Low-speed electric vehicles (LSVs) are sometimes referred to as street legal golf carts. In reality, they’re much more versatile than a golf cart. The Polaris GEM LSV can be customized with a flatbed for use as a utility truck, kitted out with toolboxes for facility maintenance, or used to comfortably transport up to six people. Plus, they can run for eight hours or more on a single charge.
In today’s post, we learn from electric utility vehicle product expert Russ Ziegler how he helps organizations with large fleets find the right vehicles based on safety, sustainability and budget. Russ has extensive experience advising fleet managers who oversee higher education, transit and/or shuttle applications. Read on to learn more about the benefits of an LSV compared to conventional, gas-powered vehicles and how Russ helps fleet managers make data-driven decisions.
How a Large University Lowered Costs While Improving Sustainability
Russ helped a large university in Northern California evaluate whether switching from gas-powered trucks and vans to LSVs would save money. Using data such as:
- the total number of vehicles in the fleet
- the vehicle types
- how much time the vehicle was used
- the distance driven
- and where the vehicles went
“They have vehicles built to drive 90 mph and go 400 miles on a tank of gas, but those vehicles never exceed 25 mph and went about 12 miles a day inside a ½ mile radius. They simply had the wrong vehicles for the application," Russ said. “We projected out what the emissions and spending would be if, every year, when they roll out aged vehicles, they replace them with a Polaris GEM - a vehicle that is a much better fit for their application. "
"A lot of large fleets can expect six-figure fleet reduction costs by switching to LSVs, not to mention a reduction in potential CO2 emissions in the millions of pounds,” Russ said.
“An assessment like what we did for the large university is available to any large fleet customers of TMH," said Russ. "Our fleet management devices use GPS technology, so, some institutions prefer to use their fleet data rather than 'tracking' their team members. We can work with the information either way, depending on how well the organization has logged their data."
A quick fleet savings calculator is also available on the Polaris GEM website.
What about the cost of building infrastructure?
“The bottom line: some companies need to make a one-time investment in charging stations, but it’s well worth it. After running the numbers and taking into account the total savings from lower acquisition costs, lower maintenance and lower fuel costs, it almost always works out in favor of converting to electric LSVs,” Russ said. “There is also a considerable on-going cost to keeping gas onsite and maintaining fuel tanks, or going off-site to fill up vehicles.”
Most campuses don't need trucks and vans designed to be driven at high speeds on a highway. And unless the fleet includes dozens of vehicles, most organizations won't need to build infrastructure for charging.
GEM vehicles have long-range battery options and regenerative braking, so a vehicle can go eight hours or more on a single charge. Additionally, GEMs can charge from a regular 110v outlet.
The “Long-Tailpipe” Myth
A recent study of electric vs. internal combustion vehicles, reported by Forbes, found electric vehicles have a smaller carbon footprint than internal combustion equivalents, regardless of the local source of the electricity. In other words, even in places where the primary source of electricity is coal, an electric vehicle produces fewer net emissions compared to even the most advanced internal combustion vehicles.
“Polaris GEM vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, this means fumes are not being created and dumped on your campus, being breathed in by you, campus visitors and all the people you work or deal with,” Russ said. “Also, switching to electric is something you can do today. However your electricity is made, you can lobby for greener options. But today, you can eliminate emissions on your campus and push on the supply chain to create cleaner generation. Don’t let the pursuit of a perfect solution keep you from finding a very good one.”
Low-speed Electric Vehicles are Safer
“Speed and weight cause the most damage in car accidents,” Russ said. “A semi going 25 miles per hour is going to do some serious damage, and so will a Fiat going 95.”
GEM vehicles are street legal which means crews can avoid driving utility vehicles on sidewalks and reducing the chance of accidents with distracted pedestrians.
Other Benefits of LSVs Versus Conventional Vehicles
- Electric vehicles require little maintenance, which means less downtime in addition to cost savings on oil changes, fuel and insurance.
- A GEM can easily maneuver between buildings and small pathways where large trucks don’t fit. They get the job done, in places a regular truck can’t.
- LSV vs. conventional vehicle cost comparison.
Polaris GEM vehicles are fully-customizable for any application including:
- Hotels and Hospitality
- Delivery applications
- Landscape Management
- Construction and Facilities Maintenance
- Security, Patrol and Public Safety
- Shuttles and Tours
- Steel flatbed up to 70” x 48”
- 1400 lb payload
- 1250 lb towing capacity
- Manual or electric lift box
Contact us online or by phone:
East Bay - Livermore (510) 675-0500
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091
- View our inventory of electric golf carts and maintenance vehicles
- Polaris GEM electric vehicle FAQs
- 5 Questions to ask before buying an electric golf cart or LSV