Location: Murray, UT Fleet Type: Electric Light Fleet and EVSE Infrastructure
In 2018, the Salt Lake County Health Department’s Environmental Health Division partnered with Utah Clean Cities, Murray City Power, and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Their mission extended beyond routine operations. They aimed to secure the State of Utah Volkswagen Settlement 2018 Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Grant. Their unwavering commitment bore fruit in 2019 when $603,095 was awarded to reimagine the Environmental Health Facility on 788 Woodoak Ln, Murray, UT 84107. This marked the dawn of a transformational endeavor. Salt Lake County Environmental Health Department’s journey is a beacon, illustrating how collaboration, vision, and innovative programs can pave the way to a greener, brighter future.
Eric Peterson, Deputy Director, Salt Lake County Environmental Health Department was a driving force behind this initiative. Peterson enthusiastically expressed, “This project underscores the power of collaboration and innovation within the public sector… for the public. Our commitment revolves around safeguarding community health, and given the ongoing air quality challenges faced by the largest county in the state, this effort has profound significance for our agency. As we successfully modernized and upgraded facilities, we also became a central gathering place for all EV drivers, including our own fleet program and the community at large. We are all seeing so many positive benefits. Access to free charging aligns with our mission and holds promise for lasting improvements in air quality. We’re catalysts for change, and this endeavor resonates deeply with our mission.”
Outputs and Outcomes
Environmental Health: Operating at the heart of an EPA nonattainment zone, this facility’s strategic centrality gained unparalleled importance. Its proximity to key local highways and the I-15 interstate made it a beacon of change. Rooted in the agency’s mission to “promote and protect community and environmental health,” the project extended beyond fleet electrification. The vision was to offer free public EV charging, laying the foundations for community adoption.
Grant-Fueled Evolution: The project culminated in January 2020, signifying a pivotal shift. The infrastructure received a boost, with a new power transformer, cables, and conduits dedicated exclusively to EV charging. A staggering 800 amps of power was harnessed. The installation comprised eight Level II chargers and two rapid DC chargers. A fleet transformation was underway, with ten all-electric Chevy Bolts leading the charge. This translated to an annual reduction of 2,398 gallons of gasoline and 19.3 tons of CO2 emissions, as underlined in the UCC 2022 Annual Report.
Community Hub & Innovation: Beyond the metrics lay the magic of the parking lot, now animated with EV drivers. Employees and community members embraced the free DC Fast Charging, especially pivotal for those in charging-scarce areas like Multifamily Dwelling units. A vibrant tapestry of emission-free vehicles unfurled, amplifying the department’s commitment to a cleaner, healthier future.
Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program (VRRAP): Deepening their commitment, the Environmental Health Department pioneered the innovative Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program (VRRAP). This program provided vital financial aid to low-income vehicle owners whose cars failed emission tests. Those eligible were presented with a choice: receive financial support for repairs (applicable to vehicles of model year 2004 or newer) or embrace a greener option by replacing their older vehicle (model year 2003 or older) with a newer, cleaner model.
Best Practices & Lessons Learned
Guided by this triumphant journey, those charting the electrification path can draw inspiration from this public-benefitting project:
Infrastructure Leap: Confront infrastructure needs for modernization, capacity and upgrade systems to accommodate surging EV needs.
Leadership Champions: Rally visionary leaders across department lines to champion electrification’s cause and garner steadfast support for innovation in fleet management technologies.
Cutting-Edge Tech: Leverage innovative EV technologies to drive sustainability and employee safety, demonstrate EV range confidence and driver satisfaction.
Mission Integration: Showcase electrification as a core fleet mission, winning support from all corners of the room from administration to drivers.
Community Embrace: Provide accessible EV charging to ignite broad EV adoption and community use, improving equity for those who want to drive electric vehicles and who may lack the opportunity to charge at home or work.
Comprehensive EJ40 Impact: Introduce innovative programs like VRRAP, addressing multiple aspects of environmental health, uplift underserved populations that lack resources to drive vehicles that can pass emissions testing.