Location: Charlotte, NC
Fleet Type: Light, Medium, and Heavy-duty Electric Vehicles

 

Narrative

Charlotte is the most populous city in North Carolina, and in June 2018, the City Council passed the Sustainable and Resilient Charlotte by 2050 resolution. The City is aggressive in setting targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and staff collaborated with the public to develop the Strategic Energy Action Plan, which includes an online dashboard for the public to view progress toward the goals. A component of the emissions reduction goals is to fuel the City fleet with 100% zero-carbon sources by 2030 and to be a low-carbon city by 2050.

The City was an early adopter of sustainable fleet options and introduced hybrids to the fleet in 2011. The fleet includes light-, medium-, and heavy-duty EVs. EVs are not housed in a single location, and each department has access to an EV through the motor pool. In 2022, all-electric Ford Mustangs and Ford F-150 Lightnings were added. As of November 2023, the Charlotte Fire Department administrative staff has access to at least five EVs, and an electric fire truck has been acquired but has not yet been deployed. Additionally, the City is reviewing procurement opportunities for Teslas, which have performed well in other municipalities in NC and were added to the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association cooperative purchasing program in 2023.

The City has 193 EV charging stations across Charlotte to charge the fleet. Some charging stations are reserved for fleet use, and others are available for public use. There are 93 Level 2 chargers and two Level 3 chargers. Workplace charging is available to employees. Charlotte partners with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) to provide safety training to vehicle maintenance technicians.

The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition considers Charlotte a champion, helping other municipalities and the public explore EVs. They have participated in multiple Ride & Drive events and EV Expos. The City has added innovative, equity-focused curbside charging using chargers that connect to streetlights for an overhead electrical source through the PoleVolt pilot. It is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technology Office. It is a public-private partnership with The University of North Carolina Charlotte Campus, Duke Energy and The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition at the Centralina Council of Governments. Additionally, the City launched another pilot program focused on providing access to EVs in underserved communities through an EV carshare program available to residents and staff in five affordable housing developments to have an introductory ride-and-drive experience and access to the EVs for hourly or daily fees. Forth Mobility manages the program. It is a public-private partnership with Charlotte, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Centralina Regional Council of Governments and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Outputs & Outcomes

Outputs:

Charlotte has invested time and financial resources in developing the Strategic Energy Action Plan, which establishes a baseline, targets, and resulted in creating an online dashboard for monitoring progress. Choosing alternative-fueled vehicles is part of the plan to achieve those targets. The City of Charlotte’s fleet has 3,554 vehicles, including purchasing 52 Plug-in Hybrids, 83 all-electric vehicles, and one electric street sweeper.

Outcomes:

There are more EVs in the municipal fleet, and each department can access an EV through the motor pool. By FY24Q2, Charlotte’s EVs have driven more than 261,000 miles. Fleet EVs have reduced 59.8 tons of CO2 emissions and lowered fuel costs by $18,800 compared to the internal combustion engine equivalent.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Having a charging plan to meet the charging requirements as the fleet expands and that there are multiple opportunities to secure funds to assist in purchasing EVs and charging infrastructure that can extend beyond the municipal fleet to equity-focused programs.

References

To find more information and view the Sustainable Energy Action Plan, visit the City of Charlotte’s Office of Sustainability and Resilience website at https://www.charlottenc.gov/City-Government/Initiatives-and-Involvement/The-Office-of-Sustainability-and-Resilience.

To learn more about the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association cooperative bid program, visit https://ncsheriffs.org/procurement.

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Charlotte Fleet Story

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