State also makes public charging stations available
In January of 2011 California Governor Jerry Brown signed an Executive Order mandating reduction of unneeded state owned fleet vehicles, and eliminating the purchase of new vehicles, with the exception of those needed for critical services, health, safety or security of the public. By July of that year, 3,800 vehicles had been removed from the fleet of over 50,000.
Fast forward to August of this year. Governor Brown’s order has now resulted in the elimination of over 7,100 vehicles – including over 4,200 passenger vehicles. One of the primary goals of these eliminations were to reduce the amount of gasoline used by the state. Combined with insurance and depreciation savings, these reductions are expected to save more than $12.6 million annually.
To further the cause of reducing gasoline usage, the California Department of General Services (DGS) has now announced the delivery of 10 new Nissan LEAFs, which will replace 10 existing vehicles in the DGS daily rental fleet. The goal is to have 10 percent of California’s vehicle fleet be zero emission by 2015 and 25 percent by 2020. Without knowing the daily requirements of distance driven per trip, it is difficult to tell whether this could be a realistic goal or not. To that end though, the state is also adding charging stations in the Sacramento area to encourage the use of these new state fleet electric vehicles (EVs). Placement of these charging stations could prove beneficial of EV use if properly located.
There are currently 24 state provided electric vehicle charging stations in five locations with an additional nine stations due to come online soon. 19 of these charging stations in four locations are accessible to the public. Naturally, all of the four locations noted are State parking lots, including the DGS headquarters parking facility. All of them are centrally located in or near the downtown Sacramento area. This could go a long way toward encouraging use of EVs as EV owners can drive into the downtown area knowing that they will be able to charge their vehicle near their destination. Some commenters on the PlugShare.com site have noted that some of these locations are not available after state office working hours. These are the kinds of issues that need to be considered and resolved if these are to truly be a useful resource for the public. Having the charging station in a convenient location does no good if it is not available as needed. An additional recommendation that we would make is to place additional charging locations near the most frequently traveled to areas outside of the downtown area. This would encourage those state personnel to use these LEAFs for trips that they may not otherwise consider.
Adoption of EV usage by any large enterprise is a welcome step in creating awareness of EV capability. When being seen driven by state personnel taking care of official business, this can be seen as a sign of a municipality actually walking the walk that it is recommending for others.