Are municipal electric vehicle fleets a worthwhile investment?

Connexus Energy teams up with member cities to explore EVs

Municipalities face an important question when they consider switching to Electric Vehicles (EVs): Which department’s cars should they start with, and is it financially and environmentally worth it?

The Project: Using FleetCarma, Connexus Energy's Municipal Fleet Analysis Project provided a detailed fleet evaluation for the cities of Coon Rapids, Andover, Ramsey, and Blaine in their service territory and provided each with the results, identifying opportunities for adding EVs. Many fleet operators shared the results with city council members to make more informed decisions.

The Results: In general, Connexus Energy found that incorporating EVs would decrease Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and reduce CO₂ emissions and overall petroleum fuel use, providing strong evidence to support EV inclusion in city fleets!

Looking under the hood: Municipal Fleet Analysis Project

Municipal city fleets have unique functional demands—light duty pick-up trucks are the mainstay of the fleet, followed closely by SUVs and sedans. While not all municipality vehicles have an electric equivalent, sedans and small SUVs do, and EV manufacturers are quickly working on meeting more municipal needs. 

Connexus Energy conducted a study in four communities—Blaine, Ramsey, Andover, and Coon Rapids—to identify which municipal vehicles would most benefit from a switch to EVs. Connexus provided telemetric devices to attach to a set of municipal vehicles. Municipalities identified the vehicles they wanted to test, and attached the device, measuring daily mileage, acceleration and braking, driver efficiency, engine idle time, and trip length. The results showed that switching to EVs would decrease cost of ownership while also decreasing Carbon emissions for the cars selected. 

Considering the benefits of switching to EVs, Connexus Energy hosted EV Ride and Drive events in two cities to give members of the general public and city employees an opportunity to try EVs out themselves!

Charging ahead with lessons learned

EVs have unique maintenance needs, and many municipal garages are not yet up-to-date on the knowledge they need to maintain and service EVs. Currently, municipalities rely on dealer maintenance garages for EV vehicles. Members of the organizations involved have learned that educating frontline municipal fleet mechanics on EVs can go a long way to encouraging EV adoption. Doing so will require a collaborative effort between municipalities, dealerships, and manufacturers.

Leaders of the project plan to present overall project results to community stakeholder groups to encourage participation in future fleet analyses, while sharing knowledge about the importance of training municipal fleet mechanics on EV service and maintenance.

We would like to expand the project to reach all of the municipality’s vehicles. We’re applying the results from the study to host an EV Ride and Drive event specifically for the departments we have determined would benefit from EVs.

Andy Kintop, City of Coon Rapids Recycling and Sustainability Specialist
  • Technology: Study of electric vehicle potential in fleet
  • Metro CERT Seed Grant: $5,000
  • Total Project Cost: $55,410
  • Other Funds: Connexus Energy and city funds
  • Project Team: Eric Kruzan and Jennifer Sweeney (Connexus Energy), Mark Goody (FleetCarma), Tim Himmer and Mel Doherty (City of Coon Rapids), David Berkowitz and John Wallace (City of Andover), Kurt Ulrich and Mark Riverblood (City of Ramsey), Jon Haukaas and Tom Chesness (City of Blaine)
  • People Involved & Reached: 133

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