City of Durham

At a Glance


Government/Public Administration

Project Type

Zero Emission Vehicles, Freight and Logistics




Durham, NC


Cassidy Pearson created a replicable fleet electrification planning process to facilitate medium- and heavy- duty vehicle electrification and policies for the City of Durham.


The City of Durham aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 through four main actions: Energy Efficiency, Energy Generation, Vehicle Electrification, and Community Partnerships. In anticipation of their vehicle electrification goals, the City of Durham charged Cassidy Pearson with investigating how to decarbonize a “sticky”, but rapidly expanding sector of electric vehicle technology: medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Furthermore, to ensure a successful transition to zero-emission vehicles, she studied best-in-class policies and recommendations from peer cities.


Pearson approached analysis of the city’s medium- and heavy- duty electric vehicle opportunities by: 

  • Planning for increased electric vehicle adoption rates by outlining several key policies that will reduce hurdles to fleet decarbonization. She evaluated and analyzed City-specific needs, including take-home vehicles, City-facing charging, and fuel reduction strategies.

  • Modeling electric vehicle replacement by modifying industry tools to address City-specific needs for identifying candidates for electrification. She evaluated cost, emissions, and duty-cycle needs, and recommended some vehicles for initial pilot trials. 

  • Assigning a dollar value to medium- and heavy-duty vehicle replacement. Pearson developed a business case to assess current fleet opportunities to electrify and quantified lifetime savings and carbon reduction.

Potential Impact

Replacing transit buses with battery electric buses would offset over 8,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions and save the City of Durham $51 million over the lifetime of the buses. Pearson’s analysis also determined several vehicle models that can be piloted to introduce zero-emission vehicles to the City of Durham’s fleet.

In coming years, adoption of these pilot vehicles will demonstrate the feasibility of introducing electric vehicles to the City’s fleet. The tool provided will allow the City to reassess the business case for electrification in coming years as medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle technology becomes more readily available.

Pearson also analyzed internal policies to reduce gasoline and diesel consumption and facilitate the transition to electric vehicles, with estimated offset over 2,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the vehicles and savings of over $130 thousand.

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