The prairie province’s capital is tracking data from its new Ford F-150 Lightning to determine how to incorporate more electric vehicles into its fleet
The City of Regina has successfully snagged one of the most sought-after electric pick-up trucks in the market: the Ford F-150 Lightning.
The electric pick-up truck was delivered to the city last week, over a month since the city ordered it. The city had originally ordered five Lightnings but only managed to get its hands on one due to supply chain issues.
“There’s a lot of really neat operational efficiencies that I think we’re going to see coming out of this truck,” says Greg Kuntz, the city of Regina’s manager for sustainable energy and adaptation, in an interview with Electric Autonomy Canada.
“It’s a rolling power pack essentially. [Our staff] will be able to charge all their equipment in their truck as they go on a day-to-day basis and they only have to worry about plugging in a truck at the end of the day.”
Out of all the electric vehicles in the market, the municipality decided to go with the Lightning because the bulk of city vehicles are already diesel pick-ups and the two versions of the F-150 are familiar.
Kuntz says Regina’s first Lightning truck will be used at the city’s Parks Department before being put into service in the Roadways department over the winter.
Even though the purchase price of the F-150 Lightning was $62,000 plus taxes (while a traditional internal-engine vehicle costs around $37,000) Kuntz says the city is expecting to see a saving of $40,000 on fuel over the life of the vehicle and even more in maintenance savings with its initial Lightning.
“When we did the math on the energy consumption and the cost of energy to operate this truck, we were blown away by the difference between the cost of fuel versus the cost of electricity,” says Kuntz. “We’re seeing things like a 90 per cent reduction in energy costs on paper, and those are some of the things we’re going to gather information about.”
And the business case for future city EVs may be even more persuasive.
“As the price of EVs comes down [and] as the price of fuel rises, the argument just gets better and better to make the move to electric — not to mention the reduced greenhouse gas emissions from it,” says Kuntz.
In order to better understand the potential impacts of transitioning to a fully electric fleet Kuntz says the city will be collecting data from the Ford F-150 Lightning on how range is impacted during the winter months. That will help drivers to plan out how to optimally deploy the vehicle.
The city says it plans to report on the data they gather and share it with partners and other corporations to help others incorporate EVs into their fleets.
Become a greener city
The purchase of the electric Lightning is just one small step in Regina’s overall strategy to become a greener city. Moving forward, the city plans to exclusively purchase EVs for their municipal fleet, depending on what is available in the market.
“Introducing the first electric truck to our fleet is a necessary step in reducing emissions and working towards our goal of becoming a net-zero city by 2050,” said Mayor Sandra Masters in a press statement. “We will continue to look at the various opportunities we have to increase sustainability within city operations as we work towards a Renewable Regina.”
Beginning in 2024, Regina intends to transition its transit fleet to electric buses and, by 2035, all new light-duty city vehicles purchased by the city will be electric. The city is also considering using electric, hydrogen-fuelled and renewable diesel for its fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
In other parts of the city, Regina is switching to electric ice resurfacers and installing the necessary charging stations to support its growing electric fleet.
“We’re working right now on a charging strategy,” says Kuntz, adding that the municipality will be looking into applying to funding programs to help finance the installation of some of the charging infrastructure.
“We’ve got hundreds of fleet vehicles and charging them is going to be a challenge. We need to get our charging infrastructure in place before we get too many of these electric vehicles.”