At a Glance
Engagement and Behavior Change, Zero Emission Vehicles, Freight and Logistics
Thomas identified cost effective and emission-saving opportunities for Milwaukee County to procure electric vehicles and infrastructure.
The Milwaukee County Fleet Management division enlisted Climate Corps Fellow Thomas Lenihan to develop a fleet electrification plan for select light and medium-duty vehicles. He was tasked with quantifying the financial and environmental costs and benefits of purchasing electric vehicle replacements to existing fleet vehicles, with the hope of finding a viable strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution on a tight budget.
Thomas analyzed three vehicle types within the fleet—airport shuttle buses, highway department cone trucks, and squad cars—that were due for replacement over the next few years. After collecting and analyzing data on each vehicle, Thomas utilized the AFLEET model to create a total cost of ownership for conventional and electric vehicle replacements he identified as the best fit given the fleet’s specific operational requirements.
Thomas then estimated the greenhouse gas emissions that would be produced over the life of each vehicle and quantified the externality costs that those emissions would incur. He surveyed the available electrical capacity at relevant county facilities, estimated the costs of installing charging infrastructure that could support a newly electrified cohort of fleet vehicles, then presented the results of his analysis to a coalition of county officials for evaluation.
Thomas’s analysis showed that purchasing the selected electric vehicles over their conventional counterparts would save the county $440,000 over the life of the vehicles. Thomas found that electrification would also avert roughly 4,250 metric tons of carbon dioxide, avoiding the equivalent of consuming 470,000 gallons of gasoline.
Replacing some or all these 28 vehicles will also serve as a pilot for other governmental EV procurements, and the installed infrastructure Thomas recommended would further improve the case for future electrification of emission-heavy medium and heavy-duty fleet vehicles.