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Shaker Heights, Ohio, Pilots First All-Electric Fleet Vehicle

The city’s parks and recreation department will be the first to test out an all-electric 2020 Chevrolet Bolt. The new fleet vehicle replaces a nonfunctioning 2004 Ford Crown Victoria officials say.

by Thomas Jewell, / February 23, 2021

(TNS) — The city will be piloting its first all-electric vehicle around town with the purchase of a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt for the Parks and Recreation Department.

The $28,500 acquisition, approved Monday by City Council, will also make use of a new EV charging station going in at Thornton Park, one of seven new or upgraded chargers to be installed locally with last month’s Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) grant.

“We don’t always get so excited about the purchase of an automobile by the city,” Mayor David Weiss said. “But we’re ecstatic about this one. This is something we’ve been waiting on for a long time.”

The new Bolt, available at more than a $10,000 discount off the sticker price through the combination of a General Motors incentive and savings with a cooperative state purchasing program, will replace a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria that likely gets about 14 miles to a gallon of gas.

That’s an estimate, since the decommissioned police cruiser’s odometer has stopped working in recent years, Shaker Sustainability Coordinator Michael Peters noted in a memo to council.

Peters added that with an estimated range of 259 miles between charges, Chevy Bolt’s purchase — which can be made from a local dealership — will accomplish several goals:

— Eliminating point-source pollution from the existing Crown Victoria, estimated to create over 5,300 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, most if not all emitted within the city limits.

— “Aligning the public perception and mission of the rec department with the sustainability aspects of an ‘emission-free’ electric vehicle, rather than a gas guzzler.”

— Reinforcing the public EV charging program the city is implementing, as the Bolt would be able to use the new chargers at Thornton Park and elsewhere.

— “Fourth, but also importantly, the costs to operate and maintain the Bolt will be less than the vehicle it is replacing, especially as that vehicle continues to age, not to mention the increase in reliability,” Peters said.

The money will come out of a transfer from the city’s General Capital Fund to the rec department for repair and replacement.

In other energy-related business at its Feb. 22 meeting, council accepted a $38,264 NOPEC Energized Community grant to offset the $200,000 replacement of the building automation system at Fire Station No. 1 on Chagrin Boulevard.

The city has been receiving annual NOPEC grants to improve energy efficiency since 2018, although this year’s allocation only works out to about $5 per enrolled account (roughly 7,653 participants), rather than the previous $7, Peters noted.

Also at Fire Station No. 1, the city will be applying to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a $72,149 Assistance to Firefighters grant to replace the diesel exhaust capture system that Chief Patrick Sweeney said has been problematic from the start in providing efficient removal of carcinogenic emissions.

If approved by FEMA, the grant would require a local match of about $8,000.

Council also approved a third-year extension of the city’s $50,000 contract with Peters and Coventry Land Company to continue to consult with the city in its continuing environmental initiatives.

Those ongoing efforts have included:

  • Serving as liaison and coordinator of council’s Sustainability Committee that transitioned from the Climate Change Task Force formed in 2014
  • EnergyCap utility bill tracking
  • Investigation of the conversion of streetlights to LED
  • City facilities composting program
  • Successful grant applications including for energy-efficiency improvements in city buildings and electric vehicle charging stations
  • Compiling the “complex” LEED for Cities application to obtain national green building certification
  • Solar power generation research
  • Representing the city at various sustainability conferences

“These are great examples of investment by the city in changes that don’t happen overnight,” Weiss said, adding that Peters continues to earn his fee handily through the innovations he and Coventry have helped to implement.

Councilwoman Anne Williams, who chairs the Sustainability Committee, said the contract renewal for Peters was wholeheartedly supported.

“We appreciate the time and effort he’s put in, as well as the leadership and support he’s provided,” Williams said.

©2021 The Plain Dealer, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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