Electric vehicle fleets: the bigger, the better. And don't wait. Those are the two key take-aways from a new fleet-greening study commissioned by the State of Colorado.
The study, conducted by Vision Fleet, a company that helps government agencies transition to EV fleets, recommends large-scale deployments of electric vehicles over small pilot programs. That is, for efficient development of best practices, switching a full department over to electric vehicles is better than testing the waters with a few new cars spread out over many different departments.
Vision Fleet's study also argued that the state shouldn't wait for the end of its current fleet's "life cycle" to make the switch to EVs. Slowly replacing bits of a fleet won't offer the same economic and environmental benefits as bigger deployments, particularly hindering "the State’s ability to achieve economies of scale and demonstrate the benefits of AFVs in their most appropriate uses."
While the study was done with data from the state of Colorado, its authors say the results likely hold true for a number of state and local governments as well.
"Electric and other alternative fuel vehicles already make economic sense for most public fleets," Vision Fleet’s CEO Michael Brylawski said. "The challenge is identifying the right vehicles to replace and then committing the necessary resources and effort—especially in the areas of education, tracking, and reporting—to ensure the program is successful.”
And it's not just governments that are tackling the integration of education and fleet deployment. Georgia Power just invested in a fleet of 32 Chevy Volts in hopes of increasing the visibiltiy of electric vehicles throughout the state, as part of its "Get Current. Drive Electric." program. The utility launched the program to "advance Georgia as an exceptionally EV-friendly state," and has looked to integrate public education through commercials and testimonials, with economic incentives like special charging rates for EV drivers, and now, sending their energy efficiency experts to work in clean vehicles.
So how do these deployments work out in the end? Vision Fleet has been working with the City of Indianapolis to deploy a fleet of 500 EVs, and just released the results of the first six months of progress.
The company says it has helped the city save 18,293 gallons of gas since October 2014, highlighting that the most important benefits from mass deployments of EVs are environmental. But the Indianpolis fleet is also saving the City money as well, due to the lower operational costs of electric vehicles.
Both are great reasons for making the conversion of fleets to EVs a priority.
Article originally published May 11, 2015 by Paula Freidrich