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Electric Transportation

2012 Corporate Responsibility Report

Currently, about 28 percent of the country’s GHG emissions come from the transportation sector. Electric transportation and the use of alternative fuels are increasingly cited as methods to reduce GHG emissions and other pollutants, and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil. We are actively involved in research and other initiatives to accelerate the development and deployment of these advanced vehicle technologies.

Solar charging stationA plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) has a battery that charges by plugging into an electrical outlet to store electricity, providing power to an efficient electric motor to move the wheels. There are two basic varieties of plug-in vehicles. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) can run on either electricity or an internal-combustion engine, but unlike traditional hybrids, PHEVs have larger batteries that can be recharged by plugging into an electrical outlet. A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is powered entirely by electricity from the utility grid and typically has a range of 70 to 100 miles.

Research by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) demonstrates that widespread adoption of electric vehicles has the potential to reduce GHG emissions and improve air quality in almost all areas of the country. In addition, electricity is far less expensive than petroleum and is almost completely domestically sourced, which helps reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Progress Energy is a leader in researching electric vehicle technology, with a test fleet that spans both utilities and includes 12 Chevrolet Volts, two Nissan Leafs, six Toyota Prius PHEVs, one Ford Escape PHEV and the Southeast’s first plug-in hybrid electric bucket truck. The company is working with EPRI, General Motors, Nissan, Ford and others to facilitate the integration of plug-in vehicles into the nation’s electric grid.

Highlights of our vehicle electrification projects:

  • In an effort to gain first-hand knowledge of plug-in vehicles technology and the related grid impact, Progress Energy is actively engaged with vehicle demonstration and evaluations. Our partnership with Ford includes testing the nation’s first factory-built PHEVs based on the Ford Escape platform. These vehicles will test Ford PHEV technology, test smart-charging systems and allow the company to compare the performance between factory-built and converted PHEVs. Progress Energy is also operating 12 Chevy Volts in the Carolinas and Florida as part of a national fleet demonstration and grant program.  The project includes research and analysis of the electric grid impact from plug-in vehicles and charging infrastructure research with NC State University.
  • With plug-in vehicles already available for sale in our regions, Progress Energy is collaborating with our local communities and other stakeholders to understand the impact of these vehicles on our grid and ensure customer satisfaction with the technology. Our company joined as a technical adviser to Project Get Ready, an initiative led by the Rocky Mountain Institute to help cities prepare for and be leaders in adopting the technology. Since then, our company has actively engaged in launching local Get Ready chapters in Raleigh, Greater Orlando and the Tampa Bay region.  We were also a proud sponsor and local organizer for the very successful Plug-in 2011 international conference in Raleigh, N.C., hosted for the first time outside California.
  • Progress Energy launched a comprehensive load-research program in 2011 to better understand the requirements of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and customer charging behaviors.  The company is targeting the deployment of 150 residential and 100 public access charging stations across both territories as part of the company’s grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Data will be collected and analyzed from the stations to delineate charging needs and how best to accommodate future large-scale adoption.
  • Progress Energy is a founding member of the Advanced Transportation Energy Center (ATEC) at NC State University.  The mission of this public-private partnership is to develop fundamental and enabling technologies that will facilitate the active management and control of large numbers of plug-in electric vehicles.  In addition, this innovation center focuses on developing lighter, cheaper and more efficient battery technologies than those currently commercially available.

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