Jumpstarting transportation electrification deserves more focus and importance from local agencies in order to achieve the State of California’s goals of 5 million ZEVs by 2030. Transportation accounts for almost half (and increasing) of California’s GHG emissions, and progress hasn’t been as impressive as in sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and waste. Since EVs achieve over 120 mpge, while producing zero tailpipe emissions and cutting carbon pollution by 75%, they are an affordable and necessary part of any Climate Action Plan.
Local governments can dramatically boost the number of EVs in their fleets, as well as utilize their status as major employers to increase EV commuting. Despite the fact that over 40 models of light duty EVs and dozens of medium and heavy duty EVs are available in California, and that there is significant state financial and policy support, local agency EV usage has been relatively minor.
How have electric vehicle myths and difficulty coordinating amongst various departments led to limited EV purchases by local governments? What are the use cases where local fleets and workplaces can save money by using EVs? How can local agencies encourage employees to commute in EVs?
Arjun Sarkar, Sustainability Transportation Coordinator, UC Santa Barbara
Arjun Sarkar serves as the Sustainable Transportation Coordinator and has been with UC Santa Barbara since 2001. With the UC System committed to carbon neutrality by 2025, his work has grown in relevance. He is a member of UCSB’s Sustainable Transportation Committee and the UC wide Sustainable Transportation Working Group Committee. In 2001 Arjun co-founded The Santa Barbara Green Car Show in conjunction with Earth Day, now hosting approximately 30,000 attendees. He participated in the designation of the DOE Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition in 2006 (currently Board Secretary). Previously he worked with Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District working on the Electric Shuttle Program for over 5 years. When asked, Arjun describes himself as a “Radiant Catalyst for the Renewable Energy Transition”.
Evan Speer, Chief, California Department of General Services (DGS) Office of Fleet and Asset Management (OFAM)
Evan Speer serves as the Chief of the California Department of General Services (DGS) Office of Fleet and Asset Management (OFAM). In addition to operating a program that leases over 4,000 fleet assets to customer state agencies, OFAM is the policy and control agency for all 50,000 of the State of California’s fleet assets. In this policy and control function OFAM is tasked with furthering the Governor’s environmental sustainability initiatives by establishing policy for, and ensuring compliance with, statewide sustainable fleet initiatives such as petroleum fuel consumption reduction and zero emission vehicle adoption. Prior to stepping into his current role, Evan worked in DGS on special projects such as the state’s renewable diesel purchasing mandate and a multi-agency effort to establish a nationwide aggregated zero-emission vehicle purchasing program. Evan holds a BA in International Relations and an MPA from the University of Southern California.
Michael Chiacos, Energy and Climate Program Director, Community Environmental Council
Michael Chiacos joined CEC in 2007 and directs our energy, transportation, and climate programs. He has led dozens of CEC’s programs, from forming the regional electric vehicle readiness group to working on state policy issues at the Public Utilities Commission. He is the principal author of CEC’s Transportation Energy Plan, a comprehensive look at the various technologies, strategies, policies, modes and other options for reducing fossil fuel use in the transportation sector. Michael holds a BA with honors in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR.
Garrett Wong, Senior Sustainability Analyst, City of Santa Monica.
Garrett Wong is a Senior Sustainability Analyst for the City of Santa Monica. He leads policy, programs and projects in climate action & adaptation planning, energy efficiency and renewable energy and electric vehicle charging.