Local Governments Lead on Electric Vehicle Fleets

The top three uses for electric vehicle fleets are found at the local level.
Image: Flickr

From police vehicles to utility trucks, local governments are staying ahead of the curve when it comes to electric vehicle fleets.

Of the top four uses for electric vehicle fleets, three are utilized by local governments and municipalities, according to the experts at Fleetcarma. Local government electric vehicle fleets are helping to lead the way for a future less dependent on fossil fuels.

Besides being better for the environment, electric vehicles also offer substantial savings through reduced maintenance and fuel costs. For organizations that utilize a large amount of vehicles — such as municipal governments — the lifetime cost difference between gas-powered and electric-powered vehicles is compelling.

#1 City Sanitation Departments

While the hauling of refuse is still performed by large diesel trucks, the sanitation department in New York City has utilized an electric vehicle fleet for neighborhood inspections and other services performed by the department.

The first round of the electric vehicles were unveiled by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2011, and, following up on the success, more electric vehicles were added to the fleet in 2015.

#2 Utility Fleets

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), one of the largest utility companies in the country, began replacing many of its utility trucks with electric vehicle fleets in 2015.

In California, PG&E’s hybrid-electric cherrypickers:

  • Operate without idling
  • Utilize solar panels on the roof
  • Return power to the grid

The company has also invested in the installation of dozens of charging stations around the country, providing additional support for the push towards more personal electric vehicles.

#3 Police Departments

While the limitations of electric cars, such as speed and battery length, prevent police departments from adopting entire electric vehicle fleets, partial fleets can be used for certain police activities, such as:

  • Community outreach
  • Detective work
  • Traffic work, such as parking violations
  • Transporting officers on duty
#4 Delivery Vehicles

Though not used by public sector organizations, delivery vehicles play a crucial role in advancing clean energy initiatives in the cities they service. From reduced emissions to quieter streets, electric and hybrid delivery vehicles can make a big difference in areas looking towards clean energy and green alternatives.

Transport vehicles account for 23 percent of global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so any move towards clean and efficient energy is a step in the right direction.

The United States Postal Service purchased electric vehicle fleets for its hubs, adding 125 clean electricity-powered vehicles to the road in 2015.

Duane Reade, a New York City drugstore chain owned by Walgreens, replaced 25 percent of its fleet with electric delivery vehicles to reduce emissions, with an emphasis on the noise reduction benefit. As a matter of fact, the tops of their trucks say, “Hey, relax, I’m not the one making noise down here,” for residents looking down from building windows.

Electric Vehicle Fleets Can Help Shift the Public Towards Energy Efficient Vehicles

When public sector agencies switch to electric vehicle fleets, they can help shape the way the local community views electric-powered vehicles.

One of the largest barriers for people who are considering buying an electric vehicle is the question of when and how they will charge it. One option is for the charging stations that are purchased and installed for public fleets to be available to any resident during the day, and then reserved for charging the fleet at night.

This helps remove the barrier that stops car-buyers from looking at electric and hybrid vehicles.

Read the original article on Fleetcarma’s website.

Learn more about how cities can implement public electric vehicle charging:

How to Prepare Your City for EVs 2: Electric Fleets

 

About the author

Rachel Engel

Rachel Engel

Author Rachel Engel is also Associate Editor of Military1.com. She is based in Kansas.