What would the gas station of tomorrow look like? Robots pumping our gas and cleaning our windshields while we watch something on the hologram display projected from above? Rapid wireless electric battery charging for one’s EV that only takes moments to complete? While neither of these will likely happen tomorrow, how about something at least that is more clean fuels focused? That seems to be what Propel Fuels out of California is aiming for.
Propel Fuels recently opened in Fullerton, California its first so-called “Clean Mobility Center.” Described as redefining the American gas station, these Clean Mobility Centers bring front and center pumps and services that support alternative vehicles types and cleaner means of transportation. The company also has what it calls “Clean Fuel Points,” which are dedicated clean fuel pumps that can be put in at existing gas stations and are, in fact, at a range of locations already.
Now the ability to pump bio-diesel blends or FlexFuel E85 is not a new concept, as you can find gas stations around the nation which already do this. Propel Fuels seems to be taking this many steps further though, desiring to open up dedicated service facilities offering these two cleaner burning fuel sources as alternative choices for those with compatible vehicles. There’s also conventional fuel types available to those driving more regular gas guzzling cars as well.
And, for those driving electric or natural gas powered vehicles, Bloomberg Businessweek reports Propel is considering “adding natural gas pumps and battery recharging to stations in the future” if the market for those matures.
Other green focused aspects dot these Propel Fuels facilities as well, owing to what the company’s management thinks fits the lifestyles of likely customers. These offerings include the ability to track carbon reductions from the alternative fuels used, free air for tires to improve road fuel economy, purchasable carbon offsets at the pump, bicycle tuning stations, recycling options for items like soda cans and local mass transit and carpooling information for those who want to commute car free.
The company, currently planning for a network of more than 200 stations, recently was awarded a $10.1 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build more than 100 Flex Fuel E85 stations over the next four years. It is matching this grant with over $24 million in private investment and believes this funding, along with previous grants and private capital, will help it hit its network goal.
As for Propel’s customer type, it isn’t just average folks like you and I who might be pulling into one of these alternative fuel stations to fill up our personal vehicles. The company mentioned it has private and public fleets it helps fuel, including those of the United States Postal Service, the California Department of General Services and the Department of Transportation.
“The facts are apparent; petroleum sales are falling, public transit ridership is up, bike lanes are expanding, and purchases of alternate fuel vehicles are on the rise—we’re seeing consumers seek new and better solutions for their transportation needs,” said Matt Horton, CEO of Propel, in a statement.