Local Governments Lead on Electric Vehicle Fleets

3 Nov 2017 by Rachel Engel Fleet Carma

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:

The Advantages of Green Fleets

Cities like Seattle, WA use electric vehicles and fuel reduction policies to reduce their fleets’ carbon footprints. For example, Seattle recently purchased 120 electric buses with the aim to convert its entire transit fleet by 2034. Advances in technology mean these buses can travel 25 miles on a single 10-minute charge. In the coming years, more and more municipal governments will rely on green vehicles to facilitate operational and logistical efficiencies, reduce fuel costs, and reduce their carbon footprints.

Corporations benefit from the same fuel savings and efficiencies as governments, as well as PR boosts from adopting green technologies. For example, fleet management systems facilitate truck platoons, which can create fuel savings of up to 20%. In fact, efficient green innovations in the trucking sector are making it more and more competitive with rail transportation, even intermodal (container) rail systems.

Growth in Fleet Management

Industry analysts expect the fleet management industry to reach $28.6 billion by the year 2022. Researchers predict CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rates) of over 15% during this period. Some experts anticipate even faster growth, with market volume hitting $27.9 billion by 2021.

This massive surge in market size depends on a variety of factors:

Regular Fleet Maintenance

As fleets age, companies must replace obsolete vehicles with newer ones. The fleet management industry sits atop this firm financial foundation; no matter what, companies need to transport their goods to market. This evergreen business expense only expands as economies and businesses grow and prosper.

Developing Economies

Industry analysts expect developing nations to spend heavily on fleet management infrastructure. NGOs have invested massive amounts in managing the world’s humanitarian fleet (their biggest expense, after staffing) to bring aid to many of these countries. Without legacy systems in place, previously “third world” countries can leapfrog inefficient 20th-century technologies.

As new corporate, municipal, and governmental players enter the fleet management market, this sector will see remarkable growth. Globalized transportation changed the business landscape in the last century; in the decades to come, smart transport will create even greater opportunities for tech-forward organizations.

Compliance Requirements

Increasing numbers of governments are mandating the use of GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and ELD (Electronic Logging Devices). As this trend continues, government/military fleet managers will invest heavily in vehicles with the necessary technologies. These mandates will spur growth in the consumer and manufacturing sectors, further increasing the need for fleet management systems.

Tracking Technologies

Wireless fleet tracking technologies don’t just create safer driving conditions for everyone on the road. These systems dramatically reduce fleet management costs. Instead of using paper logs or un-networked computer systems, companies can track fleet usage in real time. Tomorrow’s business fleets—whether consumer car rental, truck transport, or executive transport—will exemplify the just-in-time delivery model. Vehicles will show up exactly where and when people need them, especially as fleet management systems move to the cloud for flexibility, affordability, scalability, and speed. With these tools, fleet managers can increasingly anticipate and eliminate costly bottlenecks and supply/demand disparities.


With the advent of autonomous drone and cargo ship fleets on the horizon, the fleet management sector will experience massive growth beyond the 5-year mark. As driverless vehicles enter our skies, cross our oceans, and join us on the highway, fleet management systems will become absolute necessities. Companies that stay above the rising tide of fleet logistics technologies will realize astounding efficiencies and cost reductions in the years—and decades—to come.

Our fleet management software was designed from the ground up to support your current and future vehicles. With complete electric vehicle integration, you’re able to use one platform to increase fleet efficiency, reduce operating costs, improve the safety of your drivers, and maximize EV utilization. To learn more, visit our fleet management overview page.