Earlier this year, in a joint effort led by Los Angeles' mayor Eric Garcetti and fellow mayors of San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, they announced their request for information (RFI) to electric car manufacturers for the purchase of 24,000 electric cars to be supplied to their cities. Along the the national announcement, they also issued an open invitation for other mayors to join them in their quest to demonstrate the purchasing power of local governments across state lines. They hoped their RFI will encourage manufacturers to offer a wider array of electric vehicles by creating a larger market among fleet buyers for them. Since then, their purchasing power has more than quadrupled.
The original four leading cities has now expanded to 30. The RFI which originated from the West Coast, has expanded all the way to East Coast to include New York City. The 26 additional cities now include Boston, Denver, Kansas City and Houston. The original RFI for 24,000 units has grown to 114,000 and the potential investment of $10 billion. The RFI is asking auto manufacturers the cost and feasibility of providing electric vehicles, which includes the form of police cruisers, street sweepers and trash collectors. If successful, this deal would be equivalent to 72 per cent of total US plug-in sales from last year. And while this RFI is the infant stage of these sort of deals, no actual cars have been ordered yet. In the RFI stage, a formal bidding process is initiated by inviting manufacturers to outline their plans to supply their needs. Some cities are looking for vehicles which currently do not exist in the market such as electric fire engines and heavy-duty trucks.
Experts have reported that nearly 40 automakers, truck makers, bus makers and others have responded to the RFI. The group of mayors, while are mostly Democrats, do include a few Republicans, want to demonstrate that there is a demand for low-emission vehicles. This is all done while President-elect Trump, prepares to review the fuel emission standards pushed through in the last few weeks of President Obama's administration. Automakers including General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler all have expressed the new standards drive up costs and don't reflect the driving preferences of motorists. President Trump has already expressed his favor in siding with the automakers which he feels is hurting American jobs. "No matter what President Trump does or what happens in Washington, cities will continue leading the way on tackling climate change," Matt Petersen, the chief sustainability officer for Los Angeles.