Local fleets first to join West Coast electric vehicle initiative

New initiative accelerates drive for electric vehicle purchases

SEATTLE, Wa – Five Western Washington Clean Cities members and stakeholders are the first in the state to join West Coast Electric Fleets, an initiative of the Pacific Coast Collaborative to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and reduce petroleum use. The Collaborative is a joint effort between the states of California, Oregon, and Washington and the province of British Columbia to accelerate a low-carbon economy on the West Coast.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced the new initiative at Drive Oregon’s EV Roadmap Conference taking place this week in Portland. Joining West Coast Electric Fleets signals a commitment of charter fleets to evaluate, purchase, and use zero-emission vehicles as often as possible. Five Washington fleets have signed on, and include: the City of Seattle, the City of Olympia, and the Washington State Departments of Commerce, Enterprise Services, and Transportation – all Western Washington Clean Cities stakeholders.

“We are proud that our member fleets are among the first to join West Coast Electric Fleets,” said Kimberley Cline, Coordinator of Partnerships, Policy & Outreach for Western Washington Clean Cities. “Their leadership paves the way for meaningful reductions in climate pollution, and toward a clean energy future.”

West Coast Electric Fleets is designed to help fleet managers incorporate zero-emission vehicles and provide access to a peer-to-peer network to help operators learn from one another as they scale up use of electric vehicles and associated infrastructure. Along with the five Washington-based fleets, at least 15 other West Coast vehicle fleets have joined as initial participants, including city fleets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, and Vancouver, BC.

“Seattle is thrilled to join West Coast Electric Fleet as an Express Lane organization,” said Andrea Pratt, Green Fleet Program Manager for the City of Seattle. “This pledge underscores our commitment to reducing emissions in our fleet and fully supports our Green Fleet Action Plan. Seattle operates one of the largest municipal green fleets in the nation. We look forward to leading by example and expanding the use of zero-emission vehicles for our fleet in the years to come.”

Because they can utilize centralized charging, often have predictable routes and typically focus on life-time vehicle costs, fleet operations are well suited to expand use of electric vehicles. And, fleets comprise a major market for new vehicle purchases; for example, more than 42,000 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles were sold to fleets in California, Oregon and Washington in 2014.

Electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions, resulting in cleaner air and less greenhouse gas pollution. Fleets that use electric vehicles directly benefit due to reduced operating and maintenance costs, particularly since Washington State’s electricity rates are among the lowest in the country.

“Washington State agencies have historically been, and wish to continue to be, leaders in meeting the state’s goals for reducing climate impacts and air pollution, and supporting new economic development opportunities,” said Peter Moulton, Alternative Fuels & Vehicles Policy Coordinator for the Washington State Department of Commerce.

British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington are signatories to the 2013 Pacific Coast Collaborative Action Plan on Climate and Energy. At a 2014 meeting in Portland, Oregon, PCC signatories pledged to “take actions to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles, aiming for 10 percent of new vehicle purchases in public and private fleets by 2016.” The West Coast Electric Fleet initiative represents an important step toward advancing that goal.

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Western Washington Clean Cities is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to expanding the use of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies in the Pacific Northwest. Initiatives focus on alternative fuels and vehicles, fuel blends, fuel economy, hybrid electric vehicles, and idle reduction.Western Washington Clean Cities is one of nearly 100 coalitions across the country in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program. 

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