Nissan LEAF Fleets Save City of Houston $110,000 Annually and Cut City of Loveland’s “Fuel” Costs by 41%

JAN 3 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 8

“Electric Vehicles Help Houston Save $110,000 Annually, New Study Finds”

When You've Got a Fleet of LEAFs, You're Bound to Save Money

When You’ve Got a Fleet of LEAFs, You’re Bound to Save Money

That’s the headline of a press release recently put out by the Electrification Coalition.

The press release continues with this statement:

Cities are saving money by using electric vehicles (EVs) in their vehicle fleets, two new studies find. City officials in Houston, Texas, estimate that the city’s 27 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles will save the city $110,000 annually compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. A similar study examining Loveland, Colo. found that the city’s LEAFs will cost 41 percent less to own and operate than gasoline-powered vehicles.”

Now, if word of this spread to cities throughout the US, then EV adoption would almost surely rise quickly.

We’re all well aware of the savings EVs bring at the fleet level, but it seems like most fleets (or the entity that oversees them) don’t have a no clue.

That’s not the case in Houston or Loveland, where LEAFs have been part of their fleets for some time now.

Laura Spanjian, director of sustainability for the City of Houston, stated:

“Houston first began using electric vehicles for the environmental benefits they offer, but now we are planning to add even more EVs to our fleet because of the cost savings they bring.  We project that electric vehicles will save the city $110,000 per year in reduced fuel and maintenance, costs that we would otherwise have to spend on gas-powered vehicles.”

Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez says this of the electric vehicles in use there:

Nissan LEAFs Save Loveland 41%

Nissan LEAFs Save Loveland 41%

“Loveland needed to do something about rising fuel costs, and electric vehicles have proven to be a great solution, saving us about 41 percent overall compared to gas-powered vehicles.  In tough economic times, these savings cannot be ignored. Loveland is now aiming to convert all of its light-duty fleet vehicles that work within a close distance of the city to EVs.”

The case studies released by the Electrification Coalition include—“The City of Houston: Forward Thinking on Electrification” and “The City of Loveland: Marrying Functionality and Economics.”

Here are some additional findings, as presented by the Electrification Coalition:

  • Houston: Centralizing management of capital and operational expenditures under one office was crucial in capturing “total cost of ownership” savings. 
  • Houston: The city also made it easier for its employees to use electric and other green vehicles by implementing an innovative car sharing reservation program. The city equipped 50 EV, PHEV and HEV vehicles with Zipcar’s Fast Fleet wireless technology, enabling employees to reserve available vehicles in the fleet pool. The program has seven locations and handles nearly 600 reservations per month.
  • Houston: Charging infrastructure is a key piece of the city’s electric vehicle FleetShare strategy. To date, the city has installed 77 level two (220v) and 32 level one (110v) charging stations throughout the City. 
  • Loveland: Initial employee skepticism was quickly overcome—usually in one use—by the vehicle’s better-than-perceived reliability, performance, and range. Repeat usage by employees is very high.
  • Loveland: The city has plans to incorporate four more EVs into its fleet by the end of 2014.

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8 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Fleets Save City of Houston $110,000 Annually and Cut City of Loveland’s “Fuel” Costs by 41%"

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A lot of the local counties our area alone have hundreds of county owned cars where in a lot of cases they simply drive around from house to house checking on utilities and tax assessments. Also the good news is a lot of the driving is in suburban areas. For the rural rugged areas they could always use the existing pick up and SUV fleets for those but the bulk of these cars could work in our area. Now if they ever came out with a 150 mile range leaf there would be no reason why we couldn’t use these in our rural areas and replace 80% of our gas powered cars with them.

Look for a boost in range from Nissan in 2015, once the Infinity EV ships!!

That is great feedback from fleet users. I wonder how many of the employees have switched to EV’s in their personal life after having time behind the wheel at work.

I’m a bit shocked that Houston was able to pull this off, given that oil is their major industry.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Maybe they’re wising up and not getting high off their own supply? 🙂

So now we need to see if Nissan prices the 2014 LEAF for the consumer market or for the fleet market. Given these savings with fleet use, Nissan could keep the price high. But the 2013 LEAF is already advertised at about $2000 below the MSRP, and Ford and Chevy have cut their prices to gain market share. Nissan has optimized its models and options for the 2014 LEAF, so production costs should be reduced. The high depreciation on a used LEAF is an indication that the MSRP is way too high. For the consumer, the 2014 LEAF needs at least a 10% price reduction.

10% seems light. For mass adoption, due to range anxiety of 80 or even 120, a small EV new will have to be priced at below an ICE vehicle cost, to sell at levels matching their Altima. A used Leaf at $15k is appealing to many but the worry is battery degradation. A used Volt at 15k is very compelling due to no range anxiety.

What the article doesn’t mention is whether or not any cars have had their packs degraded to the point of unuseability yet. That’s critical to determining TCOE, and for the Houston climate I’d have serious doubts whether they’d save themselves any money compared to a good HEV, or at least a BEV with a liquid-cooled TMS. Could be they’re headed for a rude awakening after next summer – we’ve already had several MNL members in Texas report seriously degraded packs.