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NASA’s Kennedy Space Center exceeds anticipated CO2 reductions with EVs

Reported by the NASA website, the programme's coordinator, Frank Kline, said: ‘The numbers are really insane. The programme’s first three months only cost $148, and we eliminated over 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Over a whole year, we’ll save over 60,000 pounds and that’s just with 10 drivers.’

The 10 workers are using the vehicles for their daily commute and charging them at the centre's stations during the day, with the workers being given free charging in return for filling out a spreadsheet each day documenting how many miles were driven and the road and traffic conditions.

Kline added: ‘The numbers are 10 times better than we thought we’d ever see. No one's ever done a pilot where you get actual numbers. It’s always been estimates only.’

All federal agencies are under a presidential order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal being a 12.3% reduction by 2020. For NASA, the goal is a 12.3% reduction by 2020. This also covers how much gas is emitted from sources that are not controlled by the agency, including things ranging from the gases produced by an airliner carrying a NASA employee on assignment to the emissions from an employee’s car during the daily commute.

‘The biggest one is federal employee commutes – that’s the easiest target to go after,’ Kline said. ‘If we want to stop you from producing greenhouse gases, electric vehicles don't produce any greenhouse gases.’

The pilot also covers for the emissions made by the power plant in the process of making electricity.

‘The average car puts out about a pound of carbon dioxide per mile,’ Kline said. ‘We're reducing that by 3/5ths by letting you plug in at the Kennedy Space Center.’

‘What we're trying to capture is fully electric plug-ins,’ he added. ‘The hybrid is not that different from gasoline-powered cars. It's better, but if you go electric, that's really where you see the bang for the buck. Fully electric is where we want to be.’

With early figures showing a dramatic reduction in the amount of emissions from the daily commute, the pilot shows the potential to significantly reduce the emissions from daily commutes if extrapolated across the centre’s 8,000-odd staff.

‘If you just put some infrastructure in and get people to plug in, you can do more to reduce carbon dioxide and you won’t have to spend multi-million dollars,’ Kline said.

Natalie Middleton

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