Moving to an electric fleet is about more than buying an electric vehicle (EV); fleet managers also must consider the infrastructure needed. The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Cooperative Purchasing Program (CPP) is helping interested fleet managers by offering a new contract that includes electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).
"You can't really have one without the other [EVs without charging infrastructure] from the perspective of a fleet. You can have one, two, or three vehicles and you could use the smaller chargers. But if you start talking about fleets and doing things like shifts, you have to have a little more sophisticated infrastructure to charge the vehicles,” said Craig Chown, CPP manager.
The CPP, which was established in 1993, offers cooperative purchasing contracts for law enforcement agencies, fire and rescue departments and other first responder entities, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies such as counties and local municipalities both in Florida and across the country.
The bid for the new program just went live. The FSA and its fleet advisory committee worked with bidders and purchasers to prepare the bid. It offers four specification groups: Levels 1, 2, and 3 chargers, as well as software and equipment.
Chown explained that the FSA established the contract after receiving a lot of interest from customers as local governments work toward zero-emmission fleets. While the FSA was working out what would be included in the contract, Chown talked to some electric utility companies and fleet administrators about the other equipment customers would need for their fleets. In Florida, there are a lot of hurricane and tropical storm-related power outages. Chown added equipment that will work as a backup system in the event the charging stations can’t be used during power outages, or during peak electricity use times. Backup battery capabilities and solar panels can also be used to charge EVs in those instances.
The CPP is no stranger to EVs; it has offered them in contracts for a few years. Chown said fleet customers have shown interest in vehicles such as the Ford E-Transit, Ford F-150 Lighting, and the Chevy Silverado EV.
Approximately 20 companies have taken interest in the bid for this new contract, including some big names. Bid submissions from vendors are due April 5. The final award announcement will be made June 30.