LIVONIA, MI - The National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) Michigan Chapter held its first ever Alternative Fuel Conference on March 24. The group held the conference at the Roush Museum in Livonia, in partnership with Michigan’s Clean Cities Coalitions.

According to NAFA Michigan’s chapter chair, SEMCO Fleet Analyst Chris Kowalski, 71 people from throughout the fleet industry attended the event. Attendees heard about various fuel alternatives along with the tax incentives and grant opportunities that support clean fuels and vehicle procurement. The conference’s presenters and their topics were:

  • Roush CleanTech - Propane fuel technology
  • Parker Hannifin - Full brake energy recovery via their hydraulic hybrids
  • General Motors – Review of the Chevrolet Volt
  • Azure Dynamics – Hybrid electric buses and the Ford Transit Connect Electric
  • DTE/MichCon – Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle and infrastructure project
  • Michigan Clean Cities programs and incentives.

Attendees heard how CNG (currently $2.15/gallon equivalent) has become more attractive as an alternative to gasoline due to recent advances in drilling for natural gas in shale deposits (known in the industry as ‘fracking’) and how with a hydraulic hybrid system nearly all of the energy typically lost during vehicle braking is captured and used to propel the vehicle the next time it needs to accelerate. 

An introduction to the Chevrolet Volt captured attendees’ attention as well, and Clean Cities discussed its work to maximize tax incentives and grant opportunities for businesses that want to utilize alt-fuel vehicles. After the meeting those in attendance could tour the Roush Museum and view a display of alternative fuel vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt, CNG cargo vans run by DTE/MichCon, VW Jetta TDI and a Frito-Lay hybrid delivery cutaway van.

“All told, our Alt Fuel meeting provided tremendous value to those in attendance,” Kowalski said. “Cooperation and support from Michigan’s Clean Cities Coalition was tremendous. This meeting led to a direct request from my company’s president (who was in attendance) to do a presentation about alternative fuel technology to his management team.”