The Fuse

Making Good Financial E-mobility Decisions for Your Fleet

March 30, 2022

By Todd Mouw

This post originally appeared on the Electrification Coalition blog.

E-mobility can make a lot of sense financially for many fleets, from transit vehicles to work trucks. The key for fleet operators is to ask important money-related questions at the front end of the process. For example, how will the vehicles be used, and when will return on investment be realized? What vehicle options are available to accomplish the task? And, perhaps most importantly, what incentives and grants are available to cover the gaps?

For this last question, begin by determining who you can partner with to help with the funding process. It’s important to have a partner to navigate through the process complexities, ideally one with years of experience in electrified powertrains and applications in the mobility space. Partners that have thousands of vehicles operating in the field, millions of miles of data and an established culture of prioritizing customer support can offer a great deal of value beyond just the transactional purchase of a vehicle.

It’s even more beneficial if your partner has dedicated personnel that can help you understand how coupling different funding opportunities can make an e-mobility project more affordable. Such a team can help with:

  • Fostering relationships with federal and state legislators to ensure incentives and appropriations are made available for projects.
  • Determining project cost, including that of a charging station, labor to install and other related issues as well as emissions quantifications.
  • Identifying grants and funding for infrastructure.
  • Writing grants.
  • Building relationships with utility companies to optimize the entire charging experience to better manage costs.

States like California, which is leading the push behind e-mobility, are motivated to protect the public from the harmful effects of air pollution by developing programs and actions to fight climate change. Financial incentives drive e-mobility awareness, interest, trial and preference – and California uses funding mechanisms such as the Hybrid Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP) as well as regional dollars through air quality management districts to enhance this opportunity. Funding of pilot programs and smaller initial deployments on the medium- and heavy-duty trucking side help fleet operators establish of best practices and lessons learned, impacting future decisions and scalability. All of this creates fleet demand. In turn, OEMs’ investment in electric vehicles is eventually cost-competitive at the point of sale, with greater ROI realized throughout the vehicle life.

There are many funding sources available to a fleet operator, which is why it’s helpful to have a partner that’s fluent in these incentives and programs. At the federal level, the U.S, Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation are the agencies primarily funding vehicle electrification. Additional agencies have rebates and incentives, though, like the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense.

At the state level, Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funding is one funding source, as are market-based programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Oregon’s Low Carbon Fuel program. Other rebates and incentives are available from regional air quality districts such as the Regional Air Quality Council in Colorado.

Fleet operators have consistently offered feedback that making cost-effective purchasing decisions is their top priority. A knowledgeable, trustworthy partner with experience in producing reliable vehicles in an affordable manner is an absolute must-have in today’s electric truck market.

What’s your next step in the e-mobility adoption process?

Todd Mouw is the president of ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of clean advanced transportation technology.