Suffolk, Bellona and Westchester County Executive Announce Strategic Partnership to Purchase Electric Vehicles
The initiative will serve as a model for local governments across the state to tackle climate change.
Suffolk County Director Steve Bellone and Westchester County Director George Latimer announced a new shared services partnership to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) in a bid to tackle climate change, reduce consumption of fossil fuels, save taxpayer dollars and develop a framework of shared services. it will be a model for other local governments across the state. The two counties will look to partner with other counties and local governments in New York State who would like to participate in this green initiative and combine their purchasing power to save taxpayer dollars.
Suffolk County has determined that it could initially support 40 EVs in its first phase of deployment, which is expected to begin in 2022. The joint purchase of EVs in Suffolk and Westchester counties will allow additional local governments of the two counties to join the cooperative procurement. .
“It is our job at the local level to make sure we are leading the way and doing all we can to reduce our carbon footprint and harmful emissions from transportation to create a cleaner and healthier environment for our residents,” Suffolk County Director Steve Bellone said. “This joint procurement will lay the foundation for a clean, zero-emission fleet by 2030. Not only are we rebuilding, but we are building back better with cleaner, greener energy.”
âAs we saw with Hurricane Ida, climate change is real, it is here and we must act now to address it,â said George Latimer, Westchester County Director. “This policy will put Westchester and Suffolk counties at the forefront of this fight, setting an example so that other local governments across the state and country can follow suit.”
Martha Sauerbrey, president of the New York State Association of Counties, said, âThis is another example of how counties are at the forefront of public policy in New York. This innovative collaboration between two of New York’s largest counties to invest in zero emission vehicles is an exciting example of the vital role counties play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping the state achieve its ambitious clean energy targets. Initiatives like this, coupled with improved discounts that counties fought for in the budget, can provide local governments with the financial resources and incentives needed to convert their substantial fleets to zero-emission electric vehicles. On behalf of the NYS Association of Counties, I congratulate County Directors Latimer and Bellone for their leadership and vision in creating a win-win solution that moves their counties towards a zero-emission future while maximizing resources. local.
In May, like President Joe Biden’s recent executive order, Suffolk County Director Steve Bellone and Westchester County Director George Latimer signed two executive orders directing their respective county departments to develop plans to convert their vehicle fleets to electric by 2030. Departments have been urged to submit plans to the county executive and departments required to achieve clean, zero-emission fleets by 2030 or sooner.
The Electric Fleet Implementation Report, released today, serves as a model for how Suffolk County will move forward towards securing a 100% green fleet. The shift to a fully electrified fleet is part of the county’s continued commitment to invest in efforts to counter the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. The use of electric vehicles instead of vehicles that run solely on fossil fuels is critical to the county’s efforts.
Although electric vehicles are a newer technology, the report highlights the clear advantages of electric vehicles, including significantly reduced operation and maintenance costs, elimination of harmful exhaust emissions, greenhouse gases. significantly reduced and cleaner roads and parking lots for reduced contamination runoff.
To help ensure the electrification of the fleet by 2030, the county has identified seven focus areas to remove barriers to adoption and bring about transformative change. Areas include phased deployment of electric vehicles, updated and new fleet policies and procedures, proper sizing of the county fleet, sizing of county facilities to meet charging and infrastructure needs, partnering with utility companies, leveraging incentives to promote fair and affordable adoption of electric vehicles, and Shared Services and Procurement similar to the current partnership with Westchester.
While the transition to electric vehicles is key to helping tackle the effects of climate change, the report outlines a number of hurdles to overcome and recommendations on how best to move forward. Some of the challenges identified include the long-term commitment required to achieve savings, high upfront transition costs, access to convenient and easily accessible charging infrastructure, as well as maintenance, training and personnel, for n to name a few.
To overcome these challenges, the report recommends the gradual implementation of the program to reduce costs, as well as a 10-year cost-benefit analysis, carrying out an assessment of options for a large phased deployment of charging infrastructure in the region. county, as well as close coordination with PSEG. LI, and finally the creation of an ongoing electric vehicle maintenance training program to train maintenance personnel on the electric vehicle fleet.
As part of the phase-in plan, the county would replace vehicles running on fuel at the optimum time, which would result in more resources to be invested in available EV technology. This approach will allow electric vehicles to be piloted in day-to-day operations while continuing to use current assets during peak usage, downgrading assets at the optimal time, and adjusting the overall plan as the new industry progresses.
Additionally, Suffolk County has entered into discussions with utility companies to discuss the potential cooperative sourcing of solar electric vehicle charging stations, establish an interoperable charging network for vehicles from outside municipalities to to charge electric vehicles, and advance in regional planning and cooperation to ensure efficiency, speed and reliability build from the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging across Long Island.
This new shared services initiative to electrify the county’s fleets marks the second time Suffolk County and Westchester County have teamed up to increase purchasing power and save taxpayer dollars. In 2019, counties teamed up to purchase hundreds of police vehicles, saving Suffolk around $ 500,000.
Suffolk County is also electrifying its transit system. New York State has identified Suffolk County as one of five suburban municipalities responsible for electrification and Suffolk County Transit (SCT) has begun the process of replacing transit buses with electric models that have no tailpipe emissions and could begin serving users by the end of 2022. The County is evaluating the six depots that currently house the fleet and is coordinating with PSEG LI at the Ronkonkoma and West Babylon depots which will house the first series of buses.
Additionally, Suffolk is embarking on a state-sponsored county-wide master plan to explore infrastructure upgrades needed to support bus electrification. Suffolk County Transit’s plan to electrify the fleet by 2035 has been updated to 2030 to meet the goals of the County of Bellona Executive Order (# 1-2021).