30 Cities Ready To Order 114,000 Plug-in Vehicles

Plug-in vehicle sales could spike by nearly three quarters if 30 U.S. cities are able to get a good purchase deal and support from vehicle manufacturers.

The cities have up to $10 billon to spend purchasing about 114,000 plug-in electrified vehicles for their fleets. The move, coordinated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, would bring to their fleets electrified police cruisers, street sweepers, trash haulers, buses, and other vehicle types.

Hitting that target would increase last year’s U.S. PEV sales by about 72 percent.

City governments want to show automakers that there’s need for more of these vehicles to be built – and to demonstrate to President Donald Trump that cities are taking vehicle electrification and environmental issues, especially climate change, very seriously. City officials would like to see a lot more PEVs out on the roads, and are concerned about the Trump administration backing down from fuel economy and emissions rules.

“No matter what President Trump does or what happens in Washington, cities will continue leading the way on tackling climate change,” saod Matt Petersen, Los Angeles chief sustainability officer, in an email.

Vehicle manufacturers have already been contacted for bids. An initial order of 24,000 vehicles came from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Seattle. Twenty-six other cities have since joined the move, including Boston, Denver, Kansas City, and Houston.

Manufacturers are responding. Nearly 40 automakers, truck makers, bus makers and others have done so, Petersen said.

Some cities are asking vehicle makers to be open minded. City officials are looking into whether vehicles that don’t even exist now will come to market, such as plug-in fire trucks and heavy-duty trucks.

These mayors are mostly Democrats and have shown more interest in issues such as climate change than has the Trump administration. They also want to show that there is interest out there from consumers along with municipal fleets that can drive demand.

“If you build it, we will buy it,” said Chris Bast, Seattle’s climate and transportation policy adviser.

Myron Ebell, the former head of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team, said consumers are the ones showing less interest in green cars and tight federal fuel economy and emissions rules. That’s coming across in their vehicle purchase decisions.

“This is not coming from the auto industry – it’s coming from consumers and the auto dealers association,” Ebell said.

SEE ALSO:  Electrified Trucks Replacing Diesel For Several Global Fleets in Next Decade

The automakers’ leading industry group says that manufacturers have already done more than their share. Carmakers offered 95 different varieties of hybrid and plug-in vehicles last year, said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. However, consumers haven’t shown enough interest in the new electrified vehicles yet.

“Combined, those models were all outsold by a single model of pickup truck,” Newton said.

If these 114,000 PEVs are sold, it will make a difference in the market even if the bidding process, acquisitions, and deliveries take well over a year for these city fleets to get what they’ve ordered. It would provide electric vehicle makers more reliable demand, even if federal policies are less supportive and gasoline prices fluctuate.

“I wouldn’t underestimate this,” said Colin McKerracher, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “What automakers really want in investing in electrification, whether that’s for passenger vehicles or commercial-use vehicles, is certainty.”

Bloomberg

 


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