When thinking about electric vehicles (EVs), cars are probably what comes to mind first. However EVs can also be buses, bikes, scooters, garbage trucks and specialised equipment such as ride-on electric mowers and electric street sweepers.
While emissions standards for vehicles likes cars, trucks and buses started in 1995, cleansing and landscaping equipment like mowers and street sweepers have never had standards imposed. For councils and their contractors, this means that switching from petrol- or diesel-powered equipment and vehicles to electric is one of the quickest ways to reduce carbon emissions. People are often shocked to learn that running a petrol-powered lawn mower for just one hour emits the same amount of air pollution as driving a petrol-powered Toyota Camry from Melbourne to Canberra.
If you’re considering switching to EV outdoor cleansing and landscaping equipment to help reduce carbon emissions, uncovering the total cost of ownership (TCO) will be an important part of the procurement process.
TCO refers to the total cost associated with owning and operating a vehicle over its entire life cycle, including purchase, maintenance, fuel, replacement, and disposal costs. It’s an essential factor to consider when making a purchase decision, especially when transitioning to EVs, as it provides a more comprehensive view of the costs associated with the purchase.
TCO can help councils and contractors make better, more informed decisions about their capital purchases.
Identifying your needs and objectives is the first step in working out the TCO for an EV. This process involves:
EVs have different maintenance requirements than traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. They typically require less frequent maintenance for components such as brakes and oil changes.
Review and assess the current and future state maintenance requirements for existing and proposed EVs.
Goals and targets should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, you may set a goal to replace 50% of your fleet’s outdoor ICE landscaping vehicles with EVs within the next 3 years. Set a target to reduce maintenance and fuel costs through the transition to EVs, even by as much as 80%.
You may also want to consider including charging infrastructure in your goal setting, and ensuring it’s compatible with your EVs and meets safety standards.
A procurement policy is core to buying and managing council assets. Council’s procurement policy may need to evolve to keep in step with advances in technology. This step involves:
It’s also essential to establish clear procedures for tracking and reporting on your EV’s performance, including monitoring maintenance costs and energy consumption.
EVs and ICE vehicles have different costs and benefits that can affect their total cost of ownership (TCO) over the long term. A TCO analysis helps compare the costs and benefits of EVs and ICE vehicles.
The TCO of a vehicle includes the:
EVs typically have a higher upfront cost than ICE vehicles because of the cost of the battery and electric powertrain. However, over time, the lower fuel and maintenance costs of EVs can offset the higher upfront cost, resulting in the lower TCO for EVs. Less maintenance also means more operational time for the EV, which can also affect your targets.
Federal and state governments may offer incentives, such as tax credits, rebates, and grants, to promote the adoption of EVs. Some financial institutions offer sustainability-linked finance options for the purchase of green technology.
Investigate financial incentives and financing options that can make the upfront purchase price of an EV more affordable.
When researching cleansing and landscaping EV models and specifications, there are several factors to consider to ensure you choose the right EV for your council’s needs.
Start by researching different EV models available and their features, such as battery size, range, charging time, and maintenance requirements. For electric mowers, consider how many acres can be mowed per charge. For street scrubbers and sweepers, consider how many hours of operation can be expected before recharging is required. Think about specific training staff may need.
Consider the range of the EV and whether it meets your organisation’s needs. Read unbiased reviews. If possible, arrange a test drive to get a feel for how the EV performs and handles.
Consider the charging requirements of the EVs, such as the type of charging port required and charging speed. Will there be sufficient charge in the battery to work a full shift? Will council need to install 3-phase power charging stations? Can the EVs be charged safely overnight?
Review the battery life of the EV and the warranty the manufacturer offers. This will give you an idea of how long the battery will last and how much it will cost to replace if needed. Check the warranty terms and conditions to ensure that you are fully covered.
Setting and implementing a procurement strategy helps a council select the most suitable EV supplier(s).
Start by identifying suppliers and options, including local dealerships like EcoTeq, online marketplaces, and auctions. Consider the type of cleansing and landscaping EVs you’re looking to purchase and any add-on accessories you’d also like to buy.
Develop evaluation criteria and weightings to help you assess potential suppliers. This can include factors such as:
Assign weightings to each criterion to prioritise the most important factors.
Conduct a competitive bidding process to solicit bids from potential suppliers. Provide them with the evaluation criteria and weightings and ask them to submit their proposals. Evaluate the proposals based on the criteria and weightings and invite the top candidates to negotiate their proposals.
Based on the evaluation criteria and weightings, choose the most suitable EV supplier(s). Negotiate the final terms and conditions of the agreement, including price, delivery time and ongoing servicing.
Implementing and managing EV procurement involves developing and executing a plan to ensure that the council can deploy and manage EVs effectively.
Develop an EV deployment plan and schedule that includes the procurement process, delivery and installation of charging infrastructure, and any staff training required. The plan should also include details on how to manage and maintain the EVs.
Council’s procurement process should comply with internal procurement policies and regulations, as well as any relevant state or federal laws and regulations. This can include environmental regulations and safety standards.
Staff may need training to learn how to operate and maintain the EVs. This can include training on how to charge the EV, how to optimise the EVs features, and how to address common maintenance issues.
By monitoring and evaluating the performance and TCO of the EVs, councils can ensure they are meeting their goals and objectives. This can include monitoring range, charging time, energy consumption, maintenance costs, and other relevant metrics.
By following these steps, councils can implement and manage an effective EV procurement strategy. They will find the most suitable supplier(s) while ensuring they meet their specific requirements. The EV procurement process should be transparent, fair, and objective to ensure that the council gets the best value for their money.
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