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Electric Vehicle Fleet Day

Mesa event showcases eco-friendly future for transportation sector

Posted 4/16/24

The city of Mesa recently hosted an event at the convention center that showcased the future of electric vehicles in the city.

Arizona EV Fleet Day, as it was called, was an April 3 showcase and …

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Electric Vehicle Fleet Day

Mesa event showcases eco-friendly future for transportation sector


The city of Mesa recently hosted an event at the convention center that showcased the future of electric vehicles in the city.

Arizona EV Fleet Day, as it was called, was an April 3 showcase and meeting of the minds that featured a selection of electric vehicles on display including a Tesla cybertruck, electric vehicles from Ford, the Mesa Fire and Medical Department’s electric-powered fire truck and many more.

“One of the vehicles here is Mesa’s first all-electric fire truck. We put it into service a couple of months ago,” Mesa employee Scott Bouchie said. “There are cars here that folks can go and purchase for personal use. But, we also have stuff that the city would use, such as your pickup trucks and sedans...if the city can electrify its fleet of vehicles, that would help reduce tailpipe emissions by a lot.”

City employees, and speakers from utility companies and auto companies were on hand to discuss the role of electric vehicles from not only an environmental perspective but also from an economic perspective. The meeting of minds in the private and public sector aims to find the best solutions and plans to further implement electric vehicles into Mesa — and Arizona as a whole — in order to reduce emissions.

One vehicle was a battery-powered truck from Nikola Corp. Officially called the Tre BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), this truck would have the ability to haul like any of its gas-powered brethren can, but with a marked reduction in emissions.

“The Tre Bev powered off of nine batteries. It’s a pure battery powertrain. Our other powertrain we use for a similar model is a fuel cell powered by hydrogen. The Tre Bev has an average max range of 330 miles and it takes 90 minutes on average to fully charge the battery,” said Mark Thackeray, who is the head of electromobility and vice president of regional sales at the Nikola Corp. “The Tre Bev unit is ideal for those that are at port, those inside of the city for local deliveries, those who live in mobiles and more.”

City employee Laura Hyneman said Mesa is the ideal location for a meeting like this to happen, and that the city has made reducing emissions an important aspect of their future plans. Part of the genesis behind the event was an Arizona-based organization that aims to electrify the transportation sector in the state, which would lead to a reduction in tailpipe emissions.

It also helps that, according to Hyneman, Mesa is a city that has already invested a lot into creating the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicles for both consumers and for the city, whether it be rolling out electric fire trucks, building more charging stations and more.

“Mesa is a founding member of an organization known as TE (Transportation Electrification) Activator; it’s a round table of people who work in utilities, the public sector and the private sector. It’s a collaborative group that meets on a regular basis,” Hyneman said. “We wanted to have a fleet day that focused on electric vehicles, so last year, we did our first event in Tempe, and this year we did it in a larger venue in Mesa. Fleet charging is really coming into its own in Mesa, and a lot of people in both the private sector and the public sector are getting involved in electric vehicles.”

Hyneman also pointed out that these partnerships are easier to build if the meetings and networking happens in person.

John Heckman, who is the director of TE Activator and Electrify Arizona, said the collaboration between multiple parties at the fleet day is important and getting everyone in the same place is the best way to facilitate a dialogue.

Heckman believes in the economic impact that electric vehicles could have on the city of Mesa, although he admits the process will be challenging at first. The fleet day is a big part of understanding how to gauge that impact, according to Heckman.

“There’s definitely challenges with it and concerns with range or charge time,” Heckman said. “But you’re fundamentally looking at something that is a much lower cost to operate than gas-powered vehicles.”

Heckman believes that electric vehicles will be the standard in the future and that fossil fuels will be left in the past, and hopes the fleet day can be a small step on the road to accomplishing that.

“We are looking at a transition from fossil fuel to electric mobility that is of the scale that only happens every 100 years. It’s similar to when we went from horses to gas. The amount of change that has to happen for that to happen is hard to even fathom,” Heckman said. “It’s gonna take a lot of people from a lot of different parts of our economy working together. The first goal of this fleet day is to get people together, talking to each other, networking and building a community. From that, we starting building our plans and goals and taking steps down that path.”