Electric Vehicle Pool Party: Elk River’s New Outlander

October 31, 2019 | | Education

In 2017, Elk River Municipal Utilities (ERMU) commissioned FleetCarma to conduct an electric vehicle suitability assessment for both the city and utility fleet. Such an assessment, sometimes referred to as a fleet study, helps a city identify which vehicles would be the best candidates for switching from gas-powered to electric.

Elk River’s assessment allowed the city to track usage data for 20 vehicles between the two fleets. After a year of data collection, FleetCarma presented the city with a report detailing potential options for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to replace existing fleet vehicles.

Based on the lifetime cost of ownership savings, emission reductions, and fuel savings calculated through the FleetCarma report, the City of Elk River sold two shared/pool vehicles and used the money to lease a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) in early 2018. The lease lasts for three years, after which the city will evaluate the performance of the vehicle and decide what’s next for city staff. Thanks to the Outlander being a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (it gets 33 miles of all-electric range before the gas engine kicks in), the city started charging overnight with a Level 1 charger but now can charge more quickly on the Level 2 station that ERMU installed for the city. Now, any city employee can use the Outlander during their day, saving the city money on fuel costs!

Project Highlights:

  • Elk River completed a fleet study in 2017. Based on the study data, the city leased a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in electric hybrid in 2018 that currently serves as a city pool vehicle.
  • By leasing, Elk River has been able to try out an EV in the municipal fleet without committing to a purchase.
  • City staff driving the electric vehicle frequently draw questions and engagement from community members. The staff enjoy sharing the benefits of driving electric with the city.

We prepared a case study on the Elk River experience that reveals lessons learned, challenges and surprises along the way, and advice for other cities. Read the full case study here.

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