The Hawaii Department of Transportation picked up its first electric vehicle — a white Tesla — on Tuesday as the result of an innovative service contract that is expected to help electrify its entire light duty fleet.
Eventually, nine EVs will replace regular vehicles used by the State Highways division, with another 34 expected to be delivered to DOT by the end of May.
The DOT currently has a light duty fleet of about 300 passenger vehicles in all.
The department procured the EVs as part of a multi-agency contract with Sustainability Partners LLC. Under the 10-year service contract, state and county agencies do not have to purchase EVs upfront, but can procure them, as well as the necessary charging infrastructure, on a per-mile cost basis.
“We were definitely excited to begin the service contract with Sustainability Partners as converting our aging vehicles to EVs is another way HDOT is saving money and working towards the State’s goal of reducing fuel consumption in ground transportation 70% by 2030,” said DOT Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen in a news release. “Public and private ground transportation is a huge contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. This service contract, that is available to all State and County agencies, could expedite government fleet conversions and help lead the way for increased private adoption of EV.”
Over the next seven years, DOT plans to continue converting — or reducing — the rest of its aging fleet to electric, according to spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige. It aims to reduce or convert the entire light duty fleet by 2028.
The contract provides EVs from multiple vendors, including Tesla, Nissan, Ford, Kia and Chevy.
The service contract is expected to save the DOT an average of $287 per vehicle a year in fuel costs, and 75% in vehicle maintenance costs over its lifespan.
According to DOT, every internal combustion engine vehicle replaced by an EV results in a reduction of an estimated 8,700 pounds of carbon dioxide annually — or 87,000 pounds with 10 EVs.