Skip to main content

FirstKey Homes

Fleet Electrification Study



  • Maintenance fleet vehicle use and mileage expenses study
  • Needs assessment, based on vehicle use and mileage
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) options and cost study
  • Optimal replacement schedule
  • Fleet Assessment Report

FirstKey Homes, a rental property management organization, has maintenance technicians in 15 U.S. cities. The technicians access a fleet of approximately 140 vehicles, primarily cargo vans. In that fleet, average fuel efficiency is less than 16 miles per gallon. With those maintenance vehicles averaging over 20,000 miles per year, aggregate fuel costs are significant.

A further budgetary concern is the personal vehicle mileage expense required for field inspector and superintendent travel to customer zones. Over 130 employees, traveling an average of 15,000 miles per year, receive reimbursement for that expense.

FirstKey Homes leadership, working with the Southface Institute, resolved to consider electrification of the maintenance vehicle fleet. That, plus use of Electric Vehicles (EV) for field operations could minimize fuel costs and mileage expense. A study would be required.

Southface Institute is a nonprofit organization that promotes a healthy built environment and greater sustainability. In their work with FirstKey Homes, they subcontracted ecoPreserve to prepare a Fleet Electrification Study.

One component of that study researched maintenance vehicle times to zone, stops per day, and miles per day. For ten markets having above average Field Inspector mileage, annual average costs miles per employee were compiled. With the fleet and personal vehicle mileage information, baseline characteristics were documented.

The ecoPreserve team also assessed options for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and charging stations, along with hybrid and propane/compressed natural gas powered vehicles. The emissions reductions possible with each option were documented.

EV charging
ecoPreserve found alternatives for vehicles using petroleum fuels, providing practical next steps toward conversion to a low/no emission fleet. Recognizing that alternative fuels have not become as convenient as petroleum, the team recommended a pilot program of upfitting maintenance tech vehicles using commercially-available hybrid conversion technologies.The pilot program and further recommendations documented in the study offer achieveable next steps, leading toward complete electrification of the FirstKey Homes fleet.Whether purchasing EV or converting petroleum-powered vehicles to hybrids, FirstKey can enjoy benefits of participating in the circular economy. Expended lithium-ion batteries from EV and hybrid vehicles can be resold and recycled for storing wind and solar energy, or have the metals within them downcyled as material for new battery manufacture.