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    Fleet Electrification: First Steps for Fleets Transitioning to Electric Vehicles

    By Juliane Ding & Samantha Breaux, LCF Interns

    There are many reasons why a business or government agency may be interested in adding EVs to their fleets, such as reaching sustainability goals, lowering maintenance costs, or reducing fueling costs. Fleet electrification, however, takes a lot of thought, and details of the planning process are often overlooked when fleets look to transition. From planning and constructing the charging infrastructure to operating impacts and vehicle replacements, this article will share advice from experts on how to take your first steps towards fleet electrification. 

    For more tips on planning, check out Louisiana Clean Fuels’ online webinar First Steps for Fleets Interested in EVs (Fleet Electrification Pt. 2) featuring guest speakers Mary Till, Director of Business Development at Sawatch Labs, and Robert Mowat, Transportation Mobility Electrified Lead at HDR. Some of their advice will be shared throughout this article.

    The Basics

    With rising greenhouse gas emissions becoming a local, national, and global issue, electrification of fleets is one of the most direct methods that a fleet can adopt to help lower their company emissions, reach sustainability goals, and lower costs. Apart from these benefits, less maintenance and quiet operation can also improve driver quality of life. 

    However, adding one or two light duty vehicles to your fleet is a lot easier than adding a dozen medium or heavy-duty EVs or transitioning the entire fleet. According to Mowat, challenges may include operation feasibility, construction requirements, power demand, charging strategy, and capital costs. Fleets should consider these and other potential obstacles as they begin to research and plan for fleet electrification. 

    Planning Ahead

    As a Clean Cities Coalition, Louisiana Clean Fuels is here to help you get started as you look to tackle your own sustainability and clean transportation goals. Learning what questions to ask, how to engage with utility partners, and how telematics data can help your fleet are just the first steps in planning for fleet electrification. Our webinar series on fleet electrification is a great place to get even more information after reading this article. 

    There are various ways to begin electrifying your fleet, with various possible approaches to development, testing, and research. Mowat suggests taking a phased approach in which more advanced technologies and opportunities over time allow your fleet to gradually become more electric. Trying to jump right into electrification can lead to common industry problems such as lack of space for charging infrastructure, purchasing the wrong equipment, or vehicles being unable to meet route requirements. Thus, he recommends three guiding principles: ‘Idea to Implementation’, ‘First Things First’, and ‘Data-Driven Decisions’. 

    • Idea to Implementation: Emphasizes finding partnerships and experts to help guide your electrification project from start to finish. Lay out your scope and stay focused on the overall solution with each step you take. 
    • First Things First: Part of the planning process. Laying out a solid foundation and clear roadmap is vital to successful electrification projects. “The key for us is to do the first things first: really look at what’s going on and where you need to be,” Robert says. 
    • Data-Driven Decisions: Can help you understand your operational fleet data and make the most sustainable decisions for your company. One way to do this is using telematics data.



    Using Telematics to Plan

    An important planning tool for the project to be executed properly is telematics data. A fleet can use telematics data from their existing fleet to help them decide which vehicles and routes will be best for electrification. Some of the data available from telematics includes vehicle location, fuel consumption, and much more (see Table 1). “We can do sensitivity analysis for fleets,” says Till. “For example, if we’re talking about an eight-year life span on vehicles, there are many other variables that can change. Total cost of ownership can be impacted by vehicle purchase price and gas prices.” The chart below contains more detailed information on what data telematics and Sawatch Analytics can provide for your fleet.

    Table 1 includes examples of the type of vehicle information from telematics that can be used to help you plan your EV fleet project. Sawatch Labs takes telematics to the next level; providing a deeper analysis of your fleet.

    There are many other considerations when planning to add EVs to your fleet. Average charge time and power requirements of your vehicles must be considered along with the importance of identifying charging and infrastructure needs. Addressing these needs may include multiple things, including the consideration of the energy requirements for various types of vehicles within the fleet. However, analyses from telematics data provide a great starting point for companies looking to go electric or optimize current operations.

    Partnerships

    Types of partners to consider in your process should include third-party specialty groups, internal resources, technology suppliers, advocacy groups, peer groups, utility groups, government entities, and your local Clean Cities Coalition. “Again, these are pieces of the puzzle: getting those eight or nine essential partner groups,” Mowat explains. “An example of a partner group’s service is...where someone looks at your whole operation and does an analysis of what your fleet will need including power demand, utilities, facilities, and what can be done to improve your EVSE.”

    To get the most out of your partnerships, you’ll need to define clear goals, whether they are financial or sustainability goals. Each partner will be able to assist your process in different ways. For instance, external and internal funding can be looked at from governmental, municipal, and third-party sources. Peer organizations are a great place to start for lessons learned or personal recommendations. Louisiana Clean Fuels or your local Clean Cities coalition will be there every step of the way to assist in planning, finding funds, educating employees, and ensuring your transition will help you reach your company goals. 

    As you start thinking about your electrification goals, be sure to reach out and continue learning about the process. Adding EVs to your fleet can be a daunting task, but it can easily be tackled by addressing the challenges, planning ahead, and reaching out for information. As Till says, “There are people who have started to clear the forest and start[ed] looking for what needs to be done as we go forward. Start the conversation, engage partners, and start building your network.”

    Hear more from Mary Till and Robert Mowat about fleet electrification in our recorded webinar, First Steps for Fleets Interested in EVs. This webinar covers the things to consider when making the decision to try EVs, fleet analysis and EV Suitability of your fleet, utilizing data and telematics to inform your EV procurement decisions, along with understanding the new networks and types of partnerships you will need.

    Learn more about EV implementation here: https://afdc.energy.gov/files/pdfs/pev_handbook.pdf


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    Louisiana Green Fleets Program to recognize fleets on emissions reduction efforts

    Louisiana’s two Clean Cities coalitions combine programs to create one statewide Green Fleets Certification.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

         

    February 1, 2021 - Louisiana Clean Fuels (LCF) and Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership (SLCFP) are partnering on a single, statewide Green Fleets Certification Program, which will recognize Louisiana fleets on their environmental efforts toward reducing transportation emissions. Previously, each coalition had its own fleet certification program. The combined effort will simplify the certification process for fleets that operate in both regions of the state.

    The Louisiana Green Fleets Program is designed to assist fleets in deploying solutions that improve the economic and environmental performance of vehicle operations. This free program provides enrolled fleets with emissions analysis for their on-road and some off-road vehicles used throughout Louisiana. The analysis evaluates a fleet’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, pollutant emissions, and percentage of petroleum use along with their percentage of alternative fuel vehicles. Participating fleets are certified on a 5-star scale based on their efforts. Following certification, fleets also receive a report including custom solutions on how to further their environmental efforts

    Certified Green Fleets receive unique education opportunities, grant funding assistance, and vendors offering advanced fuel and vehicle technologies. Additionally, fleets also receive a custom public relations kit to help promote their fleet's environmental achievements.

    Enrolling is simple, free, and has no obligations. Any Louisiana fleet that wishes to apply must submit certain baseline data as well as data on specific efficiency and alternative fuel technologies deployed in their fleet operations. The Louisiana Green Fleets program utilizes its own variation of the U.S. Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory’s Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) Tool.  The AFLEET-based model is used to subtract the “actual” emissions of the candidate fleet’s conventional- and alternative-fuel fleet from the “expected” emissions of the candidate’s fleet if it were only composed of conventional-fuel vehicles to calculate net emissions savings.

    The 2021 enrollment period for Louisiana Green Fleets is open now and will close on March 1, 2021. To enroll, please email [email protected] to get started. Visit louisianagreenfleets.weebly.com for more information.

    For more information:

    LCF: Victoria Herrmann, Communications Coordinator | [email protected] | 225-342-7972

    SLCFP: Stephanie Steele, Communications & Outreach | [email protected] | 504-483-8522

    ###

    About Clean Cities: As part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), Clean Cities coalitions foster the nation's economic, environmental, and energy security by working locally to advance affordable, domestic transportation fuels, energy efficient mobility systems, and other fuel-saving technologies and practices. Since beginning in 1993, Clean Cities coalitions have achieved a cumulative impact in energy use equal to nearly 8 billion gasoline gallon equivalents through the implementation of diverse transportation projects. More information is available at www.cleancities.energy.gov.

    About Louisiana Clean Fuels:   Louisiana Clean Fuels is a US Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalition, supported by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and member organizations. The mission of LCF is to advance the nation’s environmental, economic, and energy security by supporting local actions to diversify transportation fuel options. LCF provides technical support, education, and funding assistance to both public and private fleets who wish to implement clean transportation projects.The LCF territory covers all of Louisiana with the exception of the 8 parishes in the SLCFP territory. More information is available at www.louisianacleanfuels.org.

    About Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership: SLCFP provides education, technical assistance, funding information and other services to help vehicle fleet managers and personnel incorporate cleaner transportation options into their operations. SLCFP is supported by the Louisiana Dept. of Natural Resources’ Technology Assessment Division and is housed at the Regional Planning Commission serving Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa parishes.


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    Fourteen States combine efforts to “DRIVE Electric USA”

    Accelerating the Adoption of Electric Vehicles

    DRIVE Electric USA will fully develop 14 state-based “Drive Electric” programs that will engage individuals, utilities, legislators, dealerships and others towards removing adoption barriers and accelerating plug-in electric vehicle use in our states.

    Louisiana Clean Fuels is proud to be a part of the DRIVE Electric USA project funded by the US Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office. The project is running from October 2020 through December 2023 and is comprised of a group of diverse stakeholders, including Clean Cities Coalitions from fourteen states, electric vehicle and EVSE OEMs, and other committed partners who are dedicated to raising awareness and adoption of EVs across the United States. We will use our states as great and dissimilar examples of how to successfully build statewide, successful EV efforts to drive the purchase and use of EVs of all sizes and by general citizens and fleets.

    DRIVE Electric Participating States

    In order to accomplish this goal, project leaders and implementers will educate consumers, utilities, utility regulators, and government officials while engaging auto dealers and fleet leaders, conducting EV infrastructure planning, and developing local EV chapters. All of this will occur under the banner of each branded, statewide EV initiative which will be guided by that state’s stakeholders; Louisiana's branch of this project is called DRIVE Electric Louisiana. Additionally, a 28-member Project Advisory Committee (PAC) will provide input and guide the coalitions and their statewide efforts to break down barriers as quickly as we can towards accelerating EV adoption in our states.

    In addition to accelerating EV adoption, the project will advance state-of-the-art, innovative approaches to reduce interrelated EV market barriers and plans to create a “Replication Playbook” that other states can utilize to further their own initiatives. The activities, outputs and outcomes in the project are built on seven “Priority Areas” of focused work:

    1. Create and strengthen branded, statewide “Drive Electric” programs in each state, and build capacity into those programs through funded time
    2. Educate consumers by developing multiple, local EV “chapters” in all states
    3. Directly engage and educate all of our utilities and regulators
    4. Advance infrastructure in all states via statewide corridor, regional and community EVSE planning, including a focus on limited-income communities
    5. Educate state and local government officials about EV policy best practices
    6. Engage dealerships & OEMS to develop state-based, preferred EV dealer programs including light-duty and medium/heavy-duty OEMs
    7. Significantly increase fleet EV adoption across many types of fleets and sizes of vehicles

    The team’s goals are anchored in creating or strengthening state-based EV initiatives in the following 14 states (after each state, the Clean Cities Program that is leading that state’s efforts are listed):

    1. AlabamaAlabama Clean Fuels Coalition
    2. ColoradoDenver Metro Clean Cities Coalition
    3. FloridaCentral Florida Clean Cities Coalition
    4. GeorgiaClean Cities-Georgia
    5. KansasKansas City Regional Clean Cities
    6. LouisianaLouisiana Clean Fuels
    7. MissouriSt. Louis Clean Cities
    8. North CarolinaTriangle Clean Cities
    9. OhioClean Fuels Ohio
    10. PennsylvaniaEastern Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Transportation
    11. TennesseeEast Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition
    12. UtahUtah Clean Cities
    13. VirginiaVirginia Clean Cities
    14. WisconsinWisconsin Clean Cities

    Learn more at www.driveelectricusa.org. More information about DRIVE Electric Louisiana is coming soon.


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