Salt Lake City Debuts All-Electric Parking Enforcement Vehicles!
By Ryan Anderson, SLCgreen intern
(Originally published on the Utah Clean Cities blog. We thank them for helping support this initiative!)
The Salt Lake City Compliance Division has a colorful, new addition to their Parking Enforcement fleet. Four all-electric Chevrolet Bolts have replaced old JEEP Wranglers to deliver financial savings and notable pollution reductions.
“It’s important that we lead by example and demonstrate how electric vehicles offer a reliable, safe and efficient alternative to gas-powered cars,” stated Greg Fieseler, Compliance Division Field Supervisor. “The electric cars are fun to drive too!”
Greg acknowledged there was initially some skepticism among staff that the new EVs would prove viable as fleet vehicles. That skepticism has been replaced by enthusiasm as the electric cars are now “the preferred choice” for most employees.
Compliance has been able to seamlessly integrate these vehicles without any modifications to routes or other significant operational changes. Even with 90 degree-plus heat throughout July and the A/C running for most of the day, the 200-plus mile range of the Bolts has allowed officers to complete their daily routes with energy to spare.
Lorna Vogt, Deputy Director of Operations for Salt Lake City Public Services, also likes the look of the new cars and the message they convey to the community. The old JEEP Wranglers were sometimes perceived as intimidating, whereas the Chevy Bolts have a friendlier look that aligns with the Division’s “primary mission of educating and not simply penalizing people for violating parking rules.”
In addition to stylish looks and a fun driving experience, the EVs are also delivering serious operational savings. Low-speed travel and frequent stopping led to fuel consumption averaging around 10 MPG for JEEP Wranglers in the fleet. Compare this to a Chevy Bolt which averages around 119 MPG-equivalent according to FuelEconomy.gov.
Use in actual operations for Compliance shows the vehicles are averaging around 3 miles per kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed through three months. This equates to an energy cost of 3 cents per mile for the EVs (assumes 9.0 cents / kWh) compared to 30 cents per mile for the Wranglers (assumes $3.00 / gallon) – an energy cost savings of 90%!
For a vehicle traveling 12,000 miles per year, energy cost savings like these add up to over $3,000 annually and quickly pay back any initial cost premium.
The new electric cars are also expected to have far fewer maintenance costs than their gasoline counterparts. The Compliance Division will be able to track and quantify actual savings over time, but reports published by organizations like AAA suggest EVs have the lowest maintenance and repair costs of any vehicle type.
While low operating costs are attractive, these new vehicles arguably deliver their most important benefits when it comes to pollution reductions and air quality improvements. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) published an evaluation in 2017 of EVs operating along the Wasatch Front in Utah that demonstrated up to a 99% reduction in local air quality pollutants relative to a new gasoline vehicle.
The SWEEP research also documented a carbon emissions benefit of 19% for EVs in Utah, but analysis of the Compliance Division fleet suggests an even bigger savings for their operations. Based on the energy consumption averages mentioned above, Salt Lake City expects the Chevy Bolts will reduce carbon emissions 72% on a mile-per-mile basis relative to the JEEP Wranglers.
This is certainly a step in the right direction for the City and our Climate Positive community goals.
Electric vehicles will rise in relevance and popularity in coming years, but the Salt Lake City fleet is proving that these cars can be air quality and financial winners today. Well done, Compliance Division and Parking Enforcement team!
Note on Supporting Organizations: The expansion of Salt Lake City’s clean fleet has been accelerated by partnerships and support from a variety of organizations. Salt Lake City thanks the Utah Division of Air Quality and its Clean Fuel Grant Program for assistance with purchasing the new Compliance Division EVs and also supporting infrastructure to charge electric fleet vehicles. Rocky Mountain Power also offers great incentives for non-residential EV charging stations, plus support for plug-in fleet vehicles, and continues to convene stakeholders and inspire innovation through its Live Electric initiative. Finally, a great deal of gratitude goes to Utah Clean Cities and its staff for leading the way with educational programming and technical support for many years.