It’s Electric! Leading the Charge by Electrifying Our Fleet
It’s Electric! It isn’t just a catchy tune that you want to blast on your radio while thinking nostalgically about the electric slide.
It’s also becoming part of everyday life around the globe, including right here at Consumers Energy. We are leading the charge in Michigan’s electric vehicle transformation by planning to power 1 million EVs by 2030 in communities that we serve.
That includes working with 11 school districts to put all-electric school buses on the road. Domino’s Pizza is also rolling out 900 EVs across the country, including 24 at its seven Michigan locations.
And we are also taking steps towards a goal of electrifying more of our fleet. We are steadily moving toward having electric vehicles in the form of bucket trucks and light duty vehicles.
We expect 2024 to be a critical year for us as we welcome an all-electric bucket truck in Grand Rapids, and 20 Chevy Silverado EVs into our nearly 6,000-unit fleet family.
“We would like our fleet to be more environmentally friendly while realizing some significant savings from them,” said Sixto Fernandez, Alternative Fuels Manager in our fleet acquisition department. “We believe that partially electrifying our fleet is the one way to accomplish this goal.”
Analysis of internal fleet data will include partnering with drivers of various vehicles and departments to determine drive patterns and trip mileage scenarios best suited for an electric vehicle.
“We will study what we are driving, how far and where we are going with these vehicles,” said Fernandez. “This data will be a critical part in determining what EVs we purchase going forward.”
As of today, we plan to replace some of our light duty vehicles with EVs over the next several years where an EV fits well and can be supported with charging infrastructure. Currently, the Company has about 2,200 light vehicles in this category.
“Over the next few years, we must be very intentional about the vehicles we plan to electrify,” said Fernandez. “For example, we studied the effect cold temperatures would have on range when planning EV placement. This can help us forecast placement of EVs where they fit best.”
Our fleet is already utilizing 80 electric-only powered forklifts and Chevrolet Bolts.
“They have worked out quite well so far,” said Fernandez. “Transitioning a portion of our trucks, light duty vehicles and select equipment to electric power holds the potential to lower fleet maintenance costs because we won’t need to perform items like oil changes, or belt replacements, not to mention the fuel savings over the life of vehicle.”
“We want to put together a fleet that will help us realize the full potential of cutting costs and lowering carbon dioxide emissions,” Fernandez said. “And we are well on our way. There’s a lot more to come.”