For Immediate Release
Ellen Carey
Director of Media Relations
direct: 202.461.2382
December 12, 2013

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

Loveland, Colo. also benefiting from municipal use of electric vehicles

Washington, D.C.—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. 

“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,” said Laura Spanjian, director of sustainability for the City of Houston. “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. Also, our new car sharing program FleetShare, which we developed with ZipCar, provides easy access to the vehicles for Houston’s employees.” 

Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez also said that using electric vehicles saves his city money.  

“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,” Gutierrez said. “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.” 

Cities across the country are adding electric vehicles to their fleets in order to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits. The two new case studies released today by the Electrification Coalition—“The City of Houston: Forward Thinking on Electrification,” and “The City of Loveland: Marrying Functionality and Economics”—offer new insight into the benefits of municipal fleet electrification as well as best practices and lessons-learned.  

“After only three years on the market, electric vehicles are already proving themselves as smart economic choices for municipal and commercial vehicle fleets,” said Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of the Electrification Coalition. “Fleets are leading the way to widespread adoption of EVs, which is crucial for protecting our nation from the economic and national security threats posed by oil dependence.”

Additional findings of the new studies include:

  • 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.