5 benefits of electric vehicles on the environment in cities and states

benefits of electric vehicles on the environment

The electric vehicle is fast becoming a critical component of public fleets. Although less than 1% of federal government fleet vehicles were electric in 2022, the benefits that they’ve captured for their organizations are demonstrable in many ways.

It won’t be long before the average city fleet consists primarily of electric vehicles. Today, thousands of fleet managers are beginning to make the switch, specifically citing environmental benefits for their cities and communities.

Let’s take a closer look at how electric vehicles are better for municipal environments.

How electric vehicles differ from fossil fuel vehicles

Electric vehicles operate on one or more electric motors powered by rechargeable batteries. There are other notable differences when compared to combustible vehicles:

  • Electric vehicles use motors, not engines, to get from place to place.
  • Electric vehicles need a battery charge to continue operations, not fossil fuel.
  • Electric vehicles do not need oil changes and instead, just require routine maintenance.

There are several different kinds of electric vehicles on the market. The most widely used ones for cities and states include:

  • BEVs: Battery electric vehicles are completely electric and do not require additional fossil fuel to operate.
  • PHEVs: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use a hybrid of fossil fuel and electricity to get from place to place. The charging process may occur through plug-in L2 chargers or regenerative braking systems.
  • HEVs: Hybrid electric vehicles also use a hybrid of fossil fuel and electricity, but they can only charge through regenerative braking and do not have a plug-in outlet.

The public acquisition of electric vehicles continues to rise. In 2021, federal public fleets acquired an additional 500 electric vehicles, doubling their rate of acquisition from the year prior. This showcases a rapid increase in adoption for government organizations and an increased interest in urban health and environmental benefits.

The five benefits of electric vehicles on the environment for cities

If you’re curious about implementing electric vehicles for your city or state organization, explore how the environmental benefits of electric fleet vehicles have encouraged public fleet managers to join the nationwide electric vehicle transformation.

1. Fewer emissions

Perhaps the largest and most obvious benefit of the electric vehicle is the lower emissions output. Nearly all types of electric vehicles have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional vehicles, even accounting for electricity generation.

2. Environmental justice

Civilians in busy urban areas are more likely to suffer from air pollution than other demographics. The use of electric vehicles may lead to less pollution in dense urban environments, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, more affordable transportation, and fewer toxicity effects from fumes or production.

3. Less noise

Electric vehicles can reduce the amount of noise within urban communities. Since they make less noise than their fossil fuel counterparts (and even require an artificial tone to identify their presence), widespread adoption may result in quieter communities and a more equitable home life for civilians.

4. Reallocated budget

Experts suggest that electric vehicles may become a less-expensive alternative to traditional cars. They are cheaper to maintain per mile, leading to more than $1.18 billion in savings by replacing fossil-fuel-powered buses and light-duty vehicles.

5. Increasing fleet lifespan

The lifespan of the fleet has continued to rise, and the acquisition of electric vehicles may be able to help. Today, fleet managers expect their vehicles to live 6.8 to 17.4 years at max, with an average age of 14.8 years overall. Electric vehicles have a demonstrable lifespan of up to ten years, with the potential to reach twenty years or more in the future.

How to acquire electric vehicles for your city

You’re ready to acquire fleet vehicles for your city or state organization but are not sure where to start looking at your options. As a school or government entity in North America, you have two avenues:

  1. Write RFPs: These take nine months at minimum and require you to vet individual bids, with additional considerations for compliance regulations.
  2. Use cooperative contracts: This process takes as little as four weeks and does not require you to write a traditional RFP.

Cooperative contracts are competitively solicited purchasing agreements that help you streamline the acquisition of electric vehicles. Compliance is baked into the contract when competitively solicited by another public entity, contributing to a faster order-to-delivery and an overall stress-free process.

You don’t need any prior experience to start using cooperative contracts. In fact, Sourcewell can get you started right away.

See how easy it is to get the EV fleet you need without the hassle using Sourcewell’s cooperative purchasing program. Streamline the public procurement process by choosing from hundreds of suppliers already on contract. Sourcewell’s procurement experts competitively solicit and award contracts on behalf of 50,000 participating agencies in North America. Sourcewell has been a government-empowering organization since 1978. Check out our contracts here.