Learning from Houston

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Everything is big in Texas! Did you know Houston is Texas’ largest city, and the fourth largest city in the United States? Well, there is another thing that Houston will be known for besides “Houston, we got a problem”. The city has been implementing electric vehicles into the city’s car fleet. In partnership with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, the city of Houston has worked on establishing a municipal electric infrastructure that currently supports 40 plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV). It all began as an effort to battle the increase in population and pollution that Houston has seen in the recent years. They are expanding fast, expecting a population increase of 600,000 by 2030.

In 2010 the city converted 15 Toyota Prius hybrids to PHEVs and later its procurement of 27 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles. In 2012 Huston began to think differently about how to manage the city’s fleet.

Credit: City of Huston

Credit: City of Houston

The status quo was that every department in the city managed its own fleet. Houston decided to restructure their operations by switching to a centrally managed vehicle pool. This allowed them to make better purchasing decisions, cut operational expenses, increase operational efficiency and facilitate use for their employees. By better understanding route dynamics and total cost of ownership, the fleet management team is better able to identify how to best utilize and deploy BEVs. Houston understands that infrastructure is most important. To date, the city has installed 66 level two (220v) and 32 level one (110v) charging stations in the central fleet garage.

Source: City of Huston

Source: City of Houston

The city of Houston understood that implementing EVs into their fleet is a top down process. Infrastructure is key to utilization of EVs. Houston is an example that EVs can flourish in a place where they are supported by the electrification of their fleet system.

You can find the full report on Houston’s electric vehicle fleet here.

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