Fleets Talk Green Procurement at Calif. Vehicle Expo

June 08, 2016

(L-R) Mike Simonds, Brad Northup, and Jessica Sutorus spoke about fleet greening with panel moderator Randy Wilde from the Center for Sustainable Energy.
(L-R) Mike Simonds, Brad Northup, and Jessica Sutorus spoke about fleet greening with panel moderator Randy Wilde from the Center for Sustainable Energy.

San Diego County, Calif., is moving toward procuring electric vehicles (EVs) and using renewable diesel, while the City of San Diego is determining which vehicles can be replaced by EVs as part of the implementation of its Climate Action Plan.

Fleet employees from both agencies participated in a panel discussion about green fleet procurement at the County of Riverside Purchasing and Fleet Services Vehicle Vendor Expo on June 2.

The City of Colton, Calif., also participated, and Jessica Sutorus, environmental conservation supervisor, stated that adding EVs is working for the city since it only encompasses 16 square miles. She said the city chose to lease vehicles so it could keep up with quickly changing technology, and it now has nine EV charging stations.

The City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan aims to have 50% zero-emission vehicles in the fleet by 2020. That means about 2,100 vehicles need to be zero-emission vehicles, and fleet has implemented an aggressive replacement plan to replace its aging fleet. Mike Simonds, an interim fleet manager, said the city is working with FleetCarma to determine vehicle utilization for electrification — the city currently has three all-electric cars and 40 gasoline hybrid vehicles in its fleet, and it must also expand EV charging infrastructure in order to meet its goal. Simonds added that the city has 17 compressed natural gas (CNG) refuse trucks on order and is building a fueling station for these vehicles.

Brad Northup, fleet coordinator for the San Diego County, said the county has been successful in transitioning to smaller hybrid vehicles as drivers’ responsibilities have changed in the past decade. It’s also looking to purchase more electric vehicles.

Panelists also discussed the challenges of fleet greening, including expiring CNG tanks, the high maintenance cost and battery replacement on some EVs, and the lower power of larger electric hybrids.

<p>Among the vehicles at the show was a Nissan Leaf.</p>

The expo is the second annual event hosted by Riverside County and included a vehicle showcase as well as panels about fleet purchasing and grant funding. Matt Jones, light-duty vehicle buyer for the county and vendor expo coordinator, said the event reflects the procurement trends of the area, with alternative-fuel vehicles such as hydrogen, electric, and CNG, but also includes hybrids and gasoline and diesel vehicles. He added that Riverside County has a policy to purchase hybrids when possible, and it has been growing its hybrid-electric sedan fleet.

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