Driving Innovation

ComEd Takes its First EV Roadtrip

September 27, 2023

Over the summer, more than 700 miles from Chicago, a chain of severe storms hit the east coast corridor. These storms caused widespread power outages and damage in the Philadelphia and Baltimore regions, prompting ComEd crews to head east to assist with restoring power outages.

ComEd belongs to three mutual assistance networks that cover 30 states. If requested by other utilities in the network, and provide that no significant weather is moving into the ComEd territory, the company will send crews to assist in restoration efforts for the requesting utility. In August, 300 of ComEd’s crew members prepared their vehicles and equipment and hit the road—except this time, one of ComEd’s all electric trucks made the long drive out east.

Scott Over, manager of Regional Electric Operations, opted to drive his company electric vehicle (EV), an R1T Rivian truck, all the way to Philadelphia and back. During his more than 1,500-mile road trip, Scott boasted over $400 in net savings from charging vs. fueling and made nearly the same number of stops as combustion engine trucks to power his EV.

“The electric truck performed great throughout the duration of the trip,” exclaimed Scott. “Though the world of EVs can seem daunting at first, technology has come such a long way in making user experiences simple and seamless. In my trip, the car’s app automatically calculated its range and charted the nearest chargers along my route, and another app helped locate public and free charging stations.”

ComEd leads a series of new programs to support EV adoption and to help meet the growing demand for electrification by its customers, all in support of Illinois’ goal of putting 1 million EVs on the road in Illinois by 2030. But the company is also working to electrify its own fleet of vehicles. ComEd has begun piloting new all-electric fleet trucks, and has a mix of nearly 1,000 all-electric, plug-in hybrid, or idle-mitigation vehicles in the queue. In addition, ComEd is making facility upgrades, having added 500 charging stations across the ComEd footprint to date with more to come. This is just the start of a broader effort, under the Exelon Path to Clean, to convert 30% of the ComEd vehicle fleet to electric by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

While EVs are on the rise at ComEd and statewide, the company is taking careful steps to make sure its crews have information about this dynamic and climate-friendly new technology. The new EV Ambassador Program, launched by ComEd’s fleet operations team, is training staff and boosting confidence in new electric fleet offerings. These vehicles include models from automakers Rivian, Ford, and even Altec, which will deliver ComEd’s first all-electric bucket truck next year – one of the first in the nation.

“As ComEd works to support a cleaner and more energy efficient future for the communities we serve, our employees are on the front lines of spearheading new, emissions reducing technology and EVs across our operations – a key focus of the Path to Clean initiative,” said Les Faul, ComEd’s Fleet Operations Manager. “The EV Ambassador program puts our employees in the driver’s seat, providing a unique opportunity for feedback and learning, as we adopt new technology in our company and lead by example on the transition to cleaner transportation in our region.”

As one of the EV Ambassadors, Scott efficiently manages electric operations across Streator, Pontiac, and Joliet thanks to his Rivian. “I can tell people are interested in making the switch. I get stopped a lot for questions, and I’m always happy to show them all the perks of going green,” said Scott. “I no longer have to stop at gas stations and spend time fueling up while on the job – I charge up at night or while grabbing a bite. Also, the auto maintenance is almost non-existent.”

To learn how you can make the switch, potential cost savings, and more visit ComEd’s interactive EV Toolkit.