Electric bus driving in the city

This Electric Vehicle and Fleet Electrification Blueprint includes a high-level overview of the process and benefits of fleet electrification, showcases important tools and online resources, and outlines Key Activities to help guide EECBG Program entities to success. A Blueprint Summary PDF is also available for download (below), which provides a concise summary of the Blueprint Key Activities. DOE plans to make technical assistance available to support all entities interested in EVs and fleet electrification, which may include, one-on-one support from national lab or DOE experts, webinars, and peer learning opportunities.

What Are EVs and Fleet Electrification?

Planning for and purchasing electric vehicles (EVs) for government fleets, as well as the associated charging infrastructure, such as charging stations and site upgrades. 

Why Consider EVs and Fleet Electrification?

Icons representing power sources

Justice and Equity: Many heavy-duty government vehicles have traditionally run on conventional diesel fuel, including transit buses, school buses, garbage trucks, and other service vehicles. When these vehicles run through environmental justice communities, the diesel exhaust may exacerbate the effects of already higher-than-average air pollution. Thus, when replacing conventional fleet vehicles with EVs, governments may wish to consider placing a priority on heavy-duty vehicles that run service routes through lower-income or environmental justice communities. 

Governments can also consider including preferences for local and women- and minority-owned small businesses in RFPs related to EVs and charging equipment procurement.

Every government, whether state, local, or tribal owns and operates a variety of vehicles, such as passenger cars, school buses, shuttle buses, heavy duty garbage trucks, and snowplows. Electrifying the fleet, by replacing vehicles with gasoline or diesel engines with electric vehicles, will reduce transportation sector emissions, improve air quality, and, if done right, reduce your government’s operational expenses and maintenance needs. Planning is a key component to electrification of the transportation sector. To ensure new electric vehicles can be operated successfully, governments need to consider many important details, such as parking and charging options, fleet routes, frequency of use, and specific issues like turning radius limitations on city streets and continuous operating time. 

Who Should Consider This Blueprint Topic?

Governments seeking to improve regional air quality, stimulate the EV market and infrastructure in their jurisdictions, improve public health, and save money on future fuel and maintenance costs. This blueprint topic area is relevant for governments whose fleets are aging or have scheduled replacements, as choosing EVs will have long-term economic and environmental benefits. 

Who/What Will You Need?

To complete a fleet electrification and infrastructure siting assessment, you will need the involvement of the following stakeholders:

  • Fleet manager(s)
  • Fleet maintenance staff
  • Input from other departments that use fleet vehicles to ensure EVs can meet their required use cases.
  • Energy managers to support electricity rate schedules, data tracking, and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) metering needs.
  • Representative from your utility to help identify any electrical upgrades necessary to support EVSE.
  • Facilities staff to guide EVSE construction and installation projects.
  • Electrical contractors to build out any additional wiring needed for EVSE.
  • Compliance manager to ensure EVSE comply with relevant building codes and safety standards.

Materials you will need include:

  • Fleet data for financial, feasibility, and siting assessments
  • EV and EVSE maintenance trainings or materials
  • EVSE data tracking system
  • EV charging schedule

Additionally, you will likely want procurement and contract support for the purchase of EVs and the EVSE and will want to plan for training of the fleet maintenance staff and drivers of the new vehicles.

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Key Activities

These selected Key Activities are suggestions of important steps a government could take to begin or make progress on their fleet electrification journey. EECBG Program awardees that utilize a Blueprint will receive expedited application review from DOE. Applicants must execute at least one of the key activities listed under each selected Blueprint but should avoid going beyond the recommended activities. Going beyond these key activities may trigger additional reviews of your EECBG Program project to ensure you’re meeting National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), historic preservation, and/or other federal regulations. While each step is important, they should be seen as a guide. Awardees should determine their own priority activities based on their local context.  

Graphic of gears representing key activities.

Begin by performing a fleet assessment: Gather as much information as you can about the vehicles in your fleet. This may include: total number of fleet vehicles; vehicle types; frequency of use per vehicle; engine fuel type; fuel economy; annual vehicle mileage; service route length and location; daily service hours; communities or constituency served; anticipated replacement date – noting any vehicles at or near retirement age, making them strong near-term candidates for EV conversion; maintenance and repair costs; vehicle use case; whether vehicles need to be four-wheel drive or snowplow capable; overnight vehicle parking locations; number of domiciled vehicles; and vehicle charging requirements, including whether or not charging stations can be made available during the vehicle’s daily use. Evaluate which vehicles in your fleet are the best candidates for electrification.

Engage Stakeholders: fleet manager(s), fleet mechanics, drivers, etc. – as part of this process to understand any questions, concerns, or unique vehicle specifications such as turning radius, maximum vehicle height, use case, or additional electrical equipment needs. Understanding and addressing these needs and concerns and applying it to purchasing decisions and training resources can build confidence in EVs.

  • Fleet assessment cost estimate: $10,000 to $100,000
  • Detailed vehicle replacement plan, including a full fleet assessment, identification of vehicles for EV conversion, and prioritization of vehicles for replacement.

Plan for Driver and Technician Training: Consider whether the staff who will routinely drive the vehicle have any prior experience with EVs and how to set up standard training for current and future staff. Energy efficient driving behaviors will help extend the EV’s time of use and will save fuel when driving non-EVs. For complex and/or heavy-duty vehicles, additional training may be required due to operational differences in EVs versus conventional diesel vehicles. Consider also whether the technicians in your staff are experienced or knowledgeable about EV repair and maintenance, or whether additional training will be required. Similarly, examine your fleet’s maintenance facilities to determine if any bays will need upgrades to support EVs (e.g., heavy-duty EVs will require stronger lifts).

Once the fleet has been evaluated for electrification opportunities and vehicle parking locations are identified, you will need to identify locations for EVSE installations and evaluate the site’s existing infrastructure and the infrastructure fleet EVs will require.

Identify Charging Locations: Determine what location(s) are best suited to provide charging for vehicles selected for electrification. This will likely be a location where a large number of vehicles recommended for electrification park overnight and will be able to charge for an extended period. Special considerations and charging practices may be needed for vehicles that are domiciled at employee homes.

Evaluate Charging Infrastructure Options: Determine what charging equipment is compatible with your new EVs, how and when charging will be conducted, and where charging equipment will be located within your facility. 

Contact your Electric Utility: Once you have identified which vehicles to target for EV conversion and locations for charging infrastructure, reach out to your electric utility. Your utility is essential to helping you understand your plan’s power requirements and may even have rebated and incentives available. Share as much information as possible about your proposed fleet electrification charging requirements with your electric utility, including the estimated power requirements and location of any new charging equipment. Your utility can work with you to determine available incentives (if applicable) and if any grid or facility upgrades are needed to meet the additional electric load. If so, electrical upgrade projects often have long lead times, so it will be important to complete this step early in the process. It will be important for your utility to understand your long-term plans so that they can incorporate that into their planning while also allowing you to futureproof your buildings and parking facilities for future EV adoption.

Siting Cost Estimate: $10,000 to $100,000 

  • Detailed charging plan, including parking locations, siting for charging equipment, and cost assessment of electricity bill based on electricity rates, power needed, and planned charging times.

Sharing data with your utility can help utilities mitigate grid impacts through managed charging programs, which allow the utility to remotely control EV charging to respond to real-time grid needs. Types of data to share with your utility may include EVSE utilization rates, expected versus actual power demand, charging times, number of vehicles charging at each station, and projected changes to your fleet. Data sharing with your utility can help your fleet avoid excess demand charges, learn about your fleet’s vehicle charging behavior, and plan for future infrastructure needs. 

A charging plan will set a schedule for your fleet’s charging needs to ensure all vehicles have enough power to complete their required tasks. To develop this charging plan, you will need to have an understanding of the number of EVs charging at each location, their range, the total time they are able to charge overnight or during the day, and the frequency at which they will need  to be charged. Vehicles with different use cases will require different charging considerations. For example, transit buses will need to charge quickly and multiple times throughout the day and can slow charge overnight. Other vehicles that have lower daily mileage can go a few days without charging and then charge for several hours overnight. Your charging schedule will want to take advantage of cheaper charging times, which typically occur at night, and avoid demand charges when possible.

As you determine the amount of energy it will require to keep your fleet operational, you can estimate your electricity bill. For this cost assessment, you should work with your utility to understand your electricity rate at different times of the day and how to build in considerations for demand charges. Your utility can help you assess multiple charging schedule scenarios.

Once you are ready to begin purchasing EVs and EVSE, you may need support during the procurement and installation phase of electrification. Depending on your fleet’s size, a formal solicitation process may help streamline the purchase and installation of charging infrastructure.

Compare EVs on the Market to Your Fleet’s Needs: Identify which EVs on the market are the best fit with your fleet’s procurement requirements, based on the factors you’ve considered during the fleet assessment. Many EVs of the same vehicle type will offer similar operations, fuel, and maintenance savings, but your fleet may prefer certain makes, models, or purchase prices. 

Vehicle cost estimates (data as of March 2023): 

  • Light duty vehicles: multiple models available, starting at roughly $25,000
  • Light duty pickup trucks: multiple models available, starting at roughly $40,000
  • Heavy-duty vehicles: estimated cost $100,000-200,000+
  • Transit van/shuttle van: multiple models available
  • Transit buses: 44 models available
  • School buses: 32 models available
  • Garbage trucks: 8 models available
  • Street sweepers: 2 models available

Examine Financials: Determine any funding, incentives, or programs that are available for EVs or EV charging infrastructure in your area, including utility, state, or federal funding sources. Estimate future operations and maintenance costs and how they will compare with current costs. Work with your budget office, fleet manager(s), and energy manager to incorporate these adjustments into future budget requests and planning.

Procure electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), including charging stations and related infrastructure. Cost estimates:

  • Level 2 charger: $3,000 - $6,300 per charger, including hardware and installation costs
  • DC fast charger: $55,000 - $120,000 per charger, including hardware and installation costs

Once you have identified vehicles for electrification and determined the type and location of supporting EVSE, you may begin the installation process. When installing EVSE, you must consider building code requirements, zoning requirements, compliance with other relevant local or state laws, permitting, and design specifications (e.g., signage, markings, etc.).

NOTE: Further restrictions are listed on page 39 of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program Formula Grant Application Instructions

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Next Steps to Get Started

If your organization chooses to select this Blueprint activity, you may be eligible to receive technical assistance from DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office.

Sign up to join the EECBG EV Cohort.

Additional Federal Funds to Leverage and Braid with Your EECBG Program Award

BIL Funding:

IRA Funding: DOE’s (AFDC) Federal and State Laws and Incentives Database: A searchable database compiled by DOE that identifies laws, regulations, and potential funding incentives for projects involving or related to alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. These search results identify opportunities specifically related to the IRA. 

Specific funding opportunities, including grants and rebates, that were either created or expanded through the IRA to support EVs, fleet electrification, and alternative-fuel vehicles are listed below. Applicable IRA statutory references are included in brackets after each resource description:  

  • Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles (EPA): Funding for replacing existing heavy-duty vehicles with zero emission vehicles. Funds can also be used for zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, workforce development and training, and planning and technical activities [60101]
  • Port Electrification Grants (EPA): Funding for the purchase or installation of zero emission port equipment or technologies, including all-electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) [60102] 
  • IRA Tax Credits:   The IRA also included a variety of tax incentives, including tax credits that directly support EVs, fleet electrification, and alternative-fuel vehicles. These are listed below: 
  • Other DOE Funding Opportunities and Resources:    
    • Technology Integration Competitive Project Funding (DOE): This resource summarizes recently funded Technology Integration projects and includes lessons learned and key considerations that could be leveraged by others pursuing projects related to affordable, domestic transportation fuels, energy efficient mobility systems, and other fuel-saving technologies and practices.

Additional Resources

Case Studies: 

Inspirational Videos: