Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Fleet Type: Public Fleet



The City of Cape Canaveral was one of the original stakeholders of the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, then known as the Space Coast Clean Cities Coalition. The city is located at the southernmost entrance to the Kennedy Space Center, and has had a front seat at rocket and shuttle launches for decades. That would include the SpaceX launch that hurled Elon Musk’s Tesla into orbit, where it has remained for five years, circling the sun. Not to be outdone, the city has launched its own sustainable transportation mission to transition its vehicle fleet to cleaner, alternative fueled vehicles. The goal is to lower fuel costs, emissions and increase fuel efficiency in times of disaster where fuel supplies may be inaccessible.

In recent years, the City of Cape Canaveral has been heavily investing in the procurement of BEVs, HEVs, and PHEVs and their accompanying infrastructure due to their ability to reduce traditional fuel and maintenance costs while reducing or even eliminating tailpipe emissions. According to the city’s 2021 Resiliency Action Plan, the staff is working to convert 100% of the city’s vehicle fleet to low or zero emissions AFVs by 2035. In 2021, each of the city’s fleet vehicles were upgraded to include a telematics system, allowing the city’s fleet supervisor to monitor vehicle telemetry in real-time. The city uses it to help track fuel use per vehicle, location, maintenance issues, emissions, and to trigger an alert should there be a collision. This system will allow for more efficient fleet operations by quickly identifying fuel waste, poor driving habits, and vehicle maintenance needs.

Outputs and Outcomes

The city is well on its way to achieving its goal, with 30% of its current automotive fleet considered to be AFVs. The city now has eight HEVs within its fleet, the first of which was acquired in 2019. Six of these HEVs are Toyota RAV4 SUVs that get 41 miles per gallon in city driving conditions. Four belong to the Public Works Services Department and two to the Community and Economic Development Department. These vehicles operate on their batteries while idling or at low speeds if there is sufficient charge. Due to the frequent stop-start nature of city fleet vehicles, regenerative braking is often engaged, so each vehicle’s onboard batteries are usually fully charged on journeys around the community. The other two HEVs are both Ford F-150 SuperCab 4×4 pickup trucks, with one belonging to the Community and Economic Development Department and the other to the Parks, Recreation and Community Affairs Department. It is anticipated that the city’s HEVs will help save thousands of dollars in fuel costs and tons of greenhouse gas emissions over their lifespans when compared over the equivalent mileage to comparable all-gas vehicles. To date, the city’s fleet contains two BEVs. One is an all-electric Ford Focus acquired in 2017, and the other is a 2021 all-electric Nissan Leaf. Used by the Community and Economic Development and Public Works Services Departments respectively, each of these vehicles produce zero operational emissions. As with the city’s HEVs, it is estimated these and future BEVs will incur significant costs and emissions savings.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Together these vehicles are projected to save the city thousands of dollars in fuel costs over their operational lifespans, when compared to the equivalent mileage of their all-gas versions. Additional electrified vehicles will be added to the fleet where appropriate and feasible as older vehicles are retired. By the end of 2021, 25% of the city’s fleet was electrified. Next year, the city intends to take delivery of its first ever hybrid pickup trucks. According to the city’s 2021 Resiliency Action Plan, the city will convert all of its fleet vehicles to alternative fueled vehicles by 2036.

The city currently has six public level-2 electric vehicle universal charging stations (with 12 total charging ports) that are available free to residents and visitors. Locations include the Cape Canaveral Library (two ports), Cape Canaveral City Hall (six ports), Manatee Sanctuary Park (two ports), and Banana River Park (two ports). Another dual plug charging station is also set to be installed at the recently opened City of Cape Canaveral Community Center. The city’s existing set of charging stations are soon to be replaced with pay to use smart stations that allow for real-time monitoring, maintenance awareness, and efficient load management of recharging vehicles. Existing stations will not go to waste, however, as these will likely be repurposed for fleet-specific charging needs, in order to accommodate an expected increase in the number of fully electrified fleet vehicles.

The city is leading by example, and influencing similar actions by private property owners. For example, a 420-space cruise parking facility recently built in the city, employed sustainable construction practices with a porous parking surface that allows rainwater to percolate into the ground below. The property’s owners worked closely with city staff to ensure that the community’s resilience goals and environmental standards were not only met but exceeded, including the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and native Florida landscaping.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Zach Eichholz, Chief Resilience Manager, City of Cape Canaveral, for his input and participation in Clean Cities. Special recognition to former Mayor Rocky Randels for his decades of support of the Space Coast/Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition.

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Cape Canaveral Fleet Story

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