Taking the next step to cut costs and greenhouse gas emissions, the City of Bellevue added three electric cars to its fleet this week.
Purchased with the help of a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, each Chevrolet Volt can go 35 miles on battery power. An onboard gas generator can produce electricity for an additional 340 miles, but it is expected that most staff will use the car in electric mode.
Incorporating electric vehicles into the fleet is part of broader environmental and economic actions that the city has taken through its Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI). Steadily replacing gas cars with hybrids over the past several years, the city now has 120 hybrids, more than half of the 230 passenger vehicles in the fleet.
Having a large portfolio of high-efficiency vehicles saves the city more than $100,000 and 30,000 gallons of gasoline each year, and reduces annual fleet carbon dioxide emissions by 250 metric tons. Moving away from gasoline dependency has proved particularly effective as gas prices have climbed.
"We are not only being good stewards of our environment but also of tax dollars by gradually transitioning to a cleaner, greener fleet," said Mayor Conrad Lee. "We are walking the talk, and showing our community that it is feasible to use greener cars."
The average commute trip in King County is 22 miles per day, a distance that can be accommodated by almost all freeway-approved electric vehicles.
To encourage hybrid and electric car usage, the city installed 14 public charging stations throughout Bellevue in late 2011, all of which have seen increasing usage. Six new stations will be installed at city facilities to accommodate the fleet vehicles. Combined with chargers provided by commercial property owners, Bellevue boasts more than 50 public-use charge stations (locations).
"Charging overnight at home will generally accommodate people's daily needs, but we want to help relieve "range anxiety" by ensuring that there is a reliable network of publicly available charging stations as a backup," said Sheida Sahandy, leader of the ESI.
Bellevue's investment in charging stations is also paying economic dividends, with luxury electric car makers Tesla and Fisker choosing to site showrooms here. Chevy and Nissan are also selling electric models here.
Return to News Release Index