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Electric Truck Charging Peter Varga Dreamstime

One way to speed up EV adoption

Feb. 11, 2021
“Buy American” is not mandating that businesses purchase goods that are made in America; it only applies to government contracts. However, this movement can set the tone for others to follow.

The Biden administration has long been on the record as being for a clean environment. In the early days of the administration, the president signed an executive order strengthening “Buy American” provisions for federal agencies. And while Buy American does not specifically talk about electric vehicles (EV), Biden is on the record about the right choice when it comes to updating the federal fleet.

“The federal government owns an enormous fleet of vehicles which we are going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America by American workers,” Biden said in his statement. There are 645,000 vehicles in the federal fleet.

I have been saying for the past 10 years that if we want to get serious about alternative fuels and electric vehicles, every federal, state and municipality should invest their dollars in them. Doing that would drive up volume and that would bring the cost down and speed up the development of the technology so it could be used in more types of fleet operations and duty cycles.

Every city bus should be electric. How does that help trucking? The technology on an electric bus is no different than that on an electric truck. A bus is a route delivery vehicle with human cargo. If an electric bus can accomplish its route throughout the day, then a beverage delivery truck powered by batteries can deliver its products throughout the day as well.

Buy American is not mandating that businesses purchase goods that are made in America; it only applies to government contracts. I think this dual focus on Buy American and on clean transportation sets the tone for others to follow.

Government purchases of EVs will raise the volume of them on the streets, and as I mentioned should bring prices down, but it should also spur the development of charging infrastructure.  With EV and charging infrastructure development we have the proverbial chicken and egg argument. No one is going to invest in charging infrastructure if there is not a significant number of EVs on the road, and no one is going to buy EVs if there is no place to charge them. And while you can plug your electric car into an outlet in your garage, you can’t do the same with a commercial electric vehicle.

If the federal government begins purchasing EVs in quantities, it could encourage states and municipalities to do so as well.

Today, in order to speed up the EV purchase, many states are offering grants for fleets to go green. Why not take that money and invest in EVs for the states’ own fleet vehicles? Ultimately that will accomplish the goal of reducing the carbon footprint from transportation.

It's something to think about.

About the Author

Patrick Gaskins | Senior vice president, Fleet Solutions

Patrick Gaskins is a financial services professional serving the transportation industry for over 30 years. Gaskins earned his BBA in Finance from the University of Miami, FL in 1989, and received his CTP certification from the National Private Truck Council in 2002. He has held positions with GE Capital, TCF Equipment Finance, and various small independent lessors. 

He began his career with Corcentric in 2010 as Vice President of Financial Services, was promoted to Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations, and is now taking the role of Senior Vice President, Fleet Solutions.  In his new role he will lead Corcentric’s Captial Equipment Solutions, Fleet Procurement, Supply Management, and Remarketing teams. Gaskins will bring to the Fleet practice his expertise in developing data driven solutions to complex transportation transactions, driving efficiencies, and reducing expenses for Corcentric’s customers.

The Fleet Solutions practice leverages technology and the purchasing power of over 1,700 member fleets operating approximately 800,000 assets to provide its members with access to cost effective national account purchasing programs, fleet financing, asset management, and remarketing services.

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