City of Austin's electric vehicle fleet sees fuel savings

As gas prices continue to climb, some vehicles aren’t feeling the strain on the bank. Austin’s electric vehicle fleet is unaffected. 

"It’s a direct savings as far as not using gas," said Rick Harland the Austin fleet mobility services Assistant Director.

The City of Austin added electric powered vehicles to their fleet in 2015 and has been adding to it ever since. It mostly consists of sedans and SUVs, but there are plans to add trucks within the coming months. 

"We have six different manufacturers with 13 different models, and it’s been a good start for us," said Harland.

Now with gas prices nearing at an all-time high Harland said they are seeing the fuel savings directly. 

"Clearly it’s a complete one to one trade-off. We are no longer using liquid petroleum."

Harland said they pay $4.17 a month per vehicle when it comes to recharging. 

This is about as much as people are paying per gallon at the pump. The reason the cost to recharge in Austin is low is because of Austin energy’s Everywhere Network, which is a monthly subscription service electric drivers can use to pay that $4.17 at any level two charger within the city.

The City of Austin isn’t the only one adding more electric vehicles to their fleet. Capital Metro plans to be going fully electric with their buses by 2035. 

If you’re looking to dump the pump and go electric there are some things to keep in mind. 

"When you have a battery electric vehicle and you want to travel out of town or some unknown distance you have to pay attention to where you’re at and where you can get your next charge from. When you get there, there is a certain amount of time that it takes to charge up a vehicle," said Harland.

Harland said the biggest complaint they hear is how there aren’t enough charging stations throughout the city especially when compared to gas stations. Once you’re at a charging station depending on which kind it is you can be waiting a while for your vehicle to charge. The level three charging stations which charge the vehicles the fastest are even rarer to find in the city.

The city is currently working to add more.

"You don’t want to put them everywhere you want to put them where the highest use is at. We do have some grant opportunities where we can put level three charging stations in place," said Harland.

The City of Round Rock is also looking to add electric vehicles to their fleet. The city recently purchased about $500,000 worth of vehicles. 

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