Electric fleets: Key learnings
On 18 April 2023, the Policy Learning Platform held a webinar, as part of the e-mobility series, on the topic of electric fleets. Fleet vehicles are those owned or leased by businesses or public bodies for delivering services and goods. They include public transport vehicles, police cars, delivery vehicles and taxis, amongst others.
Reducing the carbon intensity of transport will be vital to meeting our carbon reduction targets, including decarbonising fleets, commercial vehicles and buses. This webinar explored successful practices for assessing fleet performance, introducing electric fleet vehicles, and supporting transition in the private sector.
As well as a keynote provided by the City of Oslo, Good practices were also presented from the EMOBICITY and e-MOPOLI projects, with co-moderation provided by the eBussed project.
The webinar has been designed and moderated by Katharina Krell and Simon Hunkin, Thematic Experts of Low-carbon economy. The session was co-moderated by Heidi Heikkila from the eBussed project.
00:00:59 Introduction by Katharina Krell on the topic of electric fleets
00:10:49 Keynote speech by Elisabeth Skarsbø Moen, EVP Communications and Public Affairs from Ruter: Oslo public transport operator on Oslo’s e-bus conversion policy
00:24:44 Q&A: What were the main challenges in the end to reach 100% electric fleets?
00:27:27 Q&A: Could you tell us more about the implementation of charging solutions and the challenges being faced? And if you could elaborate on the charging solutions e.g. when to use pantograph/opportunity charging and when to use depot charging?
00:37:51 Presentation by Hélder Rodrigues on MOVE+ - Evaluation and certification scheme of fleets’ energy performance (EMOBICITY)
00:47:29 Q&A: How have the fleet owners welcomed this scheme? Are there other interested partners interested to join?
00:48:55 Q&A: Have there been challenges from the fleet owners to this scheme?
00:51:37 Presentation by Raitis Madžulis on Planning Region Electric cars for municipal services (e-mopoli)
01:00:49 Q&A: What feedback have you received from the electrification and the driverless cars?
01:04:50 Presentation by Yannis Tselikis on GO-ELECTRIC (EMOBICITY)
01:15:00 Q&A: How are you planning to support the charging infrastructure and the infrastructure within the electric grid?
01:18:35 Q&A: How important is it for the public sector to lead the example whne it comes to electrifying mobility? Do you expect the cost for electrification to go down over time and when would be the best time to electrify the fleet?
01:22:36 Q&A: How did you go from having higher costs in the beginning to now saving money? And if you have to do it again, what would you do different?
01:27:00 Q&A: The operational costs for EVs are lower compared to fossil engines, however, the upfront costs of purchasing are higher. What is the better option, to purchase the car or to procure the service? And is leasing an option for smaller municipalities?
From this webinar, we can highlight some key insights for local and regional policy-makers:
- Fleet vehicles make a significant contribution to Europe’s road transport, with an estimated 35.6 million commercial vehicles and buses on the road – to say nothing of fleet passenger cars. Their decarbonisation will be essential for meeting our climate targets.
- The Clean Vehicles Directive promotes clean mobility solutions in public procurement tenders, and applies to cars, vans, trucks, and buses when procured by purchase, lease, rent or hire-purchase contracts, public service contracts, or service contracts. It sets targets by vehicle category and by Member State, with each free to decide how the target is to be met. This has direct application to regional and local authorities across Europe.
- The successful transition to a zero-emissions fleet is not just about replacing one fossil-fuel vehicle with an electric vehicle, but must also consider:
- Charging infrastructure
- Fleet management software
- Accessibility of renewable energy
- Utility and grid infrastructure
- Training of drivers and users
- Oslo, Norway, is a frontrunner in Europe for the electrification of its public transport fleet. The public transport company, Ruter, plans, coordinates, orders and markets public transport services from operators, with high ambitions to support sustainable transport, in line with national and regional targets. These include a target for zero-emission public transport, to be met by 2028. In reality, Oslo has almost reached that target five years early.
- Oslo achieved this through a dynamic tendering process, where they put the problem out to tender, without a specific focus on the technologies to be used, with a requirement for zero emissions to be achieved. By using public procurement, they were able to stimulate market development and get operators to take up new technologies. Ruter has noted that although infrastructure costs are higher for e-buses, these costs balance out with operational savings
- The transition in Oslo started from a two-year pilot that used six buses and trailed multiple charging approaches to learn how best to implement new transport options. Cities looking to electrify their fleets should start with small-scale pilots to test approaches, ensure providers are comfortable, and identify possible challenges, to find the best approach to follow. Turku in Finland has also made lots of progress with fleet electrification, with 70 of 200 buses already electrified.
- The Portuguese Energy Agency (ADENE) has looked at how to support organisations in meeting their obligations under the Clean Vehicles Directive, and developed MOVE+ Fleets, a voluntary scheme that classifies, compares and improves the energy and environmental efficiency of fleets by identifying opportunities for optimising costs. To ensure the proper application of the methodology, an auditor works with the companies to evaluate performance of vehicles, driver management, maintenance, and mileage and propose interventions to improve performance.
- Zemgale Region in Latvia, has made the step towards using electric vehicles for municipal services with the introduction of electric cars for police services. The process started with the regional development programme which set a priority for e-mobility uptake and was followed by a dedicated Mobility Plan (elaborated in the e-MOPOLI project) with a priority for municipal services.
- Electric vehicles were purchased by the Jelgava municipal police and the municipality, co-funded by the national government and European Structural and Investment Funds. These actions were accompanied by citizen engagement activities and also new pilot actions to build awareness of e-mobility.
- In Greece, a wide range of measures is in place to support the transition to electric vehicles, including subsidies for the electrification of company fleets and on taxi companies. These support the E-Mobility Law of 2020 and Climate Law of 2022, which set a broader framework including tax benefits for companies buying e-vehicles and minimum requirements for the use of net-zero vehicles for taxis and company cars.
- Greece’s support is divided into specific subsidy schemes targeting different audiences; GO-ELECTRIC targets companies and individuals, GREEN TAXIS targets fossil fuel taxis, looking to replace them with Battery Electric Vehicles, and ANTONIS TRITSIS provides 100% funding for municipalities for up to 10 municipal fleet EVs. Such subsidies are a signal to encourage first movers and help develop EV markets.
- Participants discuss the importance of the public sector leading by example in taking up electric mobility, and the power of public procurement in stimulating market development. Net-zero requirements should be integrated into public procurement to ensure that environmental impact is also taken into account in evaluation criteria.
- Where ongoing procurement contracts allow for it, change orders can be used (as done in Oslo) to add new requirements into existing long-term contracts. These allow for an evolution from the initially procured services and give public bodies a way to adapt contracts to new policy targets without the need to wait for the termination of the ongoing contract and without the need for a whole new tender.
- Cost-competitiveness was discussed as an important factor limiting the electrification of some sectors, but it was also noted that in many sectors the transition already makes economic sense. While initial costs may be higher for electric vehicles, their operational costs are lower and can lead to an overall cost saving.
- Different procurement approaches can be taken; leasing may be most interesting for private companies that frequently want to renew their fleets; Oslo also purchases mobility services rather than vehicles. Smaller municipalities often prefer purchasing, but this might be due to the fact that many subsidies and public funding schemes are geared toward purchasing.
- Several Interreg Europe projects tackle e-mobility, exploring e-bus deployment, passenger transport, financial and policy support, charging infrastructure, integration of renewables, and incentives and awareness raising.
- Public authorities should take advantage of opportunities to learn from other cities and regions which have already advanced with fleet electrification, through Interreg Europe projects and the Policy Learning Platform which can offer on-demand expert support through peer reviews and matchmakings.
Download the presentations below.