Plans for what will soon be the biggest municipal fleet of electrified vehicles in the nation were recently pushed through in the City of Indianapolis, through a new initiative dubbed the “Freedom Fleet.”
The EV fleet — which will consist of 425 EV or PHEV non-police pursuit sedans — is currently expected to be deployed in early 2016. And will, reportedly, save the city $8.7 million over a period of ten years. As part of the new initiative, the total size of the city’s fleet will also be reduced by 100 vehicles.
The stated reasons for the initiative, are: the reduction of dependence upon foreign oil, and the reduction of operating costs, thereby reducing the amount of tax-payer money spent on municipal fuel costs.
“This is a landmark step in revitalizing our aging fleet and replacing expensive internal combustion engine vehicles with cutting-edge EV technology, all while reducing our dependence on oil and saving Indianapolis taxpayers thousands in fuel costs each year,” stated Mayor Greg Ballard. “America’s dependence on oil ties our national and economic security to a highly-unpredictable, cartel-influenced global oil market. Diversifying the types of vehicles and fuels available to our drivers offers our city protection from often-volatile oil prices and better prepares us for the future.”
In an email sent to EV Obsession, the new initiative was detailed thusly:
In partnership with Indianapolis, Vision Fleet developed an innovative financing structure that bundles together all the expenses of purchasing, fueling, and maintaining the electric vehicles into a guaranteed rate that is lower cost than Indianapolis’ gasoline sedans. Additionally, to unlock maximum savings for the City, Vision Fleet will utilize its comprehensive suite of technology, data analytics, and operational support designed specifically for reducing the cost of ownership of alternatively fueled vehicles.
The new Indy fleet vehicles will include 100% electric models, such as the Nissan LEAF, as well as plug-in hybrid models like the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Fusion Energi, which offer extended range. The cars will be distributed throughout the fleet based on the needs of city fleet drivers and their departments, and be branded as Indy’s “Freedom Fleet”. The City will replace 100 vehicles by the end of this year and 425 vehicles by the beginning of 2016. Each gasoline powered sedan in Indy’s fleet would have cost taxpayers approximately $9,000 per year over the next decade, including purchase, fuel, maintenance and insurance. Freedom Fleet vehicles will cost approximately $7,400 per year over that period; saving taxpayers approximately $1,600 per year per vehicle.
Excellent numbers, if true. Here’s to hoping that’s what they end up being.
“This project will have enormous impacts on fuel consumption and fleet service costs,” concluded Vision Fleet CEO Michael Brylawski. “The first 14 plug-in hybrids deployed in Indianapolis’ Freedom Fleet have each saved an average of 53 gallons of gasoline per month. Each of the 425 EVs deployed by the beginning of 2016 will save at least 550-600 gallons of gas annually. Over the next 10 years, we expect Indianapolis will avoid 2.2 million gallons of expensive gasoline. Fuel costs for the new EVs will be about one-third of the old gas vehicles costs as a result.”
The plans aren’t actually all that new — with the Mayor signing an Executive Order back in 2012 mandating such a change by the year 2025. For those efforts, the Mayor recently received the “E-Visionary Award” from the World Electric Vehicle Association.
Hopefully these recent actions will spur other cities around the country to undertake similar initiatives. The cost-saving benefits are certainly there.
The city will actually also soon be home to what will be the “largest electric car sharing service in the United States,” with the upcoming launch of the Bollore BlueIndy car-sharing service there.
Image Credit: Freedom Fleet/City of Indianapolis