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Tools available to help Michigan municipalities get 'clean' fleets

Ann Arbor Clean Fleet electric vehicle charging at fast-chargerWhen the City of Ann Arbor was recognized by the National Association of Fleet Administrators earlier this year for its Green Fleet, it was just the latest accolade that honored the municipality for its implementation of a clean fleet policy that it adopted in 2000 to reduce the impact of fuel use on public health and the environment. In 1997, the city joined the Cities for Climate Protection program to reduce global warming emissions, and in 1999, it became a designated member of the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program.

Ann Arbor's policy laid the groundwork for implementing its clean fleet today that features 25 electric vehicle (EV) light vehicles in service, with 16 more on order, and five EV heavy duty vehicles, with one more on order.

Joining the fleet next Spring is an electric garbage truck - believed to be the first municipality in Michigan to get one.

Missy Stults, the city's sustainability and innovations manager, credits the steady progress made to setting a goal and having an executive champion, having a committed team and a qualified fleet manager to help navigate the landscape. "We are really lucky in Ann Arbor that we have commitment from the top of the organization and the top of fleet management to make electrification a reality where it can meet our operational needs," she said.

What Ann Arbor has accomplished can be achieved by other Michigan municipalities, says Debbie Swartz, EGLE environmental quality specialist. To make the process easy, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently sponsored a free webinar (now archived) -- You'll Never Walk Alone: Using Tools and Resources for Local Government Clean Fleets. The webinar features free tools available to help municipalities start the process toward a clean fleet.

EGLE also recently hosted a webinar on the third round of grants through its Fuel Transformation Program. The grants are for governmental/public and private entities to replace Class 4-8 diesel trucks, drayage vehicles, transit, and shuttle buses with new all-electric or hydrogen fuel cell versions. The webinar is free and has been archived for viewing. Applications for the grants will be accepted until Dec. 17.

Caption: Ann Arbor clean fleet electric vehicle using fast-charger. Credit: City of Ann Arbor

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