Madison's Drive for Green Fleet: Challenges and Triumphs

Madison is planning a rapid bus transit system which will be electric, and it all helps as part of a bigger plan.

By Dave Lubach, Executive Editor  

Madison’s fleet superintendent, Mahanth Joishy, continues working on reaching the city’s ambitious goals for its vehicle fleet. It’s a challenge that he’s embraced and achieved success in but admits that Madison still has a long way to go. 

Because city vehicles work in a localized area and often return daily to city facilities where they can be plugged in and charged overnight, city fleets are considered perfect candidates for electrification. 

Madison currently has 95 electric vehicles (EVs) in its fleet of 1,400 vehicles. The EVs include the first-ever fire truck operating in North America as well as cars, off-road vehicles and forklifts. Madison has emerged as the leader in Wisconsin for biodiesel truck fleets and hybrid-electric fleets, but Joishy knows the city has work to do to achieve its fleet goal of 900 electric and 500 biodiesel vehicles by 2030. 

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“These are worthy goals for 2030, but we have to work like heck right now because we can only replace a certain amount of vehicles every year, and that applies to every city,” he says. “Budget is a huge hurdle but not the biggest one. The biggest hurdle is resistance to change, and that’s especially bad in government, because government doesn’t have the profit motive like the private sector. If you’re a private company, you have to adapt or you will die. Pushing for change is hard. It takes a lot of aggression, but I’m an aggressive person, and will fight like heck for this stuff.” 

Madison is planning a rapid bus transit system which will be electric, and it all helps as part of a bigger plan. By raising awareness with its commitment to EVs, Joishy hopes that others in the city – residents, businesses, other institutional and commercial facilities – will follow suit. 

One of the important parts of his goals in getting the fleet greener was to get the mayor to drive an electric car during her daily duties. 

“If the city sees us doing these green initiatives, they’ll realize that it will work for them,” he says.  

Dave Lubach is the executive editor for the facility market. He has more than eight years of experience writing about facility management and maintenance issues. 

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  posted on 12/1/2023   Article Use Policy

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