Electric drive vehicles provide substantial savings over conventional fuel vehicles for large and small fleets because the cost-per-mile for electricity is lower than conventional fuel. Electricity usage is charged by the kilowatt-hour (kWh) and varies based on location and demand. In 2010, commercial electricity prices were significantly lower than the average residential retail price of 11.6 cents per kWh, and in some markets, commercial businesses paid between 6.8 and 10.3 cents per kWh. Overall, industries pay a price closer to wholesale than residential consumers. Large businesses also can negotiate for lower prices or buy electricity in bulk for additional savings.
Over the course of a year an electric vehicle driving an average of 10,000 miles saves $1,200 over conventional fuel vehicles. For fleet vehicles that accumulate higher annual mileage, the saving is more substantial.
According to the DOE, when the maintenance and repair costs are calculated with fuel cost savings, the average cost per mile to operate an EV is approximately 12.6 cents lower than using gasoline. Another comparison that may be more useful for fleet managers is based on the gallon of gasoline equivalent (GGE) prices. The prices of electricity are based on national average rates for residential electricity. The GGE for electricity is 33.6 kW-hr. When compared to other alternative fuels, electricity price variation is significantly less. While the price per GGE is about the same, EVs can get two-to-three times the fuel economy.
Energy.gov has a variety of tools available to fleet managers to help them financially plan a switch to green fleets and help make the transition easy and justifiable. The tools include plans, calculators, maps, and information about vehicles and fueling options. For a complete list of tools, visit afdc.energy.gov/tools.