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Vendor Newsmaker Q&A Rick Price

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 07:00
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Rick Price is the executive director of Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, which works with OEMs, aftermarket businesses, commercial and institutional fleets, fuel providers, community leaders and others to provide educational opportunities and other resources aimed at reducing petroleum use in the transportation sector. Encouraging increased electric vehicle adaptation is a key goal.

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Price has been involved with the organization for nearly 15 years. Recently retired from the U.S. Department of Energy after 37 years of service, he was the Organizational Property Management Officer for the National Energy Technology Laboratory for 20 years, during which his duties included serving as the motor vehicle manager for a fleet of 82 vehicles. He was instrumental in bringing alternative-fueled vehicles and infrastructure to the lab and won an award for small fleets from the DOE in 2005.

Price recently answered a series of questions posed by Aftermarket Business World:

Q: What steps are you taking to work with automotive businesses to promote the sales and use of EVs?

A: As part of our state coalition we are trying to get more corporate automotive representatives involved. We have General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Tesla that are part of the state effort, but it will take more local dealerships to help support our outreach and education. We need to do a better job of getting more OEMs. Not so much with repair shops and auto parts stores as most of these vehicles are covered by OEM warranties.

Q: Are there enough EV training programs for automotive professionals in your region?

A: There are probably more needed. However, the classes that we have are not well attended, mostly because the OEM’s have their own programs and there isn't much work done by other repair shops.

Q: How do you assess the quality and usefulness of the existing training options? Are there any training programs that you recommend?

A: I would recommend the training to folks who need a better understanding of how the vehicles operate and what components are involved in working on. I think more individual models need to be more specific with the training.

Q: How well is the motoring public and businesses embracing EVs?

A: While there are some who are embracing EVs and plug-in hybrids, there still needs to be additional education and outreach to better explain the benefits of these technologies.

Q: What are some of the steps your organization is taking to encourage more EV purchases?

A: Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, along with an effort with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, are working to create a coalition to educate fleet managers and the public about what vehicles are available and where they can purchase them.

Q: What are some success stories in your area regarding EVs?

A: We have two entities that are using electric vehicles, Star Transportation Group/Veterans Taxi with four Teslas, and now the City of Pittsburgh has just purchased four EVs. The city was one of the finalists for the DOT Smart Cities Program, which was won by Columbus. We also have our local utility, Duquesne Light, and Eaton Corp. driving electric vehicles.

Q: Does the Pittsburgh region have an adequate network of charging stations?

A: I think we have enough to get the momentum, but the more we are able to place will enhance the effort. There are over 120 stations in southwest Pennsylvania.

Q: Are steps being taken to implement more of them?

A: Yes. We are working with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, state and federal grants, and the manufacturers will help as well.

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