Green Fleet

Chicago Commits to Electric Vehicles

December 03, 2012

CHICAGO – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to add 20 electric vehicles to the City fleet in the coming years.

The City of Chicago has purchased, entered into contracts, or begun the procurement process for:

  • The City has purchased four all-electric Ford Focus hatchbacks, which will replace several of the leased, all-electric Nissan Leafs currently being used by City departments. The City expects delivery of the Ford Focus hatchbacks later in 2012. 

  • The City intends to order three Smith Electric medium-duty trucks with various installed bodies, such as delivery trucks and flatbed trucks in 2013. The City intends to order a similar number in future years of the contract, for a total of 15, pending the need for the equipment and the availability of funding. The City is also preparing to issue a specification for all-electric, medium-duty vehicles to be purchased with federal funding.

  • The City has entered into a contract with Motiv Power Systems to purchase all-electric refuse collection trucks. The City currently intends to purchase one all-electric refuse collection truck from Motiv, which will be the first of its kind, for real-world testing alongside the City’s fleet of traditionally-fueled refuse collection trucks. The City may buy additional all-electric refuse collection trucks in the future based on the results of this testing and the availability of funding. In addition to the contract with Motiv, the City is also processing a contract for all-electric semi tractors.

The City of Chicago currently has more than 2,200 “green” alternatives in its fleet, including flex-fuel, hybrid, and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. 

The Mayor’s environmental plan for the City calls for the City to increase by 3% annually its share of green alternatives in its on-road vehicle fleets. The City is on track to exceed this goal in 2013, continuing to improve on the 31% share of green alternative vehicles in the City’s on-road fleet.

In the past week, the City has made several announcements regarding electric vehicles and batteries.

On Nov. 27, Mayor Emanuel announced an incentive program using federal funds to facilitate fleet conversion ($15M). Open to public and private fleets that operate in the Chicago area, the program will provide a voucher applied to the purchase price at the point of sale covering about 60% of the incremental cost of the electric vehicle. The City will issue a call for applications Spring 2013.

On Nov. 28, Mayor Emanuel announced that Smith Electric will open a factory in Chicago to build electric trucks, its third location.

On Nov. 29, Mayor Emanuel announced a new procurement strategy to encourage companies to “green” their fleets by providing them a 0.5% bid incentive on City contracts.

In addition, on Nov. 30, the Department of Energy announced $120 million in funding to Argonne National Laboratory, just outside of Chicago, to build a battery and energy storage research hub. This is expected to dramatically transform the way electric batteries are researched and constructed in the United States.

“My goal is to make Chicago the epicenter of the electric vehicles and batteries industry,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am committed to every phase of this industry, from the research to the construction of vehicles to the presence of vehicles on our streets.”

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