Gainesville is turning a new leaf by rolling out its new fleet of electric cars for city employees.
The city bought six new 2018 Nissan Leafs to replace its gas-powered cars, said city spokesperson Chip Skinner. Each car costs $25,756, and the city also purchased three dual-charging stations, which can charge two vehicles at once, for $28,765. The stations are located at the Historic Thomas Center. The purchase included shipping, installation and a warranty plan.
The vehicles were bought after the city’s General Policy Committee approved to replace gasoline-fueled cars in January. The city will evaluate the cost-efficiency of the electric vehicles in its first phase of a two-year pilot program, Skinner said.
“We’re doing everything we can to reduce emissions,” Skinner said.
Only city employees are allowed to drive the cars within city limits, Skinner said. They will also undergo driving training.
The city will start the second phase of the program in early 2019 by installing five single charging stations, which will cost $17,707 total and can charge one vehicle at a time, at City Hall. Five additional electric vehicles will also be purchased, Skinner said.
The 2018 model has a range of 150 miles on a single charge, compared to the city’s previous Ford Focus vehicles, which could drive 70 miles per gallon of gasoline, said Douglas Weichman, the director of fleet management. The new cars are also oil-free.
“With temperatures getting hotter, everybody has to do everything they can to work on sustainability,” Weichman said.
City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said the program helps move the city toward becoming 100 percent renewable.
The Gainesville Police Department will also receive three hybrid vehicles in the next few months, Hayes-Santos said.