City Mayor Jon Mitchell, state officials and other leaders recently announced that the City of New Bedford, Mass., has converted more than 25% of its general use fleet to electric vehicles (EVs) as part of an initiative to replace more of New Bedford’s aging fleet with fuel-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly electric cars.
According to the announcement, this milestone now makes New Bedford’s EV fleet the largest of its kind in any municipality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The city states that financial incentives from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (EVIP) have supported New Bedford’s implementation of its aggressive green energy agenda. The EVIP, MassDEP, granted the city $206,000 in funding to support efforts to incorporate clean energy technology into its transportation infrastructure.
“Over the last three years, our MassEVIP program has awarded nearly $1.8 million to help purchase 123 electric vehicles and install EV charging stations,” says MassDEP Commissioner Suuberg. “There are now more than 7,000 EVs on Massachusetts roads, and we’re pleased that New Bedford is helping to lead the way with this exciting new technology.”
“Our success in pursuing an ambitious renewable energy agenda is tied to the strong partnerships New Bedford has forged both with state government and with private-sector partners like Nissan,” says Mayor Mitchell.
Last June, the city first introduced 10 EVs to its fleet when older model vehicles that were purchased in the early/mid 1990s were retired. As of this announcement, more than 25% of the cars in the city’s municipal passenger fleet of 70 vehicles have been converted to EVs. In addition, New Bedford is currently leasing 19 new Nissan LEAF models, which are being used by the New Bedford Health Department and New Bedford Public Schools.
According to the city’s announcement, the EVs are super efficient – traveling the equivalent of 126 miles per gallon on city streets. Further, at an average of $60 per vehicle, per month, it has been less expensive than purchasing or leasing conventional cars.
City officials say that New Bedford expanded the number of EV charging stations from eight in 2011 to 27 total stations; 10 of the 27 are available to the public free of charge in city parking garages and in the International Marketplace public lot.
Nissan says it recently donated two “Fast Charger” stations to the city that are located at the International Marketplace and on City Pier 3. The public may use these Fast Chargers for a fee payable by credit card at the station. New Nissan LEAF buyers may be eligible for complimentary charging through Nissan’s “No Charge to Charge” promotion, which offers two years of free public charging with the purchase or lease of a new LEAF in select markets.
“We know that public charging is a key element in providing additional range confidence for electric vehicle drivers, and free public charging is a great way to make Nissan LEAF an unrivaled value for the average American driver,” says Brian Maragno, director of Nissan’s EV sales and marketing.
The Fast Charger stations enable drivers to charge their EVs up to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes.