Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee announced on June 18 that the State will transition its fleet to more environmentally friendly vehicles, with a focus on electric and hybrid vehicles. State Agencies will use Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) dollars to pay for the differential cost between an alternative fuel vehicle and a comparably sized gas-powered car.

Director of Administration Richard Licht is overseeing the “greening” process. “We will require that new state vehicle purchases be electric vehicles or hybrids wherever possible. We are pleased to be able to leverage Federal ARRA State Energy Program dollars to purchase electric vehicles and hybrids and to develop the network of charging stations at convenient locations throughout Rhode Island.”

Licht said the “greening” of the state fleet is under way. “We have already replaced 30 gas-powered State cars with low-emission hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, using Federal ARRA dollars to offset the higher upfront costs,” he explained.

In December 2012, the State began seeking bids for electric vehicles for the first time.

Governor Chafee also unveiled an electric vehicle charging station at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, on June 18, the first in a network of up to 50 electric vehicle charging stations to be installed throughout the state over the next three months.

"Supporting electric vehicle transportation in Rhode Island will provide a boost to the State economy, saving money on gas and keeping dollars that would have been spent on imported oil here in Rhode Island," said Governor Chafee.

The State Office of Energy Resources awarded the $781,225 contract to site and install the charging stations to ChargePoint. ChargePoint is working with National Grid, Rhode Island's largest utility and a pioneer in electric vehicle charging station deployment.

ChargePoint CEO Pat Romano said users will have the ability to locate, reserve, and navigate to unoccupied charging stations with online tools and mobile applications.