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AAC begins journey to all-electric government vehicles

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman directed the Office of Central Services to begin converting the county’s fleet of over 1,600 conventional vehicles to fully-electric models on Tuesday, June 28.

The process to convert to electric vehicles .is proposed to be a gradual one. The county executive's plan would be to require the purchases all electric light and medium duty non-emergency county vehicles by 2032. By 2037 all light and medium duty emergency vehicles would be electric.

Matthew Johnston

"The plan is that as existing vehicles are replaced, they are replaced by hybrids and then eventually fully-electric vehicles over time," Anne Arundel County Environmental Policy Director Matthew Johnston said in an email to Arundel Journal.

He explained: "We think it will take about 10 years (until FY32) to fully build out infrastructure and maintenance needed to convert 100% of our new non-emergency purchases to all-electric. Due to operational and technological constraints, it will likely take 15 years to fully build everything out that is needed to convert 100% of our emergency purchases to all-electric."

A memo sent to the Director of Central Services calls for the immediate replacement of conventional vehicles with more efficient models where possible, and directs the Office to begin a long-range planning effort to identify the infrastructure, maintenance and personnel needed to convert the fleet to all-electric vehicles within the next 15 years. The memo also requires the Office to produce an annual report with performance metrics and recommendations that will be used to adapt the program as needed in the future.

“This is another big step forward in our efforts to Build Back Better right here in Anne Arundel

Steuart Pittman

County,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “This new initiative is necessarily aggressive because we must combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions now. It is also intentionally flexible because the county must continue to provide high-quality services to the public in a fiscally responsible way.”

The fleet will be gradually converted as vehicles are replaced with hybrid, plug-in electric and all-electric models. The Office of Central Services will also establish an inter-departmental workgroup to develop strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavier vehicles such as vans, trucks and heavy equipment. 

“Governments all across the world are beginning to electrify their fleets in an effort to reduce maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions,” Johnston said. “The transportation sector is quickly moving toward full electrification, and with this new initiative, Anne Arundel County will be a part of that exciting transformation.”

Johnston said in the email that he expected the county would acquire its first fully electric vehicle within a few years, but also believes that the gradual conversion of the county's fleet to combustion alternatives will have a positive impact on the environment much sooner.

"We need about a year to get the program up and running and put in new budget requests for the FY22 budget which would be reviewed and approved next June," he wrote.

--portions of this story were compiled from an AAC press release