June 20 Newsletter

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May 30 Newsletter

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Range Confidence with Ride and Drives Electric Vehicles Charge Ahead

Range Confidence with Ride and Drives Electric Vehicles Charge Ahead in the Future of Transportation Sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Energy Development

 

The air pollution problem we face in Utah is complicated to say the least. There are several significant sources, but the largest source comes from the mobile sector, contributing nearly half of the pollution emitted along the Wasatch Front every single day.

 

In collaboration with Salt Lake City and local non-profits like Breathe Utah and the Utah Clean Air Partnership, Utah Clean Cities set out to address this issue at a consumer level. We started with local dealerships, where we trained sales managers and sales staff to have a better understanding of battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hybrids. You see, each vehicle for sale has an EPA label within the window sticker. A smog rating identifies the amount of criteria pollutants a vehicle emits from the tailpipe. The larger the number on the scale, the better. For example, a full battery electric vehicle has a smog rating of 10, since it has zero tailpipe emissions. We wanted the sales people negotiating with customers to be conversant in the language of a cleaner choice for air quality, and discuss the smog rating right alongside miles per gallon.

 

From this project, our mission grew into preparing and educating the dealerships on all of the current incentives for purchasing clean vehicles, as well as local programs, like Work Electric, which focuses on significant discounts for businesses looking to upgrade their fleets. Utah is uniquely situated, along with seven other states, entering into a memorandum of understanding that each state will invest in, and build out, an electrified connected highway charging system, boosting range confidence in drivers looking to travel long distances in a BEV.

 

With all the great EV incentives and programs available to consumers today, demand is increasing rapidly. More and more Utahns are walking on to local lots asking for EVs. Some face the problem of not having vehicles physically available to try out. To give consumers a taste of what it’s like to drive an EV, we host fun and informative Ride and Drives. Ride and Drives are perfect opportunities for consumers to “try on” EV ownership. Dealers and owners of EVs graciously bring vehicles to these events for test-drive, and are able to answer the questions consumers have about various aspects of owning an EV, including where they charge and how often, and which businesses around town have free charging available. The first thing our participants notice when they step into the drivers seat is the “zip” of an EV! These cars are fast and fun to drive. And quiet! It’s not often you see seven people pile into a Tesla Model X with huge smiles on their faces. But this is one of the scenes you’ll see if you attend a Ride and Drive event.

 

Utah Clean Cities and the Governor’s Office of Energy Development hosted two very successful EV Ride and Drives this spring. The first event was held at the Fourth Annual Salt Lake County Health Department’s Climate Change Symposium, hosting over a dozen EVs and an impressive line-up of drivers to experience first hand the vehicles of the future. Over 60 symposium attendees participated in the ride and drive during lunch.

In May, Utah Clean Cities, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Energy Development brought together Utah’s leading EV dealerships to help educate and encourage hybrid and EVs at the 2018 Governor’s Energy Summit. This ride and drive proved to be our largest event to date with over 300 participants getting to check out various clean vehicle makes and models from BMW of Murray, Larry H. Miller, Ken Garff, Mark Miller, Tesla, Strong Auto Group, Ford, Tim Dahle Nissan, and XL Hybrid.

 

Programs like the Ride and Drives and EV workshops hosted by Utah Clean Cities are working to increase the consumer appetite for clean vehicle technology. More of these vehicles on Utah’s roads — especially replacing older, dirtier combustion models — will mean cleaner air for all.

How the ‘Inconvenient Youth’ Can Influence (Pester?) Others on Clean Air Action

By Edwin Stafford (ed.stafford@usu.edu) and Roslynn Brain (roslynn.brain@usu.edu)
See the past winner posters here!

Social influence is often instrumental for encouraging pro-social behavioral change in others.  Who else are the most influential in our lives but our own children – with whom we want to maintain mutual love and respect?   We call this the “Inconvenient Youth” effect, and it is our current focus with the Utah High School Clean Air Poster Contest (cleanaircontest.usu.edu).  

Now in its fourth year, we piloted the contest at Logan High in 2015 to engage teens learning to drive to understand the air pollution implications of their new driving privilege through a fun poster contest where participants could win desirable prizes donated by local businesses (merchandise, gift cards and cash).  Posters have been funny, edgy, and reflecting teen values and pop culture.  Winning posters have then been displayed throughout the community.   

What we’ve discovered, however, is that not only do teens learn driving strategies to help preserve air quality, such as refrain from idling and engage in trip-chaining and carpooling, but they also become clean air evangelists, influencing (pestering?) their parent, families and friends to take the same actions as well.  

For our expanded 2017 iteration of the contest involving over 400 teens in Cache Valley, we found approximately two-thirds of surveyed participants reported encouraging others to engage in clean air actions – even though we did not instruct them to do so – and 43% believed that they actually changed others’ behaviors for good.  

Can the Inconvenient Youth effect be harnessed and encouraged?  That’s what we’re investigating next!  We’ve published our current findings in the December 2017 issue of Sustainability:  The Journal of Record (article available upon request).  Specifically, we overview some strategies and future research for further harnessing the ‘Inconvenient Youth’ and how teens may be further empowered to foster clean air behaviors within their families and social networks.