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Richmond buys electric trucks at double the cost of regular vehicles

Over the lifetime of electric, hybrid vehicles, savings come from lower maintenance and fuel costs, according to the City of Richmond
The City of Richmond is buying four fully electric Ford F150 Lightning trucks.

The City of Richmond is buying four fully electric pickup trucks and three hybrid pickup trucks for more than half a million dollars.

This is almost double the cost of what seven regular trucks – either gas or diesel – would cost, but Richmond city staff said fuel and maintenance costs will be much lower with these vehicles.

This is part of the city’s “green fleet” program, and, while the city has some hybrid vehicles already, the four pickup trucks will be the first fully electric vehicles owned by the city.

Richmond city council approved the purchase this week, awarding contracts to Mainland Ford for the three hybrid trucks and to Metro Motors for the four fully electric pickup trucks.

Coun. Andy Hobbs questioned staff on the cost of electric and hybrid vehicles compared to other vehicles at the public works and transportation committee meeting, to which Suzanne Bycraft, the city's interim director of public works, said the cost is “close to double.”

“I think everyone understands there’s a green premium to be paid for this kind of technology,” Hobbs said at the meeting Tuesday. He later told the Richmond News there's a role for government to "lead" in buying electric vehicles, ultimately, bringing down the cost as they are bought on a mass scale.

Bycraft explained at the meeting, after the initial higher cost of the vehicles, over the lifetime of the trucks, fuel and maintenance costs will be “substantially reduced” and make up for the higher price.

The savings will make the total cost over the life cycle of the vehicles equivalent to gas trucks, Bycraft told the Richmond News.

The total cost of the two contracts is just over $540,000.

The three Ford F150 hybrid trucks will cost almost $155,000 and the four fully electric F150 Lightning crew cab trucks will cost about $325,000. (One bid for the fully electric trucks, from Grande West Transportation, came in at almost $740,000.)

On top of the vehicle costs, the city factored in a contingency fund, outfitting costs and PST of more than $33,000.

The trucks are not expected to be delivered before the second quarter of 2022 because of market demand.

Delivery might be further impacted by the recent flooding that has affected transportation routes and the trucking industry, according to the city.

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