It’s being reported this week that the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Ore., sent in a request for information (RFI) to automakers for what could become the biggest electric car order ever: 24,000 vehicles.
The municipalities are currently looking for information about what electric vehicles they could get on what timeline before launching a formal bidding process.
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E&E News reported on the RFI:
The cities said the inquiry is the first of its kind in uniting municipalities from different states. The goal, they said, was to show the purchasing power of local governments in the EV market. The cities said they are aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions, decrease reliance on fossil fuels, improve air quality, and reduce fuel and maintenance costs by an average 37 percent.
The administrations of the cities are looking for others to joined in on the project and Matt Petersen, chief sustainability officer for LA Mayor Garcetti, thinks the order could increase to “perhaps even 100,000”:
“The hope is that by next month there could be additional cities in the request that hopefully brings the demand for EVs to 50,000 or perhaps even 100,000,”
They hope that such a large order would solidify demand for electric vehicles and encourage manufacturers to commit to larger volumes in order to reduce the cost.
Some cities have already committed to transition their fleet to electric. The city of Los Angeles leased a fleet of 288 electric vehicles and New York City recently announced the purchase of 80 all-electric Chevy Bolt EVs.
A large order like the new one Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, are talking about would be especially good for a vehicle program like the Bolt EV. So far, GM hasn’t committed production to more than 30,000 units per year and it is expected to lose a significant amount of money per vehicle without ZEV credits.
If it could get part of a large order like that, greater production volumes and potential cost reductions could follow. On the other hand, Tesla with the Model 3 is already planning an annual production of about 400,000 cars and it already has over 400,000 reservations. Therefore, it wouldn’t change much to the planned production, but the company could nonetheless try to get the order.
The cities plan to add demand to the RFI from additional cities joining the effort next month and automakers will have to submit their information by March.