The Prince William County Department of Facilities and Fleet Management recently received its first new, all-electric vehicle, or EV, with more to come.
The county’s new Chevrolet Bolt joins the fleet of 1,458 county vehicles that includes 24 hybrids along with its gas-powered vehicles.
“We’ve had hybrids in the fleet going back to 2008,” Darrel Reynolds, assistant director of Facilities and Fleet Management, said in a news release. “With the board’s direction to be carbon neutral by 2050, we have to start bringing in efficient vehicles now.”
The county is expected to have 80 all-electric, plug-in-hybrid or hybrid vehicles in its fleet by 2024. The vehicles will match user needs.
“What we’re looking at is, as vehicles are due for replacement during the normal cycle, that there is a viable electric or hybrid version for the needs of each department,” Reynolds said. “We’re not going to give them an electric vehicle for the sake of giving them an electric vehicle and that we’re not just getting rid of vehicles just to bring electrics and hybrids in.”
All-electric vehicles and hybrids save expenses in maintenance and fuel. The Chevrolet Bolt is rated for 275 miles to a charge, which will fit most of the county’s needs.
“All statistics state that there are 1,000 less moving parts in an EV, which means that you’re going to save money for maintenance and repairs,” said Customer Service Manager Brent Lineberger. “For example, oil changes are a thing of the past with EVs. Your brake wear is reduced because you’re using regenerative braking to slow the vehicle, hence that kinetic energy is put back into the battery if you’re using a hybrid.”
The county recently installed 10 charging stations at the McCoart Government Center and will install more across the county as the need arises.
Facilities and fleet management will also require support as the county adds new vehicles.
“Along with putting hybrids or EVs in place, we want to make sure that there is a vendor that can support us after the sale. Things fail and we need to have proper parts distribution,” Lineberger said. “We’ll also need training of our technicians to ensure that they are safe working around these products and that they can support the vehicles as we move in that direction.”
As manufacturers replace existing gas-powered models with comparable EV and hybrid models, Facilities and Fleet Management will be able to easily replace older vehicles.
“It’s not going to be something that we have to justify why we’re giving them an electric vehicle. It should be the same thing they’re driving, just with a different power source,” Reynolds said.