Electric vehicles' challenges and opportunities for public organizations

electric vehicles challenges and opportunities

Government fleet managers and their partners in procurement have to think differently due to the increasing popularity of electric vehicles. They have become viable options for fleets, as their reliability and affordability are on par with traditional fuel vehicles, and they might offer attractive economies of scale.

Therefore, it’s time for state and local governments to develop transition plans and implementation strategies. Since they’re dealing with public money, fleet and procurement teams have to do this thoughtfully to ensure full compliance with present and future regulations and meet sustainability goals.

The transition also has to be done with the bigger picture in mind: explaining to senior managers and the public why a higher upfront investment, including charging infrastructure, will pay off later.

Understanding electric vehicles’ challenges and opportunities for government organizations can pave the way to an effective transition.

Assessing electric vehicles' challenges and opportunities

The environment that we share is the most obvious beneficiary of electric vehicles and one of the main reasons that the auto industry is accelerating its recapitalization to offer the technology. The urgency to do so keeps rising as our understanding of the impacts of climate change continues to grow.

Electric vehicles are shown to reduce the harmful gas emissions that erode the ozone layer, and they also help make the air easier to breathe. Emission-free vehicles contribute to lower air pollution levels and help lower noise pollution, as they typically emit a subtle hum versus a diesel groan.

Organizations can reinvest their savings from the shift to electric vehicles into other environmental projects, such as renewable energy.

Improved economics through electric vehicles

A successful transition to electric vehicles will require a realistic cost-benefit analysis to justify potentially higher start-up costs. Electric vehicles provide several financial benefits that should set the public’s mind at ease. Gaining an understanding of their challenges and opportunities will help realize these economies, including:

  • Lower maintenance costs. Electric vehicles have fewer parts, which inherently means fewer things that can break.
  • Lower fuel costs. While electricity also costs money, it is far less than filling up the gas tank after a certain amount of miles.
  • Purchasing incentives. The government is currently offering tax breaks to make the purchase of electric vehicles more attractive. These will not last forever, though, so taking advantage of them now and citing them in your plan can accelerate your transition.
  • Public relations. The general public, particularly younger generations, is more environmentally aware than previous generations. Many want to know that their governments and the businesses that they support share their values. Improving your reputation can make your city or county more attractive to live in and do business with.
  • Improved operational efficiency. Features like improved performance, acceleration, reliability, and durability contribute to keeping electric vehicles in service. Electric vehicles also have less downtime for maintenance and repairs.

Downsides of electric vehicles

The list of benefits provides a counter-balance to electric vehicles’ challenges in the transition of your fleet. That said, you’ll need to understand these challenges so you can properly plan for them in your transition.

Right now, all-electric vehicles may have a limited range before needing to be charged, and the charging process, while getting better, still takes time. There’s also the issue of charging infrastructure. Availability is changing rapidly, but your ability to transition to electric vehicles will correlate to how quickly the system is built across the country. States like California are experimenting with building charging capabilities directly into roads.

Another challenge is the fact that the technology in electric vehicles is changing rapidly. What you buy today may be obsolete tomorrow. Of course, that’s true of almost any piece of technology.

Finally, the transition to electric requires a commitment to training. While electric vehicles offer a similar driving experience, it’s not identical. When managing a large fleet of electric vehicles, you will have to pay close attention to the knowledge level and comfortability of your staff in the switch.

Tackle electric vehicles’ challenges and opportunities with Sourcewell

Many fleet and procurement managers have much to learn about the most effective transition to electric vehicles. Cooperative contracting with an organization like Sourcewell can help.

This method of contracting can simplify your transition by giving you efficient access to competitively solicited vendors qualified to meet your team’s requirements. Cooperative contracting also puts the collective wisdom of other fleet and procurement managers to work. The act of cooperative contracts reflects the knowledge of many years of experience as the contracts are finalized.

Increasingly, state and local governments need to replace their vehicle fleets to meet new standards and find ways to be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. That requires learning about electric vehicles’ challenges and opportunities.

Government fleet and procurement managers need to comply with future regulations and sustainability initiatives in their evaluation of how to transition smoothly to electric vehicles. Sourcewell can help with its current offerings for electric fleet vehicles.

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.