Whether a city - or other taxpayer-funded entity such as a park or school district - leases or owns vehicles, or contracts for vehicle services such as road grading, planned city fleet actions can cut costs per taxpayer and cut total mobility costs and carbon emissions per employee. Additionally, the phasing in of electric city vehicles helps prepare the city for adding public charging stations, and raises awareness among community members of the benefits of EVs.
The state agency goal for reducing state fleet consumption of fossil fuels is 30% by 2027 relative to a 2017 baseline. A 5% annual reduction in city fleet fossil fuel consumption is consistent with this state agency operations goal. City fleets are encouraged to adopt this 5% goal and may, by late 2019, be able to benefit from implementation tools being developed for state agencies by the Minnesota Office of Enterprise Sustainability.
Electric vehicles have several advantages over vehicles with internal combustion engines. Most impressively EVs convert 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels; conventional gasoline vehicles convert only 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels. With battery prices coming down, Drive Electric MN reports that EVs are already among the lowest total cost of ownership vehicles in the passenger car market and will continue to become more affordable for the average consumer and city fleet user. Electric buses now have a lower total cost of ownership over the life of the bus, thanks to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance cost savings. And this is taxpayers money saved even before considering the public health and environmental benefits. With 70% of all drivers in the U.S. driving, on average, less than 60 miles/day, most EVs on the market today easily handle the majority of people's travel needs. Ongoing life-cycle research on EVs is dispelling various myths about oil vs. coal pollution, total transport energy, battery recycling, total costs, and other issues (AutoVolo: 2018). For example, higher emissions from the manufacture of electric vehicles are 'paid off' after only 2 years compared to driving an average conventional vehicle, a time frame that drops to about 1.5 years if the car is charged using renewable energy (International Council on Clean Transportation: 2018). Read more detail on how electric cars work and the benefits of EV/hybrid technologies.
A city fleet study to assess the cost/benefits of phasing in EVs typically includes telematics -- gathering vehicle data on average miles/day, average MPG, average engine on hours/day, percent idle time, average speed -- to identify, by calculating total cost savings over a vehicle's use life, the best existing vehicles to replace with electric vehicles.