Charleston unveils first electric vehicles to be added to fleet
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston has introduced its first electric cars to its fleet, and officials say the cars are part of the city’s plan to reduce their carbon footprint by the end of the decade.
The city unveiled two new Nissan Leafs at Washington Square Park Thursday morning. While Mayor John Tecklenburg admits it is a small start, he said it is the first step in much a larger goal – to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 34% before 2030.
The all-electric Leafs will be used by the city’s mail courier and the planning department.
Tecklenburg said these vehicles will be much cheaper to maintain long-term versus their gas-powered cousins because there are fewer moving parts, such as no radiator or oil to change.
“Everything in our fleet that we can reasonably convert, we’ll start doing,” Tecklenburg said. “I’ll admit to you that the pricing differential has been a factor to get started, but those prices are starting to equalize to where it really makes sense in the long run to go ahead and try to make that switch over to electric vehicles.”
Officials said they budget millions of dollars each year to pay for around 750,000 gallons of fuel for the city’s fleet, including police and fire vehicles.
In addition to the new cars, the city said they are doubling the number of charging stations in parking garages by the end of the year. The eight stations in place currently will be replaced by newer variants.
The mayor said they will look to convert other vehicles, such as garbage trucks and street sweepers, to electric as well.
“Our team has been getting together planning the vehicles that we can convert of our own City of Charleston fleet to electrification,” Tecklenburg said. “This is just the beginning, but you got to start somewhere, right? And this is the start.”
For now, the city said they will be using the public chargers installed in parking garages to charge the cars.
Eventually, when a proposed new operations center is built, they will have the infrastructure to charge these cars there.
The city is also working up an ordinance that would add additional charging infrastructure, such as more outlets and charging stations, to new construction. A first draft of that new rule was presented in February.
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