NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The City of New Bedford is joining the green movement by adding electric vehicles into its fleet.
Mayor Jon Mitchell and other leaders unveiled the city’s new electric vehicles during a ceremony at City Hall Thursday. Under its new initiative, the city is replacing 10 of the vehicles in its municipal fleet with new Nissan LEAF models.
According to Mayor Mitchell’s office, the cars will be assigned to Health Department inspectors who operate in city neighborhoods — and the addition of the new cars will allow the city to retire 10 older vehicles.
“The City’s effort to replace its aging municipal fleet with more fuel efficient, cost effective, and environmentally friendly technology is one element of our overall push to be a leader in the Green Economy,” Mitchell said. “New Bedford boasts the most installed solar capacity per capita of any community in the continental United States as the result of our aggressive move in the past two years to purchase more than 16 megawatts of electricity annually from solar and wind sources.”
Mitchell said each new vehicle will cost $73 per month and when the three year leases expire, the city intends to continue the cycle and move forward with the next generation of electric vehicles.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector is a key goal of the Commonwealth, and the increased use of electric vehicles is one way to help us reach that goal,” said Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “I’m happy that MassDEP has been able to work with the City of New Bedford on promoting EVs and incorporating EV technology in the city fleet.”
Under the new initiative, city officials say the number of electric car charging stations will be expanded to 17. Eight of the 17 stations are available to the public free of charge in parking garages and International Marketplace.