Dear Wheego Enthusiast,
In This Issue:
- Wheego Demonstrating Autonomous Driving Technology
- Sonic Tests Drive-In Charging
- EV Chargers Coming to California National Parks
- NJ Board of Public Utilities Creates Grant Program to Support EVs
Wheego Demonstrating Autonomous Driving Technology
Photo: Tom Jacobs
Today’s vehicles include Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) – automatic braking, for example, or parking assist, or cruise control that adapts to the distance of the car in front of you. These features are the first steps toward fully autonomous driving. The next leap in technology requires vehicles to “learn” from many thousands of hours of driving – recognizing lanes where there are no markings, avoiding accidents, watching for pedestrians. Wheego has been working with George Hotz, founder of comma.ai, to demonstrate his newest technology. A Wheego LiFe, outfitted with cameras and sensors by the comma.ai team, participated in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Track Day in May. You can learn more about the event in the following blogs, videos and articles:
Wheego’s Autonomous Driving R&D group is part of its Internet of Things division, formed two years ago in Atlanta. Exciting things to come!
Sonic Tests Drive-In Charging
Excerpted from an article by Sergio Chapa in the San Antonio Business Journal
"America's Drive-In" is using one of its San Antonio-area locations to test how well electric vehicle charging stations would be received and adopted by their customers.
Sonic Corp.(NYSE: SONC) recently installed two electric vehicle charging stations at a Sonic Drive-In in San Antonio. Sonic Vice President of Facilities Wayne Brayton told the Business Journal that the charging stations were installed at company-owned locations in Boerne and Westminster, Colorado as part of a pilot program to see how well they are received by the chain's customers.
"It seemed like a custom fit for us, so we're excited to see what happens for us over the next few months," Brayton said. The charging stations are free for customers but Brayton said the company is considering a promotion to give electric vehicle drivers a perk for using them.
EV Chargers Coming to California National Parks
Excerpted from an article by Sammy Roth for The Desert Sun
A new initiative could make it easier to visit national parks without hurting the environment.
California officials approved $1.5 million this month for the National Park Service to install at least 15 electric vehicle chargers at park sites across the state. The grant from the California Energy Commission could allow the park service to build charging stations in places like Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks, which don't have public electric vehicle chargers and are difficult to access without gasoline-powered cars.
It's not yet clear where the charging stations will be built; the park service will study where it makes the most sense to put them, based on criteria like expected demand and distance from existing chargers. But wherever they go, park officials say they'll serve a dual purpose. In addition to making it easier for electric-vehicle drivers explore the parks, officials say, the chargers will raise awareness of cleaner transportation options.
"We care very deeply about climate change and energy and emission reductions, and air quality," Mary Hazell, who works in the park service's Sustainable Operations and Climate Change office, told the California Energy Commission. "We think this is a really great platform for information, because for millions of visitors, it will allow for sustainable EV travel across the state, and allow us to talk about it on a platform across the nation."
Last year, more than 38 million people visited National Park Service sites in California.
NJ Board of Public Utilities Creates Grant Program to Support EVs
Excerpted from an article by Jessica Limardo for the Daily Energy Insider
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has announced the rollout of a new grant program to help employers offset the costs of installing electric vehicle charging stations at workplaces to create a greener state.
The grant program is part of the board’s larger “It Pays to Plug In” program that encourages New Jersey residents to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using electric vehicles. The first phase of the program will offer $725,000 in grant funding to employers that install electric vehicle charging stations to offset installation costs.
The “Drive Green New Jersey” program encourages employees to drive electric vehicles and supports an education-focused website that has research tools for consumers to determine which kind of vehicle is best for them and the environment.
“Today’s announced joint effort to incentivize workplace electric vehicle charging stations is yet another step in the implementation of Governor Christie’s State Energy Master Plan and recognizes its stated goal of encouraging greater use of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles by improving and expanding the infrastructure needed to support the use of alternative-fueled vehicles throughout New Jersey,” Board President Richard S. Mroz said.
The initiative is a joint effort between the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the Department of Environmental Protection.
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The Wheego Team