Sean O'Gara, fleet manager supervisor for the city of Fairfield, testing out a BEV.   -  Photo: City of Fairfield

Sean O'Gara, fleet manager supervisor for the city of Fairfield, testing out a BEV. 

Photo: City of Fairfield

A Solectrac 25HP electric tractor is the latest "green" addition to the city of Fairfield, California. Complete with front loader, 3pt hitch, PTO, aux, plus a hydraulic outlet on the rear, the BEV is just another step toward the city's plan for an electric fleet

According to David Renschler, CPFP, fleet division manager for Fairfield, the city has been working on its electrification plan for about three years now.

"There's a lot of planning work and a lot of a lot of things that are going to change," Renschler said. "Electrification is something that is monumental."

For Renschler, having the infrastructure to accommodate an electric fleet is the first step toward that change. Fairfield received a $12 million grant to help with some of these infrastructure needs as well as the purchase of five more battery electric buses, which will be ordered next year. 

And with new regulations, such as the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation, which focuses on medium-and heavy-duty vehicles, Renschler knew the city would have to plan ahead for new vehicle purchases. 

Knowing that regulations would be coming down the road, the city began looking at off-road purchases, such as front-end loaders, backhoes, anything described as yellow iron, or heavy equipment. 

David Renschler, CPFP, fleet division manager for the city of Fairfield, tests out a BEV.   -  Photo: City of Fairfield

David Renschler, CPFP, fleet division manager for the city of Fairfield, tests out a BEV. 

Photo: City of Fairfield

Last year, the city ordered two lithium ion battery powered Caterpillar 5,000-pound capacity forklifts. Because the city had two that were up for replacement, the department went ahead and bought the electric forklifts, which are currently being used. 

There was also a deal in the works for an agricultural tractor that would be used at the water treatment plant. A grant helped with the purchase and the city is getting ready to put it in service. However, due to being short staffed, Renschler noted this will take a little extra time for it to be in use. 

On top of these other additions, the city added three Ford Lightnings back in June.

Chargers were installed as part of a pilot program and the city is now in the process of collecting data on the new vehicles. 

"We'll analyze that data and take a look at what we can do moving forward to meet on- and off-road regulations here in California," Renschler said, adding that he hopes to have at least six months of full data the city can look at. 

Renschler noted that data needs to communicate with the fleet management information system so that it can be analyzed. He added that once that data is collected through those systems, it needs to be exported to the city's data broker so that the city can collect on LCFS credits, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits, as this is a revenue source for Fairfield.

“Here in California, it's one that provides revenue to us based on the electricity we use,” Renschler explained. “You need to capture as much revenue as you can. And then there are restrictions on that revenue and how you can use it. So basically, you have to put it back into your life electrification projects. It’s a little more complicated than just putting in a charger, and buying a vehicle.”

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