Location: Raleigh, NC
Fleet Type: Light-duty Electric Vehicles

 

Narrative

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina, and at the 2023 Government Fleet Expo and Conference, the American Public Works Association and Government Fleet Magazine awarded the City’s Vehicle Fleet Services the designation of Number One Fleet in the Nation. Raleigh has been a leader in accommodating the growth of EVs by being one of only three cities in the nation to pilot EV charging in 2009 as part of Project Get Ready, convening an interdepartmental team to streamline permitting and installation processes for charging stations, and presenting on lessons learned and best practices. 

The City has embraced the transition away from petroleum diesel fuel to renewable fuels in the fleet to have internal combustion engines with lower greenhouse gas emissions, and it has focused on electrifying the municipal fleet. As of May 2023, the City had 360 hybrid vehicles and 52 electric vehicles in its fleet.

The City hired an outside consulting firm to develop an Electric Vehicle (EV) Implementation Rollout which will provide the roadmap for Raleigh’s fleet transition to EVs over the next 10 years.  The Rollout includes recommendations for alternatives to internal combustion engines, charging infrastructure and software, vehicle user training, and equitable access to charging for the community.  Transitioning to electric vehicles is one of the top strategies identified to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation in Raleigh’s Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP).  The EV Implementation Rollout aligns with Raleigh’s CCAP goals to decrease GHG emissions, address equity and access, and to reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs.

Raleigh continues to refresh the Rollout with new fleet data and available options for replacing vehicles with either battery electric or plug-in hybrid EVs and reviews current market conditions for new vehicles. The City determines the life cycle of a vehicle based on an algorithm that includes the age of the asset, mileage, and maintenance costs. The plan includes recommendations for cars, light-, medium-, and heavy-duty trucks. The October 2023 EV Implementation Rollout identified options to have 94 percent of fleet vehicles as EVs within a decade.

Salaries and benefits are the most significant portion of the fleet maintenance budget. There are currently 78 full-time equivalent employees in fleet maintenance. As fleet vehicles transition to EVs, there is an expectation of decreased demand in fleet maintenance.

Quick Facts

  • Raleigh has 4,700 assets in the fleet, 2,200 are on-road street legal.
  • The roadmap of the EV Implementation Rollout presents the replacement of 2,014 vehicles. Vehicles not listed for replacement are heavy-duty or light-duty vehicles with four-wheel drive that do not have an EV equivalent.
  • Projections of financial savings are based on net present value of 2023. Over 24 years, the investment is estimated to be $19.8 million in 2024, resulting in net savings of $27 million and the elimination of 247,806 metric tons of CO2
  • By applying for and receiving grants from the Diesel Engine Reduction Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, initial investments could be reduced by $5.7 million.
  • Based on the EVs replacing internal combustion engines, the estimated need for charging infrastructure is one charger per vehicle, including 45 DC Fast Chargers.

Outputs & Outcomes

Outputs:

Examples of Raleigh’s existing changes include replacing four 2018 Ford F150 trucks with four 2023 Ford Lightning Trucks that are fully electric. Additionally, four 2018 Ford Rangers were replaced with four 2023 Ford Mavericks, which are hybrid electric vehicles.

Outcomes:

The eight replacement vehicles are new to the fleet, and there isn’t a full year of data for review. However, Raleigh has calculated the total expected emissions reductions for the year knowing that both the Ford F150s and the Ford Rangers averaged 16,000 miles per year.

Raleigh is considering total greenhouse gas emissions and not just tailpipe emissions. The four Ford Lightnings are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20.4 tons annually, from 36.29 tons produced by the four F150s compared to the 15.84 tons of greenhouse gases of the Lightnings.

The four Ford Mavericks are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11.28 tons annually, from 15.78 tons produced by the four Ford Rangers compared to the 4.57 tons of greenhouse gases of the Mavericks.

Extrapolated over five years, Raleigh calculates that in addition to eliminating oil changes in the Lightnings and a reduction in overall fuel cost, the total greenhouse gas reductions will be 158 tons.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Raleigh recognizes that there must be a vision to direct the transition to a clean fleet. Through the development of the EV Implementation Rollout, the City has been able to quantify the outcomes of the many opportunities. The Rollout demonstrates the long-term financial and emissions savings of having an aggressive fleet replacement compared to business as usual. The primary lesson learned is to regularly update plans to have accurate savings estimates and knowledge of EVs on the market that are comparable replacements for internal combustion engines. Additionally, the City continues to consider equity as it reviews the recommendations for vehicle replacements based on locations used and access to charging station infrastructure installations.

References

City of Raleigh, North Carolina. (2023. September 22.) Transportation Electrification. https://raleighnc.gov/climate-action-and-sustainability/services/transportation-electrification

City of Raleigh, North Carolina. (2023. October 4.) Community Climate Action Plan. https://raleighnc.gov/climate-action-and-sustainability/services/community-climate-action-plan#paragraph–359893

City of Raleigh, North Carolina. (2023. May 24.) Raleigh’s Vehicle Fleet Ranked Number 1 in Nation! https://raleighnc.gov/transportation/news/raleighs-vehicle-fleet-ranked-number-1-nation

RMI (2009). Project Get Ready: Menu for Community Plug-in Readiness. https://rmi.org/insight/project-get-ready-menu-for-community-plug-in-readiness/

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Raleigh Fleet Story

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