Clean Communities of Central New York (CC of CNY) is the Syracuse, New York based outreach arm of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program. CC of CNY recently took part in a national initiative, Fleets for the Future (F4F), designed to consolidate bulk orders of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and infrastructure. Funding for the first phase of the initiative was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which concluded in September, 2018. Fleets for the Future kicked off in 2016, headed by the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), and includes a team of multiple regional councils, national consulting companies, a public procurement agency (Sourcewell), seven Clean Cities Coalitions, and industry support groups such as the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC), and the Electrification Coalition.
Fleets for the Future is a national initiative to consolidate bulk orders of AFVs and infrastructure.
Fleets for the Future Procurement Program
The goal of Fleets for the Future was to create a procurement program that would enable government agencies, municipalities, and public fleets to replace conventional vehicles with AFVs; and to assist in growing AFV infrastructure, particularly EV charging stations. Many jurisdictions have set goals for procuring AFVs, but have been hindered by the challenges of higher upfront costs, the lack of technical knowledge needed to create a bid specification, and the need to obtain sufficient refueling infrastructure at the lowest cost.
Fleets for the Future developed a series of guides that explain best practices for AFV procurement, including: Fleet planning for AFVs; EV and Gaseous Fuels Procurement; AFV Financing; and a series of templates to implement these practices. A national partnership was formed with Sourcewell, formally the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA), to help launch regional initiatives in Kansas City, Washington, D.C., and Boston. Sourcewell holds a wide range of competitive cooperative contracts, and their procurement professionals secured contracts for school buses (CNG, propane autogas, and EV), refuse trucks (CNG and propane autogas), EV sedans, pickup trucks (CNG, propane autogas, and PHEV), medium- and heavy-duty trucks (PHEV), police sedans (hybrid and flex fuel), and cargo/step vans (CNG, propane autogas, and EV). Five distinct EVSE contracts were also put into place. The discounted pricing available on these contracts was based upon aggregated procurement through Sourcewell.
Impressive Program Results
The results of the first phase of the project completed in September of 2018 are impressive. Over 600,000 people were reached; 65 webinars were conducted (archived on the F4F website); nearly 800 in-person events were held reaching 38,000 participants; and over 400,000 emails/newsletters were distributed. In several instances, discounts of over 25% were reached through competitive bidding. Public fleets can now order directly off of the Sourcewell contract and regional procurement contracts. These include 35 AFV offerings, vehicle leasing choices, and fleet management services. Over 15,000 new members were added to the procurement cooperative Sourcewell during this first phase of F4F.
The results of the first phase of the project are impressive, with over 35 AFV offerings and 15,000 new members added to procurement cooperative Sourcewell.
One of the valuable lessons learned through Fleets for the Future research was that the number of vehicles needed to trigger discounts from providers is relatively low. One example is light duty pickup trucks ordered through the Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) alternative fuel program, including CNG, propane autogas, and PHEV vehicles. Significant discounts started at volumes of just ten vehicles, as long as the vehicle system capacities were spec’d in the same configuration. Standardizing a vehicle order (including range, fuel capacity, and type of operating system) also helps fleet managers keep a standard set of parts and maintenance materials.
Fleets for the Future will be continued through Sourcewell and updates provided by the U.S. DOE Clean Cities program, expanding technology offerings in the future. We are proud to have been part of this team and look forward to additional AFV and infrastructure offerings.