Location: Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities
Fleet Type: Government Light-duty Electric Vehicles

 

Narrative

The Pittsburgh Coalition (PRCC) began working with the Allegheny County and its Office of Sustainability Deputy Director in 2019  Sustainability | Leadership | Allegheny County  to consider multiple alternative fuels. The county had been developing plans around securing several different kinds of alt-fuel vehicles including light-duty CNG vehicles, propane and electric vehicles including hybrids. At the beginning of 2013, they acquired their first two CNG pickups for their public works department. This came after the Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities had loaned the County Executive a CNG Honda Civic that they had on loan from Honda. The county Executive drove it around to meetings with other counties to introduce them to alternative fuels. In the past two years the county has now started to begin looking more carefully at acquiring light-duty (LD) electric vehicles (EVs) and they had reached out to us since we had a state grant to install 48 chargers in southwestern Pennsylvania.

In 2021 the Allegheny County was the first law enforcement agency to acquire a Ford Mache for their Sherrif’s Department,  Allegheny County Sheriffs Office Unveils First All-Electric Vehicle In Pennsylvania – CBS Pittsburgh (cbsnews.com)  

 and is planning to acquire additional electric vehicles for their fleet.  Now the county has purchased 12 hybrid vehicles, two Fords F-150 Lightnings and 4 Chevy Bolts.  Since then, they have installed chargers at several locations throughout the county to service these electric vehicles. The Chevy Bolts are used by the staff to travel between sites and other meetings, the Ford F-150 Lightnings are used by the County Police and the Park Rangers.

The Office of Sustainability coordinates with county departments to reduce the county’s impact on air quality. This includes transitioning the county’s fleet and heavy equipment to alternative fuels, which reduces air pollution.  2022 Sustainability Report (flippingbook.com)

The County’s electric fleet has grown to 13 vehicles, replacing older and inefficient gasoline models. This includes the new 4 electric trucks in 2022, 4 employee pool vehicles and the electric mustang purchased by the Sheriff’s Office in 2021, as well as our original 4 electric pool vehicles purchased in 2020. 

They continue to install charging stations for fleet vehicles throughout county facilities for ease of use and access for county employees. Today, we have five charging stations for electric vehicles, with plans for additional stations in 2023. 

The Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities works with the Deputy Director of the Office of Sustainability to see what vehicles in their fleet best fit the vehicles available and where to install chargers for ease of service.

Their vision, rooted in community-based collaboration, has led to improvements in air quality, investments in our parks and waterways, restoration of the tree canopy, and transitions to alternative fuel vehicles. With each step, Allegheny County is committed to leading the region in identifying and showcasing best practices to advance sustainability initiatives. It has led the way in testing new technologies and advancing sensible sustainability solutions that collectively move the region towards long-term prosperity.

Central to this goal is prioritizing realistic sustainability achievements based on cost-effectiveness and day-to-day operational improvements. The county has more than two million square feet of office space, which presents opportunities to reduce energy consumption and adopt proper waste management practices. As the county makes internal efficiency updates, it remains committed to serving as a model for residents, stakeholders, and other communities.

Currently, the county’s alternative fuels fleet includes 13 electric vehicles, 16 hybrid vehicles, 6 running on compressed natural gas; 64 using E-85 flex fuel, 2 propane-gasoline dual fuel vehicles, and several cleaner diesel trucks. All of these fuel types reduce air pollution and overall tail pipe emissions.  

Outputs & Outcomes

The outputs from the county’s efforts are numerous but clearly include a ramping up of EV purchases, as well as the creation  However, the County has produced Sustainability Practices | Sustainability | Allegheny County for citizens to learn about EVs on their website which gives community citizens easy access to know what is going on in their county with cleaner-vehicle planning. Another outcome was an educational event that they county has held at some of their parks to keep the county residents knowledgeable about electric vehicles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kzc7y0Pf7Ys.

The outcomes from this work span several layers:

  1. The GHG emission reductions from each LD vehicle replaced with an EV in the county.
  2. It helps the county and community make inroads toward the developed climate impact reduction goals. 
  3. More community citizens and visitors to the area see EVs at work around the county. 
  4. The county and the local EV chapter (Three Rivers Electric Vehicle Association) work together more on publicizing information about EVs, which in turn educates more citizens about the benefits of EVs while breaking through perceived barriers in the minds of potential EV owners.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Having been a part of some of this work and helping the county’s efforts, it boils down to a) having a good team to work collectively on the mission, b) setting clear goals, and c) selecting your working partners carefully. It is not uncommon for cities and their sustainability offices to have limited experience with EVs and EVSE (EV chargers), so learning along the way is part of the process. 

Allegheny County gets cut of $2.1 million in state grants for electric vehicles | 90.5 WESA

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 Allegheny County Fleet Story

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