Wednesday, October 26, 2016

City of Vancouver Electrical Vehicle Fleet technical event

Seventeen SAE members and guests attended our October technical event, which was hosted by the City of Vancouver Equipment Services Branch at the Manitoba Works Yard (click on the picture to access the full album).

Amy Sidwell, Manager of Equipment Services Branch, delivered a presentation on the background of greening of the City Fleet, including light duty electric vehicles (EVs) and medium to heavy duty compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. It was interesting to learn that Vancouver’s fleet of approximately 1,830 rolling stock units emitted almost 16,000 tons of emissions in 2015, which is actually 13% lower than 2007 emissions, helped in part with the introduction of 33 EVs and 31 CNG vehicles. As reducing cost is also important, it was great to hear that the EVs save the city $600 each per year as compared to equivalent conventionally-fueled vehicles, and this savings includes the purchase cost amortized over 10 years. Amy told us they would ultimately have a total of 115 EVs and 60 CNG vehicles in the city’s fleet, with many EVs being bought in the next two years.

Ian Neville, Climate Policy Analyst with the Sustainability Group, presented the city’s EV Ecosystem Strategy. Vancouver currently owns 29 Level 2 EV charge stations and one Level 3 DC fast charger. The charging infrastructure will see a boost with a $3M capital investments happening over the next five years. By 2020, Vancouver expects to see 200,000 EVs in use in Vancouver.

Evan Dacey, Equipment Engineer, took us on a tour of the Manitoba Yard’s EV charging infrastructure and showed us a few of the EV fleet vehicles. Taller vehicle drivers are less enthusiastic about the EVs, owing to the vehicle’s smaller size, but everyone loves the acceleration (I had visions of City of Vancouver vehicles racing light to light down the city streets). Reliability and performance of the EVs has been very good for the time Vancouver has owned them, with the only problem noted as being a couple of low 12 V batteries. They are looking for the best use of these vehicles and used them for a while for parking enforcement, but the batteries of the Mitsubishi iMiev are a little small (these vehicles have to drive a double shift with limited time for recharge). Evan showed us the slow and fast CNG refueling infrastructure too. The CNG vehicles, mainly garbage trucks, stay connected all night on the slow fill stations.

By Stuart Evans, SAE BC Treasurer

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