How 50+ Electric Vehicles Were Deployed In Disadvantaged Communities (With Infographic)

 In Electric Vehicle News

Disadvantaged communities in California are those that are most burdened by pollution and most vulnerable to its effects – taking into account socioeconomic characteristics and underlying health status.

As such, the State of California has been investing heavily in improving public health, quality of life and economic opportunity in these communities.

To help lead the change, FleetCarma partnered with the Center for Sustainable Energy to conduct an Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment for Public Fleets in Disadvantaged Communities.

In this article, we take a look at what steps were taken, and how it led 8 fleets to procure over 50 electric vehicles within the first 4 months of the program.

By the way, there is also an infographic summarizing the report at the bottom of this article. Feel free to share it on your site!

Increasing EV Adoption in Public Fleets Serving Disadvantaged Communities

California has had the reputation of leading the electrification of transportation in North America for years now. Since 2010, the California Air Resources Board has been working alongside the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to administer the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).

In 2015, the Public Fleet Pilot Project was launched to offer increased rebates to public fleets operating clean vehicles in disadvantaged communities (as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency).  These communities suffered from disproportionately poor air quality and other environmental issues.

In addition to the rebates, the Public Fleet Pilot Project included free plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) suitability assessments to eight fleets. These assessments were delivered to five cities, two counties, and one water district.

Communities selected for the Public Fleet Pilot ProjectOnce the eight agencies were selected, FleetCarma worked closely with them to finalize a vehicle list to analyze for potential replacement.  Telematics devices were then added to each vehicle to analyze usage and provide a baseline for comparison. The second-by-second data was uploaded to virtually “drive” EV models that simulated different adoption scenarios while fully modelling the current vehicle’s duty cycle.

cse-report-processIn total, 85 vehicles were selected in the suitability assessments. The vehicles analyzed were mostly sedans, with some pickup trucks and some vans – vehicle model years ranging from 1997 to 2014. The most commonly selected vehicle applications for this process were motor pool, building inspection enforcement, and social services vehicles.

Some of the key metrics around PEV adoption are the daily driving distance, fuel economy, and engine-on time spent idling. The average baseline statistics for the vehicles analyzed in each of these categories were 23 miles driven daily with a fuel economy of 23 mpg and an average idle time of 27%.

Public Fleet Pilot Project Baseline StatisticsDoug Bond, the transportation services manager at Alameda County noted that “The information is extremely valuable for us to make informed decisions regarding EVs in our fleet.”  Overall, the analysis showed high potential for PEV suitability with low driving distances and opportunities for significant fuel and emissions benefits.

When completing an Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment, there are four key questions to answer:

  1. Is there a PEV model that would be range capable, with sufficient driving range to complete each trip?
  2. Is there a PEV model that would be charge capable, with enough time to fully charge vehicle between duty cycles?
  3. Is there a financial benefit for the fleet to replace the existing vehicle with a suitable PEV?
  4. What are the environmental benefits of replacing the existing vehicle with a suitable PEV?

Since the Public Fleet Pilot Project includes rebates, the models eligible for the rebate were all included in the analysis, as well as several larger PEV models to satisfy the needs of fleets with vans and trucks for perhaps larger cargo loads or off-road capabilities.

Overall, 68 of the 85 vehicles analyzed were recommended for replacement with an EV. Of the 68 vehicles recommended, estimated savings over the life of the vehicle were as high as $4,747.

Sedans were most often recommended for replacement – as those are also the most affordable EVs to adopt, while pickup trucks were the least often recommended.  If each fleet replaced all the recommended vehicles with the best-fit PEV, the fleets would save an average of $75,000 over the life of the vehicles. That’s nearly 25% of estimated total fleet costs for those vehicles.

Recommended replacements would also prevent an average of 67% of each fleet’s vehicle emissions.

Public Fleet Pilot Project recommendation

Public Fleet Pilot Project potential savings

Total Project Savings Potential with PEV Replacement Recommendations

The Public Fleet Pilot Project continued engagement with these fleets after the EVSA results were delivered. The follow-up included information about PEV practices, guidebooks, and personalized information based on their suitability assessment. A post-project questionnaire was also distributed to participants to gauge how their experience was and 7 of the 8 fleets provided feedback.

Vehicle purchase price and charging infrastructure were the most significant challenges to PEV adoption according to the respondents. The cost and complexity of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) also remains a barrier.

In the situation of smaller agencies with limited staffing and resources, funding and financial support is essential for vehicle acquisition and charging infrastructure.  Respondents also noted that procurement support, best practices, and peer-to-peer information could be the most valuable potential services.

It was also noted that for many public agencies, motor pools are an attractive starting point because vehicles can be directly managed by fleet staff to ensure sufficient charging and that they are assigned to the correct trips.  The EVSA is especially useful in these situations to ensure that the PEV will meet the specific duty cycle’s needs.

The questionnaire also proved that the assessment process was successful in facilitating actual EV deployment.  All respondents answered that they were “very satisfied” with the experience and six of the seven said that they were “more likely to acquire electric vehicles” after completing the suitability assessment.

These same agencies said that they were “very likely” to acquire electric vehicles within the next year, noting the value of the total cost of ownership savings to them.

Public Fleet Pilot Project feedbackWithin just four months of completing the assessment, most of the fleets had begun the process of acquiring electric vehicles. 50 vehicles are already in the procurement process, and more will be added in the near future.

Roseann Galvan, from the City of Selma, noted that “This assessment was a great opportunity to evaluate our future needs for electric vehicles and related equipment to change our carbon footprint.”

It is important to note that public agencies, especially local governments in disadvantaged communities, may require extra assurances before investing in new technologies such as vehicle electrification.

Often, they operate in tight fiscal constraints and difficult procurement processes.  The outside technical assistance in this instance validated the new technologies for these fleets and supported it with vehicle-by-vehicle evidence.

Overall this project with the CSE and the CVRP was successful on all fronts.

If you are interested in reading the original report, it can be found here.

There is also a summary infographic below, which we invite you to share on your site (HTML code is at the bottom).

Last, if you are interested in a suitability assessment for your fleet, leave us a message here!

Public Fleet Pilot Project infographic

Center for Sustainable Energy (2016). CVRP Infographic: Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment for Public Fleets. Retrieved from, in collaboration with FleetCarma.

To embed this infographic onto your website, simply copy and paste the code below:

<a href=""><img src="" alt="Public Fleet Pilot Project infographic" width="650" height="3059" /></a>
Center for Sustainable Energy (2016). CVRP Infographic: Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment for Public Fleets. Retrieved from <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, in collaboration with <a href="" target="_blank">FleetCarma</a>.

Thanks for reading!

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