Fleet electrification is not done in one fell swoop. Rather, it's done with careful planning and, in most cases, with the knowledge that electric vehicles (EVs) will slowly become integrated into a fleet when available.
The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an example of that kind of long-term planning for transitioning a fleet. On Tuesday, March 21, the Milwaukee Common Council approved an ordinance that would cement the transition of the fleet from gas vehicles to electric.
The ordinance, introduced by Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic in early March, directs future city vehicle purchasing, "to the greatest extent practicable," be low- or zero-emission. The goal is to eventually replace city-owned vehicles with those that operate with cleaner, sustainable alternative fuels.
As part of the Milwaukee Climate and Equity Plan, the city is looking to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Milwaukee has already placed 14 electric cars in service over the last two years, and is looking to increase the number of electric vehicles with each budget cycle, according to Jeffrey Tews, CPFP, interim fleet services manager for the city.
At the end of 2022 the city added four new Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles to be used for the city's parking enforcement unit, according to WUWM.
While the ordinance primarily covers electric vehicles it also promotes hybrids and other alternative fueled vehicles if electric versions are not available or economically feasible to purchase. One example is CNG powered refuse trucks, which make up over half of Milwaukee’s refuse truck fleet.
Tews noted that Milwaukee will continue to purchase electric vehicles when opportunities arise, and supplement with hybrids and CNG vehicles until electric versions of more vehicle types become prevalent.
As with most changes in fleet, other factors need to be considered. In this case, infrastructure. Tews explained that Level 2 charging systems are being strategically installed where electric vehicles are currently deployed.
Additional Level 2 and some Level 3 systems are planned for most of the 18 parking facilities for fleet vehicles. The City is also working with a consultant to plan for public/private partnerships to build public access Level 3 charging systems throughout the city which would also be accessible to city vehicles.