STAMFORD, CT – From navy blue police cruisers and orange dump trucks to pickups and refurbished sedans with the municipal seal on them, Stamford owns 300 vehicles, but none quite like the pair of Ford Escapes that were delivered yesterday to its fleet facility on Indian Field Road, according to http://www.greenwichtime.com.

Costing $25,484 each, the SUVs are hybrids, the first vehicles in the town’s fleet that run on both battery and gas. A 330-volt battery pack powers the Ford up to 25 mph, minimizing environmentally harmful gasoline emissions. A gas motor kicks into operation when the vehicle’s speed exceeds 25 mph or when the battery’s voltage drops below a certain level. The battery recharges every time the driver uses the brakes.

The Ford dealership near Hartford won a contract to supply the state with hybrid SUVs that cities and towns such as Greenwich can take advantage of when they need to buy new vehicles for their fleets.

The Escape hybrid gets about 28 miles per gallon of fuel, with city mileage slightly better than highway mileage because the SUV operates more on electricity than on gas at lower speeds. The estimated fuel cost per vehicle is $1,500 per year.

One of the new hybrids will replace another vehicle that was taken out of service and was used by public works building inspectors, who have 11 vehicles at their disposal. The other SUV will be added to a town carpool of five vehicles dedicated for use by employees of the three municipal Land Use Agencies.

The City hopes to get budgetary authorization to buy more hybrid vehicles. The sticker price of each new hybrid is $27,490, but the town was able to save about $2,000 each by going through the state-contracted dealership in Simsbury. In addition to that discount, the town will receive a $6,900 reimbursement grant for each vehicle from the state Department of Transportation as part of its clean fuels program, according to www.greenwichtime.com.

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