Summerside hopes to expand electric vehicle fleet
'The maintenance and fuel cost with electricity is very low'
Summerside, P.E.I., is planning to add to its small fleet of electric cars.
The city has issued a request for proposals for two new electric vehicles that would bring the fleet to five.
The city started looking into using electric vehicles for municipal operations in 2013, said Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services with the city.
"We were successful in 2015 in purchasing three vehicles at that time. We've been working on evaluating the use of electric vehicles since 2015. We've been using them now for about three years."
Gaudet said there are now more than 30 charging stations in and around the city and the vehicles have required little maintenance.
"The maintenance and fuel cost with electricity is very low compared to regular gasoline or diesel vehicles that we use."
However, there have been a few issues with loss of battery charge in cold weather, Gaudet said cold weather can cut the battery life by 30 per cent, which cuts down the distance the vehicle can travel.
Working with local business
The electric vehicles the city wants to purchase will have longer ranges then the current vehicles the city operates, Gaudet said.
"We've been working with local car dealerships trying to get them certified to maintain the vehicles. We found that the overall investment, the increased investment on the vehicle, for electric vehicles, when you take into account the fuel cost and maintenance savings it pays the extra investment off with just a little under six years."
Tthe city keeps that vehicle for a 10-year cycle, Gaudet said.
One of the electric vehicles the city hopes to add will be used for workers to travel to read utility meters.
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With files from Angela Walker