Location: Madison, WI

Fleet Type: Municipal

 

Narrative

The City of Madison is the largest and most diverse electric vehicle fleet in the state of Wisconsin. Of their approximately 1,400 fleet vehicles, Madison operates more than 120 EVs with more on the way. The city has 40 more EVs on order including three Class 8 electric refuse trucks – two Mack trucks and one Battle Motors truck. Their most recent EV acquisition included 16 Ford Lightning trucks. The city is also set to be the first national operator of a Pierce Volterra fire engine that is scheduled to be delivered in 2025. To accommodate the increase in EVs in the city, Madison has currently installed 79 charging stations – including a movable solar canopy for off-grid chargers.

Madison has seen tremendous growth in the EV make-up of their city fleet considering they had zero EVs just five short years ago. By 2030, the City of Madison plans to completely convert their approximately 900 gasoline vehicles to EVs and transition their operations to net zero carbon. Upon success they will become the first large government fleet in North America to move away from gasoline engines by the end of the decade.

There are a number of contributing factors to City of Madison’s deployment success. The city benefits from the support and motivation of their internal sustainability champions; their current Fleet Superintendent, Mahanth Joishy, brings decades of extensive experience with environmental initiatives and EVs. The larger sustainability initiative’s costs have also been offset by funding and incentives from several sources: the city’s capital budget, grant assistance from Wisconsin’s Office of Energy Innovation, Madison Gas & Electric, and federal dollars. The city sees significant savings on both fuel and maintenance costs – combined with an expected operational life of approximately 10-15 years per EV, they are reaching their ROI in four to five years.

The shift to EVs has come with its share of challenges. The city has worked to address staff training on how to properly use EVs, understand where to strategically install charging stations, figure out which types of vehicles to purchase for various use cases, create synergies across multiple city departments to oversee deployment projects.

Outputs and Outcomes

The city of Madison’s sustainability efforts have experienced exponential growth since Mahanth Joishy joined the team as Fleet Superintendent seven years ago. Joishy is on the Auxiliary Board for Wisconsin Clean Cities and is an active participant in the organization’s programming.

The city prioritizes public and community engagement with their sustainability initiatives. Madison is a consistent and dependable partner of the Transportation and Innovation Conference and Expo and because of their involvement, the general public is encouraged to attend both the expo and the ride-and-drive. WCC also partnered with Fleet Services as they hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for their state-of-the-art Fleet Facility which was open to the general public. The city is very proactive in sharing their stories, challenges, and best practices, and showcasing vehicles and equipment to other fleets at national, regional, and state conferences to encourage and assist others in emulating their success. Madison’s aggressive and admirable EV adoption goals for the remainder of the decade and beyond speak to the reliability and motivation behind their numerous partnerships in the industry.

 

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

  • Generating community interest through public engagement helps move existing projects forward and create new ones
  • Multiple city departments are engaged in EV deployment. Creating a team of key individuals across these departments and establishing a clear chain of command to coordinate vehicle and infrastructure deployment is important to ensure there is minimal vehicle and/or charger downtime.
  • Due to EV technology advancement and the city’s aggressive adoption goals, working with the engineering department to future-proof equipment installation is essential.
  • Vehicle and equipment OEMs will provide user training services that fleets can utilize. Madison ensures maintenance technician and operator training on use and upkeep of the equipment is performed, as it leads to successful deployment.
  • Providing opportunities for employees to engage with the EVs (i.e., ride and drives and other educational events) are important to ensure employees are comfortable and confident with the vehicles.

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City of Madison Fleet Story

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