Municipal fleets are saving money by using electric vehicles, and the Electrification Coalition has the numbers to prove it. Houston, TX, for example, expects to save $110,000 a year by bringing in 27 Nissan Leafs, according to the EC study.The organization also found that using Leafs in the city fleet in Loveland, CO, will save 41 percent compared to owning and operating gasoline-powered cars.

What started out as meeting environmental benefits has also bring cost savings to Houston's fleet, said Laura Spanijan, director of sustainability at the City of Houston. The forecasted savings are expected to come from reduced fuel and maintenance costs compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. The city's FleetShare program, developed with Zipcar, makes a network of 50 EVs, plug-in hybrids and hybrids easy to access for Houston city employees. Employees can reserve green cars available in the fleet pool at seven locations and the program handles about 600 reservations a month.

Loveland has found EVs to be a solution to rising fuel costs, says Mayor Cecil Gutierrez. The 41-percent savings have offered a notable boost during tough economic times, and the city is now going to convert all of its light-duty vehicles that don't need to drive long distances to EVs, Gutierrez said. The program has helped Loveland employees quickly overcome their reservations about EVs.

You can read more about what the cities gained with their EV switch in the case studies on the City of Loveland and the City of Houston, respectively, and from reading the press release below.
Electric Vehicles Help Houston Save $110,000 Annually, New Study Finds

Loveland, Colo. also benefiting from municipal use of electric vehicles
Washington, D.C.-Cities are saving money by using electric vehicles (EVs) in their vehicle fleets, two new studies find. City officials in Houston, Texas, estimate that the city's 27 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles will save the city $110,000 annually compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. A similar study examining Loveland, Colo. found that the city's LEAFs will cost 41 percent less to own and operate than gasoline-powered vehicles.

"Houston first began using electric vehicles for the environmental benefits they offer, but now we are planning to add even more EVs to our fleet because of the cost savings they bring," said Laura Spanjian, director of sustainability for the City of Houston. "We project that electric vehicles will save the city $110,000 per year in reduced fuel and maintenance, costs that we would otherwise have to spend on gas-powered vehicles. Also, our new car sharing program FleetShare, which we developed with ZipCar, provides easy access to the vehicles for Houston's employees."

Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez also said that using electric vehicles saves his city money.

"Loveland needed to do something about rising fuel costs, and electric vehicles have proven to be a great solution, saving us about 41 percent overall compared to gas-powered vehicles," Gutierrez said. "In tough economic times, these savings cannot be ignored. Loveland is now aiming to convert all of its light-duty fleet vehicles that work within a close distance of the city to EVs."

Cities across the country are adding electric vehicles to their fleets in order to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits. The two new case studies released today by the Electrification Coalition-"The City of Houston: Forward Thinking on Electrification," and "The City of Loveland: Marrying Functionality and Economics"-offer new insight into the benefits of municipal fleet electrification as well as best practices and lessons-learned.

"After only three years on the market, electric vehicles are already proving themselves as smart economic choices for municipal and commercial vehicle fleets," said Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of the Electrification Coalition. "Fleets are leading the way to widespread adoption of EVs, which is crucial for protecting our nation from the economic and national security threats posed by oil dependence."

Additional findings of the new studies include:

Houston: Centralizing management of capital and operational expenditures under one office was crucial in capturing "total cost of ownership" savings.
Houston: The city also made it easier for its employees to use electric and other green vehicles by implementing an innovative car sharing reservation program. The city equipped 50 EV, PHEV and HEV vehicles with Zipcar's Fast Fleet wireless technology, enabling employees to reserve available vehicles in the fleet pool. The program has seven locations and handles nearly 600 reservations per month.
Houston: Charging infrastructure is a key piece of the city's electric vehicle FleetShare strategy. To date, the city has installed 77 level two (220v) and 32 level one (110v) charging stations throughout the City.
Loveland: Initial employee skepticism was quickly overcome-usually in one use-by the vehicle's better-than-perceived reliability, performance, and range. Repeat usage by employees is very high.
Loveland: The city has plans to incorporate four more EVs into its fleet by the end of 2014.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      With the right batteries in the car, you could save a hell of a lot of money versus buying a car with an internal combustion engine. There are some batteries which can do 10,000 cycles. If each cycle provides 75 miles of range on average, then you're getting 750,000 miles out of that battery. Some formulations by A123 are a good example. That very well may outlast the car's chassis itself. Even if said car costs $40,000, it basically pays for itself twice. Buying a car and expecting it's batteries to really last that long is what i think a lot of people are uneasy about making the investment.
      JB
      • 1 Year Ago
      No duh.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      An average garbage truck travels 25,000 miles annually, gets less than 3 miles per gallon, and uses approximately 8,600 gallons of fuel each year. if diesel costs $4 per gallon that's $34,000 per year for fuel. Over 40% of garbage trucks are over 10 years old, making it the oldest fleet in the US. The average diesel-powered garbage truck costs over $170,000 and is not retired for 12 years. That makes the lifetime cost of the vehicle & fuel $578,000, with brake jobs, oil changes, muffler repair and other ice engine repairs the total is probably close to $600k. So the average distance traveled on a daily workday is around 100 miles. If you could switch to an electric garbage truck with a reliable range of 150miles at neighborhood speeds - which electric vehicles are good at doing. Lets say around 4 leaf battery packs(cost 10-15k per battery) with 96kWh of juice - approx cost of $60k, so the vehicle would cost a little more up front, $230k, but electricity would only cost about $2,500 per year at 12 cents per kWh - less if charged at night at industrial electrical rates. So the total 12 year cost would be around $280k. Add another $60k to replace the battery after 6 years and you would still end up saving hundreds of thousands of dollars just on one truck. Also if garbage collection is cheaper then that makes recycling programs easier to justify because running extra trucks over the same route will cost less then the value of the collected materials.
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        A new company that is making electric garbage trucks validates most of what I said above: http://www.motivps.com/technology.php
      Ele Truk
      • 1 Year Ago
      City of Seattle bought 35 Nissan Leafs a couple years ago. It would be nice to get a report from them on how the program is working out for them.
        Nick Kordich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ele Truk
        They have only been in service about a year, but that would be a good point at which to get a review. The most recent information I found from the utility is a review of 2012 charging habits (which was not specific to the city's fleet): http://www.seattle.gov/light/news/issues/irp/docs/appendix3_impactofelectricvehicles.pdf Autoblog, if you'd like to follow up on Ele Truk's excellent idea for a story, you can contact City Light's Electric Transportation Project Manager via the information here: http://www.seattle.gov/light/electricvehicles/
      mycommentemail
      • 1 Year Ago
      While fleet operations are slightly different than personal use cases, I think this is a fantastic way to reinforce the fact that EV's, while having a generally higher initial price tag, are very beneficial to the pocket book over (a not so long) time.
        JoeP
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mycommentemail
        Especially if you use solar power to charge it up. Then the solar payback (compared to gas) is 3-5 years, depending on where you live and how much you drive.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      The concept of Houston, Texas becoming an EV Mecca is hilarious.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        IIRC, Texas is #1 for generated wind power and pretty high on the list for solar power too.
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Houston is actually working to expand their light rail system. Meanwhile the light rail system in Austin is not being expanded and area traffic is projected to get much worse.
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Year Ago
      I know that EVs sometimes save money for the average consumer too. You must analyze your usage and determine if the payback is there, but there are numerous cases where savings can be had. It's just a shame that this determination is not as easy as watching a TV commercial that implies you will have great luck with women if you own the particular vehicle that is being advertised, or that you need a hemi because a couple of redneck lookin dudes would think you were cool, or because it would be patriotic of you to buy the car that the US company builds in mexico.
        Ele Truk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        You might have better luck with women if you have a car that allows you to spend more money on them. However that point might be moot if you pick them up in a Nissan Leaf, it doesn't exactly speak sexy.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ele Truk
          If you need a car to get a woman...YOU have a problem.. :-))
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