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FPUD approves fleet replacement plan, grant application

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Fallbrook Public Utility District approved a vehicle fleet replacement plan.

The 5-0 FPUD board vote Monday, Dec. 5, also authorized district staff to pursue the Power Your Drive for Fleets grant San Diego Gas & Electric offers for conversion to lower-emission vehicles. The six-year plan also addresses compliance with present and future California Air Resources Board requirements. The action adopts a vehicle replacement plan but does not stipulate specific vehicles.

The intent of FPUD’s Off-Road Heavy Equipment Replacement Plan is to reduce maintenance costs of aging off-road fleet vehicles as well as to maintain CARB emission compliance. In addition to the off-road vehicles, FPUD also maintains an on-road fleet of 49 vehicles ranging from Class 1, which are passenger vehicles with a rated weight capacity of less than 6,000 pounds, to Class 8, which include a weight rating more than 33,000 pounds, vehicles, and 27 of those vehicles are either half-ton trucks or passenger cars.

FPUD staff assessed vehicular assets to develop a chart which includes each vehicle’s age, mileage, condition and planned replacement date. Red-flagged assets are scheduled for replacement during the future fiscal year, yellow-flagged assets are slated for replacement in three to four years and replacement of green-flagged assets is more than five years away. The plan is modified annually both to reflect ephemeral needs and to synchronize future purchases.

A California Air Resources Board regulation would require that by 2024 half of all fleet purchases for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of at least 8,500 pounds will need to be zero emission vehicles and by 2027 all such purchases will need to be zero emission vehicles. Zero emission includes both electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

“There is an EV requirement now,” Jack Bebee, general manager of FPUD, said.

FPUD’s fleet meets current CARB emissions standards. Electric vehicles will require electric charging stations.

“There is money out there for charging stations,” Bebee said.

San Diego Gas & Electric’s Power Your Drive for Fleets program reimburses 80% of the cost to install the fleet charging infrastructure. The only stipulations of the grant are that the recipient purchase at least two electric vehicles in the next five years and that the recipient maintain the charging stations for at least 10 years.

FPUD plans to purchase two electric vehicles and test them to ensure they meet the district’s needs before purchasing additional zero-emission vehicles.

“We’ll see how they work and if we have problems then we’ll adjust from there,” Bebee said.

FPUD staff has evaluated installing chargers at the district’s water treatment plant on Alturas Road and at the FPUD administration building on East Mission Road. Phase 1 would likely meet FPUD’s needs for the first seven years and would include the backbone infrastructure in both locations designed to meet future needs as well as the current phase. The first phase would install three Level 2 chargers at the water treatment plant, six Level 2 chargers at the main shop, and a direct current fast charger at the main shop.

The plan after that would add new charger legs to the existing system. The cost estimate to purchase and install the chargers is $360,000, so the grant would be for $288,000 and FPUD would fund $72,000 which will be incorporated into the fiscal year 2023-2024 budget.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].

 

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