SRP Expands ‘Green Fleet’ of Electric Vehicles

Pull into the parking lots at Salt River Project’s headquarters in Tempe and you will notice electric vehicle charging stations sprinkled throughout for the convenience of employees and customers.  More Level 2 (240 Volt) charging units are coming, as SRP continues to invest in its “green fleet.”

As part of the company’s green fleet program, SRP is increasing its line of new-technology vehicles with the addition of five new Ford plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – three Fusion Energi and two C-MAX Energi – which are scheduled to arrive in October. Currently, SRP has five Chevy Volts; a total of 15 green vehicles will be leased by 2014.

“The initial five Chevy Volts were added to SRP’s fleet as part of a demonstration project with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to help determine the impact of electric vehicles on the Valley grid,” said Jim Wood, SRP’s manager of transportation.

The electric vehicles are being rotated through the company to get a wide variety of driving distances and habits. As part of the program, an OnStar system will collect data such as drive time, state of charge, charging details, trip routes and charging locations. In the same vein, Ford’s MyFord ® Mobile app will collect rich data for the company on employee driving and charging habits, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance. The MyFord ® Mobile app also provides drivers and fleet managers with real-time battery charge status, a vehicle locator and value charging, which allows a car to automatically recharge during lower-cost, off-peak electricity rates, when there is less strain on the electrical grid.

A team of representatives from departments throughout SRP, including Facilities, Transportation Services, Load Research, Environmental Management, Policy & Compliance (EMPC) and others, will continue to review and analyze data collected on the performance of the technology.

The project will help SRP collect information on how the plug-in hybrid is used and charged. The Volt, for example, is powered only from electricity stored in its 16-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery for a typical range of 25 to 50 miles. The on-board engine provides electricity to power the drive unit for extended-range capability, and it plugs into a standard household 120-volt outlet (or 240 volts for charging.)

SRP is building excitement among its employees by allowing them to vote on the best custom-designed wrap for each of the new Ford plug-in hybrids.

The top five employee-voted designs will be announced Nov. 7.  In addition, employees are now test-driving SRP’s plug-in hybrids to become more familiar with the technology and to find out why SRP is adding these vehicles to its fleet.

“We’re very proud of the high level of interest that employees have demonstrated during our fall transportation campaign.  These new additions to our green fleet will not only reduce emissions, but are fun to drive. Perhaps you’ll spot one during your next commute,” said Kelly Barr, senior director of Environmental Management Policy & Compliance.

SRP is the largest provider of power and water to the great Phoenix metropolitan area.