Strategic Energy Action Plan

Action Area 6: Strive Toward 100% Zero Carbon City Fleet By 2030

The Sustainable and Resilient Charlotte resolution sets an expectation that the City will strive to transition the City’s vehicle fleet to zero carbon by 2030. The requirement to become zero carbon means that the vehicles must run on electricity, hydrogen, biogas, or biofuel by 2030. The electricity or hydrogen consumed by these vehicles in 2030 (and beyond) must be produced using zero carbon electricity sources (either on-site or through procurement contracts).

There are more than 4,000 vehicles that are owned by the City, and they have varying degrees of ‘life expectancy’ attached to them. This means that a staggered introduction of zero carbon vehicles will need to be introduced over the next 12 years, with EVs being prioritized in areas where they best suit operational needs.

There are additional benefits that extend beyond the zero carbon component required by the resolution. When the total cost of ownership is considered, electric vehicles often cost less to run than their internal combustion engine counterparts. This is because the energy on which they run costs less and with significantly fewer engine parts, electric vehicles have a far lower maintenance requirement. Beyond fuel and maintenance benefits, electric vehicles also mean cleaner air and less noise pollution.

Achieving a zero carbon fleet by 2030 is an aspirational and ambitious goal for the City organization. Achievement of the 2030 goal will be dependent on many factors, including technological advancements, operational compatibility and risk management, and the availability of appropriate resources and funding. For some segments of the City fleet, achieving the goal may not be possible because operational and other concerns will outweigh or not allow for carbon reduction benefits. However, the City is committed to and will look for all opportunities to achieve the goal.

Task 1: Update the Fleet and Motorized Equipment Asset Management Policy in FY20

The procurement decisions will need to incorporate the Resolution and the calculations set out by the Global Protocol for Cities upon which these figures will be determined. The policy will require standardization and seek to develop the "fix-it first" requirement of the Policy for Sustainable Facilities. The opportunities for vehicle conversions or retrofits should be an active consideration.

Step 1: Form an action team comprised of existing Fleet Maintenance Advisory Team (FMAT) and CREDIT

The fleet maintenance team will need to remain in place but work closely with CREDIT because they remain central to delivery of the aftercare of the vehicles. There will need to be training and awareness raising of vehicle opportunities that are available today along with those in the pipeline of existing manufacturers going forwards.

Step 2: Revise the Fleet and Motorized Equipment Asset Management Policy to align with the goals of the Sustainable and Resilient Charlotte resolution

The Fleet and Motorized Equipment Asset Management policy will need to be revised to reflect how decisions will be made about vehicle replacement so that at each decision point, consideration and analysis is given to purchasing a vehicle that would reduce or eliminate carbon emissions.

Step 3: Raise awareness of the resolution goals and increase acceptance among staff

Engage staff to show how resolution goals will be met. Right-sizing the fleet and choosing an alternative fuel option for departments, dependent on the vehicle application will serve as an example to the community.

Step 4: Establish requirements per vehicle type based upon their expected lifespan to align with the 2030 goal

A clear, staggered timeline attached to existing vehicles and their anticipated lifespans should be formed. This builds upon the existing data repository. The timeline for replacement should incorporate vehicle retrofitting opportunities particularly those of heavy fleet where known opportunities exist.

Task 2: Begin installation of a telematics system across the City’s entire vehicle fleet in FY21

Telematics should be installed across the vehicle fleet to identify which vehicle usage lends itself best to different fuel choices and resources can be allocated accordingly. This will help identify which vehicles should be transitioned to electric, which can be retrofitted to electric, which may be biofuel-based, and so on. The telematics may also provide opportunities for reducing the fleet size, making opportunities for using vehicles for more than one purpose, identifying more efficient routes, and where to locate charging stations.

Step 1: Utilize a pilot project lasting three months using the selection of the fleet that already has telematics to identify potential fuel savings opportunities

Collect data to inform an education program that sets expectations for improvement and train drivers on eco-driving. The fuel savings achieved as a consequence can then form a benchmark for performance as well as a revenue source. The current telematics are not being used to monitor fuel use.

Step 2: Identify the type of telematics that will have the largest impact and consider telematics with filming technology to reduce insurance liabilities

The City provides its own insurance; however, telematics can still be used to reduce liabilities, as they can help to prove speed at the time as well as record incidents. This is likely to reduce insurance settlements. The savings attached would then be a revenue source.

Step 3: Utilize the combination of fuel savings, insurance payments averted, and any other savings to finance the rollout of telematics across the vehicle fleet

This is made possible through the revolving fund structure of CREDIT. This telematics data is then to be used to inform the staggered procurement exercise. This is part of the wider considerations of total cost of ownership.

Step 4: Roll Out Education Program that Provides Training on Eco-Driving to all City Staff.

Training on vehicle driving and ‘eco-driving’ should be rolled out to all staff, especially those that run City vehicles. Eco-driving is being aware of the vehicle to better conserve fuel and reduce emissions, including using gears correctly, keeping tires inflated, accelerating at a slower rate, and practicing mindful breaking, among others. This will then be incorporated into their day-to-day activities. Training should also be provided on the use of the existing electric vehicles.

Step 5: Identify any drivers falling short of development marks and provide additional training

The telematics information and benchmarking should be used to identify any drivers who continue to drive in an un-economical way to provide further training to help reduce energy consumption.

Task 3: Establish the Staggered Introduction of Electric and Other Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are the current preferred car to transition the fleet to and the data for the establishment of their staggered introduction will come about through the previous steps. The procurement will also need to integrate the introduction of the charging infrastructure needed to meet the requirements.

Step 1: Update the centralized procurement policy and/or process to enable the consideration of total cost in FY20

The total cost of ownership, including the vehicle lifespan and financing opportunities, need to be incorporated into the cost projections. This is because EVs have less moving parts and have the potential to replace the batteries, extending their lifespan.

Step 2: Align efforts with Action Area 5 to identify potential for producing electricity on site.

There is opportunity to provide the electricity upon which the vehicles will run through onsite means. This is particularly true of parking lots and decks. The transition could consider battery storage seasonal variations and vehicle charging opportunities to establish the opportunities for onsite generation more fully. These calculations will be the responsibility of the CREDIT team.

Step 3: Identify resilience strategies required to ensure continuity of electricity supply by 2022

As electric vehicles require a source of electricity rather than the availability of petroleum, a resiliency strategy will need to be in place to ensure continuity for vehicles. This will need to provide a priority function. Such a resilience strategy should not be a barrier to change if restrictions are higher than those in place today.

Step 4: Work with existing retail partners to install a charging network that makes use of gas station canopies by 2025

It may be possible to work with existing gas stations and their solar opportunities to provide charging and storage opportunities to help with resilience.

Task 4: Consider Opportunities for Retrofitting of Vehicles to Electric Drivetrain in FY21

There are opportunities to retrofit vehicles with electric drivetrains, which extend the life of much of the vehicle, and potentially change how well a vehicles shell may be maintained. This has the opportunity to change the approach to procurement and the value of a vehicle currently considered to end of life. It may also mean that drivetrain conversion occurs before the end of life of the combustion engine.

Step 1: Identify existing areas of expertise within the Fleet Maintenance Advisory Team (FMAT) and other City Departments

As the cost of batteries declines and the technologies and understanding of battery vehicles improves, opportunities for conversion are increasing. This brings job opportunities and revenues associated with it to Charlotte.

Step 2: Identify opportunities for workforce development

There are opportunities for increased employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, as well as additional prospects for the workforce pipeline.

Step 3: Pilot a diesel bus or heavy equipment retrofit at the City maintenance facility.

The City maintenance team has a large site and skilled staff. A pilot project could see an existing CATS bus or other heavy-duty vehicle retrofitted as an electric one.

Step 4: Align with the City’s circular economy strategy

The retrofitting of vehicles to electric helps to close the waste cycle. This closed loop approach is central to the circular economy strategy. If a retrofitting strategy was adopted it could align with the activities of the City’s innovation barn, and would then provide an additional revenue stream to CREDIT’s revolving fund structure.