The Ford F-150 Lightning is now part of its “experimental rolling laboratory."  -  Photo: Ford

The Ford F-150 Lightning is now part of its “experimental rolling laboratory."

Photo: Ford

DTE Energy recently welcomed the Ford Motor Company F-150 Lightning to its fleet.

The Ford F-150 Lightning is now part of its “experimental rolling laboratory,” a strategy for testing which electric vehicles are safest and most effective for DTE’s field employee as they serve its customers.

DTE’s current goal is to replace about 25% of its current motorized fleet with vehicles using greener fuel technology by 2030.

DTE has taken delivery of 12 Lightnings, with 50 more to follow throughout 2022. The company will also be testing Chevrolet Silverados, some electric vans from various manufacturers, and a Class 6 truck from Peterbilt.

Matthew Betz, expert, Fleet Optimization, DTE, discussed why the company chose the rolling laboratory strategy.

“Our field employees do many different types of work using a wide range of tools,” he said. “They work outdoors year-round in weather that can be frigid or very warm depending on the time of year. It’s important that we field test electric vehicles over the course of several months to gain an understanding of how they perform in real-world situations.”

This news shouldn’t come as a surprise as DTE has previously shown interest in varying technologies and vehicles.

“DTE has always been interested in alternative fuel technologies,” Betz said. “Over the past few years, as additional electric and hybrid vehicle makes and models have come to market, we’re able to take that commitment to the next level and launch electric vehicles within our fleet.”

The F-150 Lightning welcome wasn’t the only recent big news for DTE.

Through its MIGreenPower program, the company announced that it is adding 650 MW of new solar for Ford, achieving a 70% increase in installed solar in Michigan and enabling Ford to achieve 100% carbon neutrality for electricity for its operations in Michigan by 2025.

With DTE’s actions reflecting its push for greener fuel technology, Betz said the company is on track to reach the 2030 goal.

“As part of our EV plan, we calculated how many EVs we need to order annually to reach our 2030 goal. We are on track with that plan,” Betz said. “We’re also evaluating other vehicles from pickups to vans and Class 6 trucks.”

DTE is installing EV chargers at DTE facilities throughout Southeastern Michigan, and the company has developed a home charger program for DTE drivers that start their workday from home.

Betz credited the multiple teams at DTE as the company is striving to reach its goal.

“The DTE Change Management organization has helped us create communications, processes, and feedback loops to increase driver and business unit participation, engagement, and acceptance,” Betz said. “Our Fleet spec team ensures any EV we deploy meets our DTE vehicle needs, and the DTE Facilities team leverages their knowledge of electric power supply to ensure safe and convenient charging at DTE locations.”

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