10:04 AM

Phoenix-based Red Mountain Lighting now drives an all-EV fleet

“Switching to EVs is similar to switching to all LED lightbulbs – a no-brainer if you want to save costs, improve environmental impact and enjoy several other benefits.”
Charles Kirkland, President and Owner Red Mountain Lighting

Owner of several mid-sized Arizona-based companies, Charles Kirkland, has always been what he refers to as a “closet environmentalist.” He was fascinated by solar and renewable energy at a young age and remains in awe of how power is derived from natural elements. But even with a healthy interest, Kirkland was waiting for the day when using solar and buying electric vehicles (EVs) in a commercial setting became more pragmatic. 

Kirkland researched how and when it could make fiscal sense for him to have an all-electric vehicle fleet for his company, Red Mountain Lighting, which sells commercial lighting products and conducts maintenance all around the Phoenix metro area.

“I wanted my team to drive electric vehicles because if you do it right, it can be a bit like owning and driving a car for free,” said Kirkland. “Red Mountain Lighting’s cars are charged with solar power and EVs generally require very little maintenance. If you add that to the rebates we received from SRP’s Business EV Charger Rebate program and the lowered costs over time, it is cost savings in spades.”

Mid-size company, big EV charger rebates

SRP business customers who install EV charging stations in their company parking lots can receive $1,500 for each charging port that is network-capable or “smart.” The funding is intended to help offset the purchase and installation costs, and it encourages businesses to adopt and install EV charging stations to improve environmental conditions in Arizona. Installing more in-town EV chargers also shortens the range EVs need to go before receiving their next charge. And with charging stations in business parking lots, charging can be done while vehicle owners are working, shopping or living in multi-unit dwellings.

“Before I purchased EV chargers for my fleet, I found out about SRP’s rebate program and I called a representative to ensure I could receive a rebate on each charger,” said Kirkland. “They helped me decide on Level 2 charging stations that were not only eligible for rebates, but also provide fast charging speeds and real-time data on the status of the charging unit.”

Level 2 charging stations also give commercial property owners the option of charging a fee for use and give EV vehicle owners the ability to reserve time slots to use the charger.

EV charger rebates have helped motivate Phoenix-based companies of all sizes, including mid- and smaller-sized companies, to make the switch to EV fleets. This is a newer progression from the early wave of large multinational and technology companies that moved to EV, many of which are recognized as leaders in sustainability and innovation. Companies that have all-EV fleets include conglomerates like Amazon, AT&T and Siemens. And as EV car manufacturers like Nikola – which has recently moved its headquarters to Phoenix – continue to innovate new electric models that can be used for heavy-duty application, more companies are expected to begin updating their fleets to EVs.

Benefits go beyond cost savings

“SRP’s Business EV Charger Rebate program is for any interested business owner who sees value in having EV chargers on their properties, including those considering switching to EV fleets,” said Dan Dreiling, Director of Customer Programs at SRP.

Dreiling says that Phoenix-based companies now have clearer incentives to electrify fleets and install EV chargers including freedom from oil and gas prices, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, enhanced company reputation and improved benefits to employees, including work-life balance — many employees can cut their commute times by driving electric.

“The benefits my staff receive from driving EVs around the Valley goes far beyond what I could have imagined,” said Kirkland.

He says that driving EVs has cut down the commute for some of his employees by more than half, and his sales teams are even able to see additional clients on average per day. This is because while driving an EV in Arizona, drivers are able to use the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane which can be used by cars with low emissions license plates.

For his EV fleet, Kirkland was waiting for the 2019 electric Fiats to become available for purchase, and now has more than 30 of these vehicles. Kirkland also purchased Nissan Leafs and has reservations for electric trucks from Rivian and Tesla, to complete a fleet of around 60 EVs.

“Switching to EVs is similar to switching to all LED lightbulbs – a no-brainer if you want to save costs, improve environmental impact and enjoy several other benefits,” said Kirkland.

Business owners interested in moving to an EV fleet, or simply installing EV chargers on their commercial properties, can look at SRP’s Business EV Charger Rebate webpage for information on qualified smart chargers before purchase, details on how to apply for a rebate as well as FAQs. Business owners can also directly contact SRP team members who can walk customers through the purchasing and installation process by calling (602) 236-3065.

As part of the SRP 2035 Sustainability Goals, the utility is committed to supporting the enablement of 500,000 EVs in SRP's service territory and managing 90 percent of EV charging through price plans, connected smart homes and other emerging programs.

About SRP

SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.