Electricity, natural gas and hydrogen were showcased as alternative transportation fuels during last month’s National Clean Energy Summit 6.0 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
MGM Resorts International unveiled the newest addition to its transportation fleets at Aria and Bellagio, a Cadillac Escalade that had been converted to operate on compressed natural gas rather than gasoline. The Escalade engine was converted by World CNG from Spokane, Wash. World CNG has provided CNG conversion services for other Southern Nevada clients, including Bell Transportation’s taxi and limousine fleet, as well as Zappos.
MGM Resorts International previously used CNG fuel for its CityCenter fleet. Three years ago, the company installed a CNG refueling station on Industrial Road that is available to the public.
Hydrogen is another alternative fuel that was showcased by Toyota Motor Co. during the summit. The company exhibited an advanced fuel-cell hybrid vehicle. The model FCHV-adv is fueled by compressed hydrogen and oxygen.
Like the Toyota Prius Synergy hybrid drive train, the fuel cell in the Toyota FCHV-adv hybrid supplements a large nickel-metal hydride battery pack to provide power to the vehicle’s electric motor. The NiMH traction battery pack can drive the electric motor 31 miles before the fuel cell takes over to generate electricity. The fuel cell maintains the capacity of the battery pack while also supplying supplemental electric power to the drive train.
A 13-pound tank of compressed hydrogen gas, along with compressed ambient oxygen from the surrounding air, can extend the electric-only range of the battery pack to as much as 430 miles for cross-country trips. The only emissions are water vapor.
However, like CNG, electricity and other alternative fuels, refueling stations and support infrastructure must be established across the country in order to make hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles viable during the next decade.
Toyota representatives said the company plans to introduce a production vehicle with FCHV technology during the 2015 model year.
Xtreme Green Products of North Las Vegas exhibited its electric utility vehicles during the event and was visited by Ernest Moniz, secretary of the Department of Energy. Neil and Claire Roth have built their startup company one vehicle at a time during the past five years with the support of investor Byron Georgiou. The entrepreneurs began by creating rugged all-terrain electric vehicles.
Xtreme Green Products produced electric utility-task vehicles, motorcycles and specialized one-man police vehicles for patrolling crowded areas such as airports, shopping malls and urban streets. The company began shipping its vehicles outside the United States during 2012.
At the end of the month, electric car owners will gather in more than 100 U.S. cities to stage a National Plug-In Day event that will celebrate the freedom of driving with electric power. In Las Vegas, the local EV community will convene from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 29 in the parking lot of the NV Energy corporate office, 6226 W. Sahara Ave.
The Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association will exhibit electric vehicle conversions. These electric cars were once gasoline-powered vehicles whose internal combustion engines and drive trains have been replaced by electric motor drive trains, powered by a large battery pack.
For more information about National Plug-In Day, visit the event’s website at: www.pluginday.org.
Stan Hanel has worked in the electronics industry for more than 30 years and is a longtime member of the Electric Auto Association and the Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association. Contact him at email@example.com.