Fleets: Electric vehicle producer sees opportunity in Obama fleet directive
At least one vehicle producer is excited about the recent White House announcement directing managers of federal fleets to buy 100-percent alternative fuel, hybrid or electric vehicles by 2015. The federal government operates a fleet of more than 600,000 vehicles, and buys 60,000 to 70,000 cars annually through GSA.
In the president’s announcement, Obama re-confirmed his commitment to a $7,500 federal incentive that applies to the purchase of electric vehicles, such as those made by Oak Park, Mich.-based Azure Dynamics. The company develops and produces hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles, including Azure’s Transit Connect Electric.
“This incentive offers a meaningful acquisition cost reduction for operators of fleets, thereby reducing the payback period associated with the technology,” said Peggy Prosser, Azure’s executive vice president of sales. “Then, in turn, more customers will opt for eco-friendly electrified vehicles, which will further increase volumes, allowing for manufacturing price reductions.”
Prosser told Govpro.com that she is hoping that with the federal government leading the transition to alternative energy vehicles, state and local government fleets will also make the switch. “Azure Dynamics already is listed on at least 15 state contracts and has sold units to many municipalities across the country. As these customers increase usage of hybrid electric and electric technology, we help reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil and also lessen our national carbon footprint. That is the goal of the president’s plan and is a goal that Azure Dynamics wholeheartedly supports.”
Azure’s Transit Connect Electric recently won an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity GSA contract (GS-30F-X0073). The award allows federal agency fleets and U.S. armed forces to order the electric zero-emission vehicles. The van can help federal agencies reach mandated fuel and emissions savings targets and help support the goal of 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015. The van offers a combination of car-like driving dynamics, substantial payload capacity and low operating costs.
According to Edmunds.com’s senior editor and Green Car Advisor John O’Dell, the president’s AFV fleet goal is “eminently doable by 2015.” Go
here to read his views at Govpro.com. An expert on fleets who is somewhat skeptical of the federal AFV target is Paul Lauria, president of Gaithersburg, Md.-based Mercury Associates, a fleet management consulting firm. Go
here to read his views at Govpro.com.