Electric Vehicles

Audit: Indy-Vision Fleet Deal Poorly Executed

August 24, 2016

A new report from the Indianapolis Office of Audit and Performance faults then-mayor Greg Ballard's administration for its poorly executed plan to lease 425 electric vehicles through Vision Fleet.

The deal lacked the controls needed to ensure the program's effectiveness, even though the electric vehicle program appears to embody the best interests of the city, according to the audit. City Council members are again looking into the contract, according to Fox59.

Ballard first signed the executive order in 2012, planning to have all 425 vehicles on the road by early 2016. Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids started rolling out in 2014, but the order was met with conflict, most notably from Indianapolis City Council who criticized Ballard for signing the contract without consulting the council. The city was able to negotiate a new contract last December, lowering the leases from seven or eight years to four years and adding incentives for the city.

The Office of Audit and Performance looked at five contracts and one amendment between the city and Vision Fleet signed in 2014 and 2015. The report concluded that many terms were not clear within the contract, which makes performance difficult to verify and, therefore, ineffective.

The Vision Fleet deal goes through the city's Department of Public Works. However, the city lacks a centralized fleet manager, which left to each department to manage its own vehicles. The audit also noted problems within the cost structure, leaving no incentive for customer departments to use the vehicles efficiently.

Another part of the deal allows the city to receive vehicle utilization data from Vision Fleet. However, the audit noted that, with Vision Fleet in control of the data and no performance measures specified, there's no way to ensure the data received is valid or complete.

"It incentivizes Vision Fleet to supply data that is advantageous to its own reputation and profitability," according to the audit.

Read the full audit here.

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