Want to learn more about AFVs?

CHICAGO — It is tough to stay abreast of the ever-changing technologies in the automotive industry, especially technologies regarding alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), but there are a number of educational resources that can help you stay up-to-date.

The Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC), which is geared towards helping consumers and fleets reduce petroleum consumption, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities initiative and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Interactive tools and information about alternative fuels, advanced vehicles and advanced transportation technologies are available on AFDC’s website.

Business owners, contractors and fleet mangers can research flexible fuel, natural gas, propane, hybrids, all-electric and conversion vehicles; vehicle availability, specifications and options; and the emissions impact of driving a specific vehicle. The website also has a cost calculator that can be used to obtain estimates to meet fleet needs.

Links to a variety of educational tools, including digital publications, associations, organizations, case studies, etc., regarding AFVs, along with information on vehicle incentives and laws are also available on the website.

To access this collection of educational resources click here.

Another resource is the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVi). The institute serves as the connection between fleets and the alternative fuel and vehicle industry, providing fleet operators with education, training, technical assistance, etc., on alternative fuels and vehicles in the marketplace today.

Useful information about alternative fuels and vehicles; incentives and laws relating to AFVs; where to find alternative fuel stations; and the prices of alternative fuels compared to conventional gasoline can be found on the website. There is also a list of resources regarding policy and government; OEM vehicle, engine and small volume manufacturers; industry partners; consultants, technical services and training; and fuel and industry associations.

The AFVi also has an annual conference, Alternative Fuels & Vehicles Conference + Expo, which features alternative fuels and advanced technologies. The institute also offers webinars and web workshops for anyone interested in keeping up-to-date on the latest AFV trends. Business planning services and tools to help analyze a fleet, conduct a payback analysis, and create an AFV business plan are also available.

Another resource, just recently launched, is the Green Truck Association’s (GTA) website, which serves as a resource for the development and deployment of green trucks. An affiliate division of the National Truck Equipment Association, the GTA was established in spring 2010 in recognition of the growing interest and demand for green products within the work truck industry.

The latest industry news and information, technical resources, legislative and regulatory activity, market data, industry statistics, research findings, and an extensive glossary of terms, among other items, regarding alternative fuel trucks can be found on the website.

“We are pleased to offer vital resources and tools to highlight the latest developments, information and research in this evolving and growing industry,” said Doyle Sumrall, GTA’s managing director. “The GTA is fully committed to moving the green truck industry forward and to supporting the companies who share this same vision.”

Whitepapers, technical information, new product updates and industry-related articles are available exclusively to members of the GTA. Membership in the GTA is open to any interested business or organization.

Another resource, specific to propane, is The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). PERC promotes the safe and efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy resource through education, technology development and commercialization.

PERC and the Alternative Fuel Trade Alliance, which consists of PERC, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Biodiesel Board, and the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation, are now offering a nationwide training program on alternative fuel.

The free workshops cover alternative fuel quality, infrastructure, available vehicles, safety, latest technologies, and environmental impact of propane, ethanol, biodiesel and compressed natural gas. The training program consists of a series of 14 training seminars across the country made possible by a $1.6 million grant from the Energy Department.

“Customers are demanding green fleets, and these workshops provide fleet managers an opportunity to better understand the choices and options available for fleet vehicles,” said Brian Feehan, vice president of PERC. “By encouraging wider use of propane and other alternative-fueled vehicles, we increase our environmental and national energy security goals.”

Each of the full-day collaborative workshops scheduled over the next two years will involve a site in the Energy Department’s Clean Cities program, which uses local coalitions to promote the use of alternative fuels such as propane.

The next workshop is scheduled for Nov. 16, 2010, in Arlington, Texas.

To register for this workshop or view a free online webcast from a previous workshop click here.

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