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Cumberland County, Pa., Seeks State Grant for EV Fleet

County commissioners this week authorized the staff to pursue a $75,000 state alternative fuels incentive grant. The money will be used to offset the cost to replace fuel-burning fleet vehicles with electric models.

electric vehicles
(TNS) —Cumberland County will apply for a $75,000 state grant to convert a portion of its vehicle fleet to electric power within the next three years.

The commissioners Monday authorized staff to seek an Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

If successful, $60,000 of the grant will be used to offset a portion of the estimated $293,619 in upfront costs to purchase eight electric battery vehicles, County Director of Facilities Management Brent Durham said. The grant program provides for up to $7,500 in reimbursement on each vehicle, he said.

The remaining $15,000 would offset half of the estimated $30,000 in costs to develop six level-two charging stations split between the county's Ritner Highway campus and Allen Road campus, Durham said. "These stations will be used strictly for the charging of county-owned vehicles."

In preparing the grant application, Durham and his staff distributed a survey form among the county departments with questions on how each vehicle is being operated.

"We then had a study done to decide which vehicles were possible candidates for electric," Dunham said last week during a workshop meeting. "Of the 46 possible vehicles, we honed in on any vehicles that are slated for replacement within the next three years and we found eight viable candidates. This concept is to start the process of moving a percentage of our fleet towards electric vehicles."

Commissioner Gary Eichelberger had a question about the long-term viability of such a move. "This is a very fast-moving area both in terms of the market and the technology," Eichelberger said. "Do we have plans regarding the obsolescence of these vehicles?"

"Most of these vehicles come with an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty — a much longer warranty than their gas equivalents," Durham said. "Most of the vehicles across the county fleet average 8,000 miles per year, so I'm anticipating that we're going to get that eight-year mark and then we'll be looking to trade-off or move to another version."

Commissioner Jean Foschi asked Durham whether incentives under the federal Inflation Reduction Act would apply to the purchase of electric vehicles for the county fleet.

"It's just an idea," Foschi said. "It's worth looking at."

"I would need to research that," Durham said.

The act provides expanded tax credits for energy efficient commercial buildings, new energy efficient homes and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, according to a fact sheet issued by the White House. President Joe Biden signed the act in mid-August.

©2022 The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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