The Spokane, Washington, City Council approved the lease of five new Hyundai Kona electric cars on June 7. The cars, which are classified as subcompact SUVs, will replace aging three-wheeled GO-4 vehicles used by parking enforcement personnel scouting for violations.
The administration’s embrace of electric vehicles is a victory for City Council members, including President Breean Beggs, who continue to push the city to transition away from gas-powered cars.
The Kona SUVs are better in inclement weather, according to city officials in the Fleet Services department who drafted the proposal. The Kona won out over the city’s other consideration for a replacement, the Toyota RAV-4 hybrid.
The RAV-4 was cheaper in terms of upfront cost, as its annual lease price totaled $6,195 compared with $7,336 for the Konas. But annual maintenance and fuel costs are lower for the Konas, according to the city’s analysis.
For every 9,000 miles each car is driven, city officials estimated the Kona will cost about $549 more than the RAV-4, not including the cost of increased insurance premiums or the cost of eventually installing electric charging stations in parking enforcement headquarters.
The city is leasing the cars through Enterprise Fleet Management for $611 for each vehicle per month. City officials justified the lease price because it is structured to allow the city to opt out any time after the first year and retain equity if it chooses to return the vehicles.