.energy.gov/lpo/nissan

NISSAN Motor Corporation. “Powering resilience: How EVs can help communities bounce back after a disaster”
https://global.nissannews.com/en/releases/release-b8a1567ee6066d582c91ef8f1d0b47ad-190920-00-e

Energy.gov. “Saving Money with Electric Vehicles”
https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/saving-money-electric-vehicles

The longest range electric cars of 2020: new EVs with the most charge, Alistair Charlton, 19 June 2020
https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/electric/longest-range-electric-cars-ev/

Technology.org, The Automotive Industry – Greener by the day, thanks to technology, May 14, 2019
https://www.technology.org/2019/05/14/the-automotive-industry-greener-by-the-day-thanks-to-technology/

Reducing Pollution with Electric Vehicles
https://www.energy.gov/eere/electricvehicles/reducing-pollution-electric-vehicles