5 Questions With LA Metro About Electric Vehicle ChargingNovember 1, 2019
Los Angeles Metro is one of the country’s largest transportation agencies. Serving over 9.6 million people in LA County, Metro offers bus, light rail, heavy rail and bus rapid transit services.
The agency is in the midst of the 28 by ‘28 project, in which 28 new transit projects will be completed for the start of the 2028 Olympics in LA.
In addition to installing public chargers at its locations, Metro has installed electric vehicle charging stations for its electric fleet.
We spoke with representatives from Metro about rolling out an EV fleet, and its role in the future of transportation electrification.
How did LA Metro make decisions about the initial distribution of EV chargers?
Initially, Metro planned on spreading chargers throughout its network of facilities, not grouping them as much. We also took advantage of the EV charging station incentives in California.
Since then, we’ve fine tuned an approach, looking at factors such as transit oriented transit zones and a demand for workplace commuting strategic areas based on a bus and rail facility parking.
And equity is a is a third component to make sure that there is charging infrastructure available to all users. That broadened into looking into charging for Metro employees, as well as Metro fleet vehicles.
How has EV Connect helped you reach your goals?
Metro has to competitively procure services, and that’s the case with the EV Connect contract. The contract has enabled us in our goal to continue to deploy equipment with a cohesive maintenance and operation component.
I think in terms of the value provided in your contract, I think you’ve met all the needs. By continuing to provide a good product with good response, that’s helped us move forward with our agenda here.
EV Connect provides indicators that allow us to look at how owning an EV fleet vehicle compares to an internal combustion engine.
For both public and fleet EV chargers, we track all the information that you offer us through your platform, such as utilization, number of charge sessions, and obviously greenhouse gas reductions.
We check monthly our usage of fleet vehicles, and translate that into tracking the total cost of ownership of a fleet vehicles.
What was the process for transitioning to an electric fleet, and how have people responded?
Metro did an analysis of several different EVs, the different locations where they would be deployed, and the total cost of ownership to come up with an analysis to figure out what vehicle would be best suited for the job.
We determined that the Chevy Bolt met those requirements at the time of procurement. People love driving those. In terms of the range, it works for most of the people that get them assigned.
What do you foresee as Metro’s role in the growth of transportation electrification?
We have plans to convert all of our 2100 buses to electric charging by 2030, which is 10 years ahead of everyone else. And we’re doing all kinds of studies right now to look at where we can convert anything that is currently not supported by electric charging to get that converted over.
The agency’s goals are just that to get as much, if not all converted over within the timeframe set by either local or state governments. And we’re looking at expanding the number of workplace electric vehicle chargers for employees as well as commuters.
How are you approaching the expansion of EV charging?
We’re mapping out potential growth in all these different areas. Internally, we’re looking at physical locations, nearby demand, and disadvantaged communities, and overlaying all that information to help us strategize deployment. We’re identifying long-term goals and setting the goalposts.
Metro has its own new construction guidelines when facilities are being built, whether they’re parking garages or bus terminals.
We’ve set design requirements when new facilities are being constructed so that there’s capacity for electric vehicles. It allows us to be prepared for long term trends in the growth and adoption of EV chargers.
We’re designing parking structures with all the conduit in to be able to not only install for what the current requirements are, but to be able to build that out as the demand increases. The infrastructure’s already there to be able to do that.
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