8 States With Progressive Electric Vehicle Fleet Targets
All over the country, city and state governments are doing their part to cut petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions from their fleets— but using a patchwork of approaches.
Some states call for an overall cut in emissions, leaving it to procurement agencies and fleet managers to work out the details. Others mandate specific kinds of vehicle purchases, be they compressed natural gas vehicles, hybrids, or plug-in electrics. Some simply call for agencies to buy the “most efficient suitable model,” leaving purchasing decisions open to interpretation.
While any effort to cut emissions is admirable and the unique demands of different agencies often make piecemeal approaches more effective, they leave fleet managers and vehicle procurement agencies in a difficult position.
What’s the lowest-cost, most effective way to cut fleet emissions by 40 percent in ten years? Which electric cars are capable of meeting the needs of a motor pool that’s been mandated to purchase 10 percent plug-ins each year, and how can they best be distributed? How much charging infrastructure is needed and where should it be located?
A number of state and local governments have made these decisions easier by mandating that new fleet vehicles be equipped with telematics hardware. By gathering data on the usage patterns of government vehicles, fleets can streamline the reporting process and gain insights that will be valuable in meeting increasingly stringent standards.
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Rather than implementing time-consuming and outdated reporting procedures and databases, using telematics to track fleet vehicles and meet reporting requirements creates a broad foundation of data on which to build future analyses.
Eight States With Electric Vehicle Mandates
In 2012, Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order dictating that 10 percent of California’s light-duty fleet vehicles be zero emissions by 2015, rising to 25 percent by 2020. That’s not an easy requirement to meet for a state as large and diverse as California.
Luckily, in 2014 the state’s Department of Transportation implemented a $2.5 million telematics deployment covering roughly 7,500 vehicles. Lessons learned from the data are projected to save California around $500,000 per year (after subtracting the cost of the telematics system.)
The city of Los Angeles recently became home to the largest municipal electric vehicle fleet in the country. Los Angeles is taking an even more aggressive approach than California as a whole, mandating that at least 50 percent of new vehicles be plug-ins.
Last year, Colorado pledged to cut fuel consumption 20 percent by 2020. The state doesn’t yet mandate how many plug-in vehicles it will buy to help reach that goal, but its Fleet Opportunity Assessment has issued a formal recommendation to implement and utilize telematics to guide future acquisitions.
One of the more ambitious statewide electric vehicle laws can be found in Illinois, where 60 percent of new vehicles must be hybrids and 15 percent must be fully-electric by 2025. In order to meet this goal, Illinois will have to identify which duty cycles are capable of being performed by limited-range battery electric vehicles.
Passed in 2008, the Massachusetts Green Communities states that 50 percent of new acquisitions be alternative fuel vehicles by 2018. In addition, Massachusetts also mandates that all new vehicles be equipped with telematics software. That will come in handy as the 2018 deadline nears as the state begins to focus on writing more aggressive targets for the next decade.
5) New Mexico
New Mexico is pledged to reduce its overall emissions by 36 percent by 2030. The state’s 2008 “Lead By Example” fleet emissions reduction target was met last year, and right now officials are exploring the next steps in the effort. The New Mexico Transportation Services division is currently working to install GPS tracking devices in all fleet vehicles under its control.
6) New York
New York State doesn’t currently have any minimum requirements for electric vehicle acquisition, but its General Services Office does offer a group-purchase program to lower costs for individual fleets. New York City has pursued and abandoned a number of fleet electric vehicle plans, mandating only that agencies take “all reasonable steps to minimize fleet and fuel use and optimize use of alternatives.” As the city searches for best course of action, it will rely on data from its Fleet Management System, which compiles a number of data collection methods including simple vehicle locators and telematics software.
Under the Vermont State Agency Energy plan, 25 percent of new state fleet acquisitions must be Zero Emissions Vehicles by 2025.
The State of Washington’s Electric Fleet Initiative was signed into law at the end of 2015, setting the rapid and ambitious target of making 20 percent of new vehicles electric by 2017. What’s more, Washington will have to add charging infrastructure for those cars and work to eliminate non-essential vehicles as well. The state is currently looking into contracting with a telematics provider to help it reach these lofty goals, but no final announcement in that area has yet been made.
The Sooner the Better
The movement to cut fuel consumption and transition fleets to Zero Emissions Vehicles may already be uncomfortably rapid and difficult to implement for many government fleets—but it’s only just beginning. As EPA targets for overall state emission cuts escalate, deploying plug-in vehicles will soon no longer be an option but a necessity. For fleet managers, procurement agencies, and other officials, gathering data from new and existing vehicles will be an invaluable tool for meeting increasingly stringent standards.
Because such a wide variety of strategies and targets are being implemented across the country, there isn’t a single road map for meeting them. Hundreds of agencies will be responsible for developing their own plans. The sooner those agencies begin collecting comprehensive data on their vehicles, the easier and more effective those next steps will be.
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