San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition recently announced that it has nearly doubled its fleet operations engagements since 2016. The increase follows an eight-month flurry of activities by the group focusing on new workshops, webinars and fleet services.
Formed in 1996, the San Diego Coalition has grown to become the go-to source for expertise on alternative transportation fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. The Coalition is hosted by the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), which provides fleet technical assistance and also manages statewide clean vehicle incentive programs in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York, which combined have awarded more than $400 million in clean vehicle rebates and vouchers.
During the past year, the coalition and CSE staff addressed the needs of fleet stakeholders by providing in-depth technical assistance on electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure projects. As fleets increase the scale and speed of EV deployment, questions regarding how to best utilize and charge vehicles are becoming more immediate and complex. Topics include network choice, electric panel upgrades, siting, future-proofing and costs. Staff are working with fleet operators to provide assistance ranging from remote desktop analyses to full-blown site inspections with electricians.
“Scaling up the number of EV charging stations can create some interesting power supply considerations for facilities that were never designed for electric vehicles,” said CSE Transportation Specialist Kevin Wood. “Vehicle grid integration pilot projects in our region will help to test strategies for managing loads at the facility level and grid scale as the number of EVs increases.”
Interest is strong even among fleet operators who do not have any electric vehicles. A recent workshop-webinar hosted by San Diego Clean Cities attracted more than 110 fleet and facility managers. As the number of EVs in fleet use increases, Wood expects the complexity and frequency of fleet charging questions to grow.
What is the most important advice for fleet managers to consider? According to CSE staff, the two most important things fleet and facility managers can do is lay conduit whenever paving fleet facilities and begin tracking the domicile and parking locations of vehicles in a fleet information management system to better inform EV infrastructure planning.
“Be intentional. Have a plan,” said CSE Fleet Project Manager Michael Terreri. “Measure twice and cut once is a successful M.O. Know what the availability of EVSE is at a depot before ordering vehicles. Know what your ideal charging solution is and pursue that rather than signing contracts with six or more providers. Intentionality is everything.”