The City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, fleet will be enhanced to include seven electric, six hybrid/electric, 77 hybrid/gas, and nine compressed natural gas vehicles.  -  Photo:  Unsplash/Michael Fousert

The City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, fleet will be enhanced to include seven electric, six hybrid/electric, 77 hybrid/gas, and nine compressed natural gas vehicles.

Photo: Unsplash/Michael Fousert

On Nov. 16, the Grand Rapids, Michigan, City Commission accepted a $1.4 million grant award from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Fuel Transformation Program and Volkswagen State Mitigation Trust for city fleet vehicle replacement. The grant will allow the Facilities and Fleet Management Department to replace 12 vehicles with diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. The new vehicles will help the city reduce diesel emissions, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and improve air quality within Grand Rapids. The expected annual reduction of 91.5 metric tons of greenhouse gases is equivalent to removing 19.9 passenger vehicles from service.

Prior to Fall 2023, six pre-2008 diesel dump trucks with underbody scrapers will be replaced with six new, more efficient diesel dump trucks; two diesel broom-type right-side sweepers will be replaced with a CNG sweeper and a hybrid electric/CNG sweeper; and four diesel refuse trucks will be replaced with four CNG refuse trucks. Per grant requirement, all vehicles being replaced must be decommissioned and destroyed to a point where each can never be put back into operations again. All these older vehicles were scheduled to be replaced as a part of the city’s current asset management plan. With the new purchases, the city’s eco-friendly fleet will be enhanced to include seven electric, six hybrid/electric, 77 hybrid/gas, and nine CNG vehicles.

On Sept. 28, the City Commission passed a “Resolution Declaring Climate Change a Crisis,” which outlines an ambitious goal to power all municipal operations with 85% renewable energy by 2030 and net zero by 2040.

The Facilities and Fleet Management Department has tracked the emissions from its operations since 2008. It is in the final stages of the creation of its first emissions reduction goals for its operations. In 2020, the city’s fleet fuel consumption accounted for 11% of the total emissions for municipal operations. Emissions from the city’s fleet were the second largest emissions source in 2020 (electricity was the largest source of emissions). Diesel, gasoline, and CNG accounted for 56%, 38%, and 6% of the total emissions from the city fleet, respectively.

“The new, more efficient diesel vehicles will reduce fuel consumption and emissions,” Steve Prins, acting director, Facilities and Fleet Management, said. “The newer diesel emission equipped dump/plow trucks will reduce diesel particulates and nitrogen oxide emissions released into the atmosphere by up to 98% over the older diesel vehicles. These along with the new CNG refuse trucks and hybrid sweeper will help reduce the city’s carbon footprint, improve air quality, and mitigate climate change. We believe this grant will help us achieve our sustainability goals and improve the wellbeing of our residents.”

The grant covers approximately 40% of the cost of the new vehicles and requires a match not to exceed just under $2.3 million, paid by the city’s Motor Equipment Fund.

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