(PRINCETON, NJ – SEPTEMBER 30, 2013) – The future is electric for Florida Power & Light (FPL), the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. By the end of the decade, FPL plans to purchase only electric vehicles and hybrids for its company fleet. In fact, the company’s goal is to be running an all-electric or hybrid-based fleet within ten years. This purchasing decision was so significant that Claude Masters, CAFM, FPL’s Manager of Vehicle Acquisition and Fuel, recently held a briefing for the Miami Herald to share the news. The result was an article published in El Nuevo Herald, their Spanish language newspaper.
There are many reasons as to why companies such as FPL are turning to alternative fuels, but saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are among the most popular. While many people assume the use of alternative fuels costs more, in reality, companies often see great cost-savings from the move.
In the article, Florencia Contesee, an FPL spokeswoman, explained how electric vehicles require 80 percent less power than gasoline models. “Using electricity is the equivalent of paying 77 cents per gallon with our FPL rates here in Florida which are 25 percent below the national average.”
FPL and power companies across North America are switching to electric vehicles and hybrids because electric vehicles are finally going mainstream. Despite failed attempts in the past, vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are catching on with the public and more models are being introduced each year. The missing ingredient for success is charging stations. Power companies want to position themselves as prime electricity suppliers before charging stations are as common as gas stations, said Masters, who is the President of NAFA Fleet Management Association, the largest organization in the world for business professionals who manage fleets of vehicles.
“NAFA and its members have long been interested in alternative fuels and clean energy vehicles,” said NAFA’s Executive Director Phillip E. Russo, CAE. “In fact, fleet managers have been on the forefront of just about every alternative fuel there is. In addition to electric vehicles and hybrids, NAFA Members have been using alternative fuels such as biodiesel, CNG, and LNG for decades. We even have members using hydrogen vehicles in their fleet today. Oftentimes, car manufacturers will seek out fleets to be used as test subjects for vehicles still very much in their infancy. The data compiled through fleet use helps spur vehicle development for mainstream use down the line.”
The Association has steadfastly been involved in environmental issues, often working with the EPA and the Department of Energy to provide the fleet point of view on pending legislation for decades.
“Fleet managers today are looking to save money, promote the use of non-fossil fuel vehicles, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Russo. “For NAFA and the fleet managers who comprise our association, the environment and cost savings go hand in hand. Sometimes doing the right thing really does pay off. In this case, it’s a win-win for everyone.”