GREENFIELD — As the electric vehicle market progresses, Mayor Chuck Fewell says he wants Greenfield to be ahead of the curve and have a nearly all-electric fleet of city cars in the coming years.
Soon, the city will buy its second electric vehicle in the past 10 months. The Greenfield Board of Works and Public Safety on Tuesday, Oct. 22, approved the purchase of a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV, priced at $33,756 from Champion Chevrolet of Avon, for the city’s engineering department. Last December, the board of works OK’d a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV LT for Greenfield Power & Light, which cost $34,844.
The city received four quotes for a new engineering department vehicle; two were 2020 Ford Fusion Hybrids, and the others were 2020 Chevrolet Bolts. The lowest bid was $24,466 for the Fusion. Even though the Bolt costs an extra $9,200, Jason Koch, city engineer, requested the board approve the electric vehicle. He said having a Bolt would save about $400 more a year in electricity versus gasoline.
Koch said the Bolt also has an eight-year battery warranty and doesn’t require oil changes and other maintenance that non-electric cars typically need. And when Greenfield employees “fill up” their vehicles at any of the electric charging stations in Greenfield, those city funds will go back to the city’s coffers. Only 10% of the electricity cost goes to ChargePoint — the company that maintains the chargers.
Fewell said while he hopes the city can someday have an all-electric fleet for non-emergency and non-specialty vehicles, such as police, fire and 4-wheel drive trucks and SUVs, he wants to track the savings of the new engineering vehicle before proceeding with electric vehicles for other departments.
In the 2020 city budget, the Greenfield City Council approved money for an electric vehicle to act as a “pool car” for any department to use for city business. It will be kept at Greenfield City Hall.
“It’s an economic tool that we can use to make out city stand out as showing we are environmentally friendly,” Fewell said, “and we’re going to save money in the long run doing this.”
Earlier this year, the city paid for an electric vehicle charging station in the city-owned parking lot next to Lincoln Square Pancake House in downtown Greenfield. The station can charge two cars.
Greenfield Utilities had been talking with Gander Outdoors about putting a charging station in its lot, but those plans have fallen through, said Mike Fruth, director of utilities. He’s now looking at other spots on the north side near Interstate 70. Fairfield Inn and Suites also has two charging stations.
Fruth said the city intends to install a charging station at another city lot downtown as it grows the electric fleet. Power & Light has a charger inside its garage.
The current downtown station is a Level 2 charger, meaning it takes four hours for a full charge. Fruth said they also plan to install Level 3 stations downtown and on the city’s north side, where drivers only have to spend 30 minutes to obtain a full charge. Drivers can access charging station locations on a ChargePoint smartphone application. They will be priced at $0.50 an hour with a $2 base cost.