Why Municipalities Are Using EVs PT. 2 - BRAND POSITIONING AND FUTURE
Electric vehicles have a direct financial benefit when they are used heavily by municipalities. From reduced maintenance costs, far cheaper fueling costs, and an overall lower total cost of ownership, any city can recognize the economic advantages of an EV over an internal combustion engine. However, it isn’t just money that matters when it comes to switching a fleet over. Many municipalities can get a major image boost if they decide to embrace the future of electric vehicles.
Consumers have become more aware of the products that they buy over the past few years, with sustainable practices being an important part of many companies’ public perceptions. This extends not only to the private sector, but also to city governments, whether large or small. Citizens are concerned about the environment in which they live, and they are more likely to have a positive view of their city if they are doing something to combat pollution and lower their carbon footprint.
By utilizing fleets that are made of electric vehicles, a city can show its citizens that they care about these things. It isn’t just about creating a good image to the residents either – it can have a positive influence on tourism, as people are becoming more likely to visit cities that they believe align with their environmental views.
By switching to EVs, municipalities are making a public statement that they are eco-friendly and that they are taking the necessary steps to reduce their carbon footprint and lower emissions across the board. The smoother, quieter, and cleaner municipal vehicles aren’t just saving money behind the scenes – they are creating a positive, forward-thinking image for any city that decides to switch their fleets over.
Cities generally want to be viewed as having progressive programs in place. Many, such as Columbus, Ohio, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Los Angeles, California, have initiated “smart city” programs to encourage environmentalism and reduce unnecessary waste. Electric vehicles can contribute to smart city programs by reducing energy consumption and helping to combat the negative effects of pollution.
It isn’t just about limiting pollution, however. These cities know that they have an image to live up to, and they realize that embracing new technologies will allow them to continue to stay on the map as futuristic, modern cities that people enjoy living in and visiting. While an activist might wax poetic about the environmental benefits of electric buses and trucks, a standard resident might merely be happy that they are able to take advantage of higher efficiency and cleanliness.
A switch to electric vehicles shows a commitment to reducing congestion and making life in the city more convenient for everyone. Eventually, these electric vehicles will become more efficient, and might even cause fewer people to drive individually on the road. Many younger, urban-dwelling people are making the switch to shared rides rather than sitting in a car and driving when they could be getting work done.
Ultimately, these initiatives may lead to less traffic and safer conditions for everybody that happens to be on the road. EVs are the precursor to smart vehicles, and there’s no doubt that the companies currently embracing the trend are also investing in technology for autonomous vehicles. Any way to take the “work” out of getting to work is a positive, and people will be happy to see these high-tech vehicles coming to save the day in that regard.
As has been mentioned, cities are always fighting for the tourism dollar, and even the small, unseen things go a long way in drawing people in. Having an image as a decaying, regressive city has never done anything to promote more tourism. Instead, focusing on new technologies and being a pioneer of green programs and ecologically friendly initiatives will improve the overall image of city for both its residents and potential visitors.
People might not immediately point out that a city has electric vehicles in its fleet, but they might note that its public transit is clean and efficient. Electric vehicles are just one contributing factor, but they are a major one. Being able to get around without polluting the environment around you is a major benefit to many environmentally conscious travelers.
People want to see the cities of the future, and a commitment to EVs shows that a city is committed to progress. This is a net positive for a municipality for both tourism revenue and for its own residents. Cities want to be seen as stewards of the environment and phasing out internal combustion engines is one major way to make a splash.
Making the switch from ICE vehicles to EVs may be costly up front, but there is a myriad of benefits for any municipality that chooses to go that route. While immediate financial savings are obvious, it isn’t just about the money. A city can do much to improve its image by investing in EVs, and can position itself as a forward-thinking, progressive city with environmental goals. These benefits for both visitors and residents alike are why many municipalities are switching over to EVs.