Utilities Urged to Devote 5% of New Spending to Electrified Vehicles
Pacific Gas & Electric and the Washington, D.C.-based Edison Electric Institute are challenging other utilities to double down their investments on electric drive and electrified vehicles – “a goal that represents an estimated $50 million of new investment in electric vehicles across the industry and would deliver economic and environmental benefits for utilities and customers.”
EEI will conduct a members-only webinar on the topic this Wednesday, August 6.
Over the past five years, the organizations say, the utilities industry has invested approximately $85 million incorporating PHEVs – plug-in electric vehicles –into its fleets, accounting for about 1.7% of overall utility fleet spending. PG&E and EEI want the utilities to boost that investment to 5% of their total fleet investment, or approximately $1 billion, starting next year.
PG&E says it operates the nation’s largest fleet of alternative fuel vehicles “and tops the industry with 14% of its fleet investment dedicated to plug-in technologies.”
‘Plug-In Technology Is Thriving’
“Expanding the use of plug-in technologies is one of the most important opportunities we have as a country to continue diversifying our energy usage and achieve our clean energy goals,” PG&E chairman and CEO Tony Earley said in a release.
“Electrifying our fleets is about showing consumers that plug-in technology is thriving and delivers real benefits that make sense for us and our customers,” Earley said.
PG&E notes that a new EEI white paper, Utility Fleets Leading the Charge, underscores the business case for utility fleet electrification as well as the full range of PHEVs available for adoption in fleets (F&F, July 23).
Lower Operating Costs, Longer Vehicle Life
The EEI publication “shows that electrification of large utility fleets offers benefits that range from lower operating costs from fuel and maintenance, to extended vehicle life based on their mechanical simplicity, as well as reduced carbon footprint and toxic emissions,” PG&E says.
The industry is stepping up efforts to directly engage fleet operators, PG&E says, noting the EEI webinar for fleet leaders on Wednesday will “review the available technologies and the business benefits.”
Full Payback in Less Than Five Years
Besides the Wednesday webinar, EEI is promoting to a new calculator, developed by University of California-Davis staff based on an Argonne National Lab model, to help fleet operators analyze the total cost of ownership for electric vehicles.
The new calculator will be released to EEI members after the webinar, says Kellen Schefter, sustainable technology manager at EEI in Washington. It was developed by Kevin Nesbitt at UC Davis, he told F&F.
“Our experience has confirmed that the business case for fleet electrification is solid,” Dave Meisel, senior director of transportation services for PG&E, said in the utility announcement.
“We are seeing full payback on the increased initial investment in less than five years in most cases. In addition to the fuel savings, we’re seeing dramatically lower vehicle emissions and a better on-the-job experience for our crews.”
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Source: PG&E with Fleets & Fuels follow-up