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Authority official hopes hybrids will save on gas expenses

The Pepper’s Ferry Regional Wastewater Treatment Authority is going green.
The authority received shipment this week of three hybrid vehicles which Executive Director Clarke Wallcraft hopes will save the organization about $7,000-$8,000 in annual gasoline expenses.
One of the vehicles, a Toyota Camry Hybrid, will be used for off-site trips, while the other two Global Electric Motors (GEMe2) cars will be used on site.
Wallcraft purchased one of the Toyota Camry Hybrid cars for his personal vehicle last April and, thus far, he said, he has been able to more than double the gas mileage he was getting with the sedan he was driving before.
The Camry is a combination electric and gasoline vehicle. It runs on electric power that is generated by its own braking system and only switches into gas mode if it is needed.
He said he has really been pleased with his personal vehicle — especially after discovering he has been able to beat the factory-estimated 34-miles-per-gallon. So far, he said, he has been able to get about 40 miles to a gallon of gas.
During a recent trip to Georgia, his personal vehicle made the 650-mile round trip on one tank (17.2 gallons) of gas.
“I’m getting about six to seven miles per gallon more than I was expecting,” he added.
In fact, shooting for the best possible gas mileage has become somewhat of a challenge for Wallcraft. He said he tries to force the Camry to go into electric mode as much as possible to save on gas consumption. His goal is to get 700 miles out of a single tank.
Although there is no device that allows a driver to manually switch between electric and gas modes, Wallcraft has discovered ways to get the car to change on its own.
He said the Camry shows “the technology is real. We just need to explore how to reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources.,” such as oil.
To save gas costs on site, Wallcraft purchased two GEM vehicles to use in place of some small pickup trucks.
GEMs are all-electric vehicles that must be plugged into a standard 110 household outlet with at least 15 amps of power to charge. The outlet also should have a GFIC (Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit), he noted.
GEMs are rated for use on public streets with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. However, Wallcraft said, he intends to use them only on the authority’s grounds.
He said he hasn’t seen any signs of a drain on the plant’s electrical system as a result of charging the GEMs.
The initial charge of the battery takes between six and 14 hours, but it does not have to be completely discharged before being recharged. He plans to recharge before the battery drops below a 75-percent charge.
He said the vehicles can travel an estimated 22 to 47 miles on a single charge. The amount of time is dependent upon conditions such as terrain and the driving habits of its operator.
The GEMs, manufactured by Chrysler, are “relatively simplistic vehicles,” so they can be maintained by the owner. Therefore, Wallcraft also hopes to save money in maintenance costs.
The Camry cost a little more than $25,000 and the GEMs were about $10,000 apiece.
With the maintenance savings and the improved gas mileage, Wallcraft said the authority should be able to pay off its capital investment on the vehicles in about a year’s time.

Now, he’s hoping the auto manufacturers will start making hybrid pickup trucks. He said there is a need for pickup trucks at the authority, so he’ll have to continue buying gas models until a hybrid is available.
But the question is: How is the driving effected when the Camry shifts between gas and electric mode?
“You can’t tell any difference,” he said. “You don’t know when it switches unless you look at the gauge.”
And the power of he vehicle isn’t affected by the hybridization. He said he makes it up Afton Mountain “just fine” in his personal vehicle.
You may contact Melinda Williams at melinda@southwesttimes.com

Authority official hopes hybrids will save on gas expenses

The Pepper’s Ferry Regional Wastewater Treatment Authority is going green.
The authority received shipment this week of three hybrid vehicles which Executive Director Clarke Wallcraft hopes will save the organization about $7,000-$8,000 in annual gasoline expenses.
One of the vehicles, a Toyota Camry Hybrid, will be used for off-site trips, while the other two Global Electric Motors (GEMe2) cars will be used on site.
Wallcraft purchased one of the Toyota Camry Hybrid cars for his personal vehicle last April and, thus far, he said, he has been able to more than double the gas mileage he was getting with the sedan he was driving before.
The Camry is a combination electric and gasoline vehicle. It runs on electric power that is generated by its own braking system and only switches into gas mode if it is needed.
He said he has really been pleased with his personal vehicle — especially after discovering he has been able to beat the factory-estimated 34-miles-per-gallon. So far, he said, he has been able to get about 40 miles to a gallon of gas.
During a recent trip to Georgia, his personal vehicle made the 650-mile round trip on one tank (17.2 gallons) of gas.
“I’m getting about six to seven miles per gallon more than I was expecting,” he added.
In fact, shooting for the best possible gas mileage has become somewhat of a challenge for Wallcraft. He said he tries to force the Camry to go into electric mode as much as possible to save on gas consumption. His goal is to get 700 miles out of a single tank.
Although there is no device that allows a driver to manually switch between electric and gas modes, Wallcraft has discovered ways to get the car to change on its own.
He said the Camry shows “the technology is real. We just need to explore how to reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources.,” such as oil.
To save gas costs on site, Wallcraft purchased two GEM vehicles to use in place of some small pickup trucks.
GEMs are all-electric vehicles that must be plugged into a standard 110 household outlet with at least 15 amps of power to charge. The outlet also should have a GFIC (Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit), he noted.
GEMs are rated for use on public streets with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. However, Wallcraft said, he intends to use them only on the authority’s grounds.
He said he hasn’t seen any signs of a drain on the plant’s electrical system as a result of charging the GEMs.
The initial charge of the battery takes between six and 14 hours, but it does not have to be completely discharged before being recharged. He plans to recharge before the battery drops below a 75-percent charge.
He said the vehicles can travel an estimated 22 to 47 miles on a single charge. The amount of time is dependent upon conditions such as terrain and the driving habits of its operator.
The GEMs, manufactured by Chrysler, are “relatively simplistic vehicles,” so they can be maintained by the owner. Therefore, Wallcraft also hopes to save money in maintenance costs.
The Camry cost a little more than $25,000 and the GEMs were about $10,000 apiece.
With the maintenance savings and the improved gas mileage, Wallcraft said the authority should be able to pay off its capital investment on the vehicles in about a year’s time.

Now, he’s hoping the auto manufacturers will start making hybrid pickup trucks. He said there is a need for pickup trucks at the authority, so he’ll have to continue buying gas models until a hybrid is available.
But the question is: How is the driving effected when the Camry shifts between gas and electric mode?
“You can’t tell any difference,” he said. “You don’t know when it switches unless you look at the gauge.”
And the power of he vehicle isn’t affected by the hybridization. He said he makes it up Afton Mountain “just fine” in his personal vehicle.
You may contact Melinda Williams at melinda@southwesttimes.com