Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

Blog Series: How Energy Technology Reduces Consumption and Spend – A Look at Fleet Electrification

There is a growing consensus that the electrification of transportation is an important step in meeting aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals1 because transportation comprises approximately 30% of total GHG emissions.2 Electrification, especially in major offenders such as buses, reduces carbon emissions and promotes healthier air. Electrification also offers the benefit of lower operation and maintenance costs.

To reduce its carbon footprint by 2022, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has teamed up with Constellation to transition its entire fleet of buses at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport from diesel and diesel hybrid to battery electric. In late 2018, the Port Authority rolled out six new electric buses and three ChargePoint charging stations servicing JFK. In early 2019, eight electric buses and six charging stations are expected to be added to Newark Liberty.

This groundbreaking project speaks to the transit authority’s commitment to combat rising GHGs and thereby reduce its carbon footprint.

Reducing Energy Consumption

Zero tailpipe emissions and reduced dependence on fossil fuels are two key reasons why the Port Authority chose to adopt electric vehicles (EVs) for shuttle transportation.

JFK’s six battery-operated EVs, built by Proterra, are projected to save approximately 269 tons of GHG emissions and approximately 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year. 3 Eliminating the emissions of approximately 2,000 pounds of nitrous oxide and 150 pounds of particulate matter each year will improve local air quality. 3

The buses are projected to save approximately 269 tons of GHG emissions and approximately 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year.

Each electric bus has an estimated range of about 230 miles per charge, depending on certain factors, allowing the bus to operate for 13 to 29 hours of service before needing to be charged.3 For example, high ridership and hilly routes may require more battery usage. Also, changes in outside air temperature may require comfort heating or cooling for passengers, which is produced by the batteries.

In addition, EVs generally expend less energy than their fossil fuel counterparts. EVs have the ability to power off at stop signals and while picking up passengers, while diesel bus engines idle and waste fuel.

Reducing Energy Spend

EVs provide more secondary cost benefits than vehicles running on diesel fuel. Constellation, which led a feasibility study for the Port Authority a year ago, estimates JFK’s annual operations and maintenance costs for an electric fleet will be about 30 percent less than that of a diesel fleet.4

For starters, an EV has fewer parts. Electric buses are made up of a battery and electric motor whereas diesel buses need a high-maintenance internal combustion engine, among other costly parts. In addition, the battery-run EVs eliminate fuel costs. In 2017, JFK spent around $500,000 on diesel fuel costs for its fleet of buses.3  Although each electric bus has a price tag of $750,000, they are expected to last an average of 12 years.5

The buses were acquired by the Port Authority through vouchers and rebates available from incentive programs, making the purchase viable. One voucher was procured through the New York Truck Voucher Incentive program, a part of the New York governor’s clean energy promise of reducing GHGs by 40% by 2030.3

Currently, there are 45 states and the District of Columbia that offer incentives for certain hybrid and/or electric vehicles, either through a utility in the state or through state legislation.6 “The incentives range from tax credits or rebates to fleet acquisition goals, exemptions from emissions testing or utility time-of-use rate reductions,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Recapping the Benefits of Electrification

  1. Accountability: Reducing carbon emissions. EVs emit zero carbon emissions and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
  2. Energy Savings: Reducing operations/maintenance costs. EVs, which are comprised of fewer parts, require far less upkeep compared to their diesel counterparts.
  3. Reliability: EVs do not use electricity when idling (e.g., when picking up passengers), whereas diesel engines are constantly running. In addition, a single EV charge lasts anywhere from 13-29 hours.

Who Should Consider Electrifying Their Fleet?

Institutions and enterprises that rely on transportation with predictable routes, ranges and ridership, such as:

  • Transit authorities
  • Colleges and universities (i.e., campus shuttles)
  • Cities and municipalities (i.e., sanitation trucks, delivery services)

Stay tuned for the next blog post in this series on microgrids. Sign up for our communications at www.constellation.com/subscribe.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040619016301075
  2. https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/fast-facts-transportation-greenhouse-gas-emissions
  3. http://www.panynj.gov/press-room/press-item.cfm?headLine_id=3050
  4. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey: Feasibility Study for Electric Bus Infrastructure at JFK, LGA, EWR.
  5. https://www.proterra.com/performance/durability/
  6. http://www.ncsl.org/research/energy/state-electric-vehicle-incentives-state-chart.aspx

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