US agencies triple electric car purchases

US government agencies plan to buy 9,500 electric vehicles in 2023 alone. That is nearly three times as many as in 2022. They will spend 770 million dollars on vehicles and charging infrastructure.

Citing a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, Reuters reports that 26 agencies with approved plans to purchase electric vehicles estimated they would need more than 470 million dollars to buy the cars and nearly 300 million dollars to plan and install the necessary infrastructure and other expenses. These agencies represent more than 99 per cent of the federal vehicle fleet, not counting the independent US Postal Service (USPS).

In December 2021, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing agencies to procure only zero-emission passenger cars and light-duty trucks starting in 2027. From 2035, that applies to all new vehicles. There are exceptions for military vehicles, for example. The agencies – excluding the USPS – procure about 45,000 to 50,000 vehicles per year. With about 9,500 EVs, their share of procurement this year would be about 20 per cent.

According to the GAO report, the 470 million dollars investment in EVs would turn out to be almost 200 million dollars more than what would be spent on comparable combustion models. The White House did not comment on the figures.

Some of the agencies surveyed could not procure as many vehicles as they had initially planned. The Ministry of Transport said it had planned to procure 430 zero-emission vehicles in 2022. However, the actual procurement “was scaled back to 292 due, in part, to order cancellations from manufacturers.” It is not known which models and manufacturers are involved.

Other agencies are concerned that the available EVs won’t meet all the requirements. Customs and Border Protection, for example, reported to the GAO that they did not believe that electric vehicles “can support law enforcement equipment or perform law enforcement missions in extreme environments, such as those on the borders,” as Reuters quotes from the GAO report.


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