BONITA, FL – The Bonita Code Enforcement Department introduced the first hybrid into the city’s 11-car fleet, according to the Naples News. The new vehicle is a modified Ford Explorer that gets 35 miles per gallon. The hybrid purchase came after City Councilwoman Martha Simons recommended Bonita’s government cars be more fuel-efficient. When code enforcement needed a new car — the first new city car since Simons’ recommendation — Price told the department to make it a hybrid.

The Ford Explorer operates on a combination of electric batteries and gasoline. When the vehicle travels under 40 mph, it runs exclusively on batteries that charge themselves whenever the SUV brakes or decelerates.

Bonita Springs code enforcement officer Danielle Helmick uses the city’s new Ford hybrid on her daily assignments in the city. The hybrid runs on electrical power rather than gasoline when it is traveling under 40 mph, according to the Naples News. The Explorer gets 30 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg in the city, which is where nearly all of the code enforcement work is done. It requires an oil change every 10,000 miles.

The Explorer is smaller than the four pickups and other SUVs in the code enforcement fleet. The department still needs big vehicles to handle heavier work.

Because of the upcoming tight budget year, the city might have to wait to buy its next vehicle, although a hybrid will be considered the next time, too.