Electric Vehicle Fleet Adoption

EVFleetTransition:WhattoConsider

April 5th, 2021

Post by Donna Marbury, Smart Columbus Storyteller

Setting a goal to help organizations convert standard fleet vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) takes time, strategy and education.

Smart Columbus has a goal of working with central Ohio public, private and academic partners to place 850 EVs into operation in public and private fleets by the end of the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies grant period in 2020. Smart Columbus has a goal to deploy 300 vehicles in public sector fleets, and the City of Columbus, The Ohio State University, the City of Dublin and Franklin County were early partners to raise their hands. We are also seeing to place at least 450 electric vehicles into operation in private fleets.

In September 2016, the Smart Columbus team met with the Electrification Coalition to discuss the strategies and potential challenges to electrifying fleet vehicles. The presentation from the Electrification Coalition focused on different types of fleets from municipal to corporate, infrastructure options, and suggested training and outreach efforts. Additionally, the session discussed procurement cycles, timelines and “EV Suitability” assessment tools for specific vehicles, to help a create a formal fleet transition plan and explore any existing or perceived procurement and purchasing barriers.

Planning is a crucial part of the EV fleet strategy, and fleet adoption plans should account for the political and organizational buy-in and the financial and budgetary concerns that an organization faces before they can make a commitment to buy EVs. Some key aspects of helping an organization understand the transition to EVs in their fleets include:

Pre-Deployment Fleet Evaluation
Helping organizations identify vehicles that are good candidates for EV replacement
and determining cost-effective ways to deploy and maintain an EV fleet. The presentation shows how the Electrification Coalition evaluated the City of Columbus’ current fleet and made recommendations on EV replacements.

Fleet Telematics
Drive-cycle data can help organizations understand how routes, times and parking locations can affect EV range needs and the rollout of the program. But, cost can be a challenge, as data tracking can be an expensive option for many organizations.

Fleet Transition Plan
A formal EV deployment plan can include how to advise organizations to spread EV purchases over a span of years. The plan can help fleet management and other decision makers determine the fiscal impact of an EV deployment in each year and establish plans for subsequent years.

Incorporating EVs Into the Existing Fleet
After an organization makes the decision to purchase EVs for its fleet, it’s important to create vehicle utilization, employee outreach and education, and policy development plans to monitor the progress and set goals for the EVs.

Other Resources:

Real World Results: Electrify Atlanta


A presentation from Electrify Atlanta details the challenges, successes and lessons learned from its EV Pilot Program that resulted in 60 EVs deployed across 13 departments. The strategy included eight EV charging stations and driver training. 

Funding Avenues: Quantified Ventures 

Quantified Ventures, an impact investing advisory firm, discusses why environmental impact bonds could finance public EV fleets.

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