Boulder Electric will provide the City of Dallas with three vehicles, two of which the City can keep after the contract ends. Photo via Boulder EV.

Boulder Electric will provide the City of Dallas with three vehicles, two of which the City can keep after the contract ends. Photo via Boulder EV.

DALLAS - Dallas City Council approved three pilot initiatives for plug-in electric vehicles and fueling infrastructure at a meeting on Jan 11.

As presented to the Council's Transportation and Environment Committee on Jan 9 by the Equipment and Building Services Department, the three pilot initiatives are as follows:

  • Boulder Electric Inc., with a Department of Energy grant, will provide for a period of three years three medium-duty trucks, charging station hardware for three stations, and vehicle maintenance training. The City will install the charging stations and pay for electricity, vehicle maintenance, and use data. The three vehicles are anticipated to be used for the Code Compliance Department (two vehicles) and the Equipment and Building Services Department (one vehicle). After the three years, the City may keep two of the three vehicles and all charging stations.
  • ECOtality, also with a DOE grant, will install 10 charging stations and will maintain them until grant expiration (April 2013), after which the City will keep the stations. The City will provide free charging to the public for up to one year.
  • TXU will give the City thee EV charging stations, providing installation and maintenance for three years. Electricity is reimbursed by TXU for one year for public vehicles and three years for City vehicles. After three years, the City may keep the stations.

There is no up-front cost for these projects.

One initial concern the Committee brought up is providing "free" electricity for public charging, which the Equipment and Building Services Department proposed for the first year while it "collect[s] data and determine[s] pricing models."

The cost of one year's worth of charging if the charging station is in use at all times is $3,100 per station, or approximately $40,000 annually for 13 stations. Errick Thompson, P.E., department director, explained that this is the maximum cost if the stations were in use 24 hours per day, every day. "We'll fine-tune that based on some actual data of other stations that have been in use for a while to dial back that number," he said. The revised estimate is less than $2,000.

According to Thompson, the City may see the beginning of installations in February, or even sooner. He anticipates the Boulder Electric vehicles could be delivered in the first quarter of this year.

If the pilot project shows significant results, it could pave the way for future EV purchases, especially as the charging infrastructure will already be in place.

"As we get more data, we'll continually evaluate how many more EVs to actually purchase for the City," Thompson said.

The Equipment and Building Services Department of the City of Dallas oversees maintenance of 4,580 vehicles, excluding trailers and heavy equipment, of which 1,695 are alt-fuel vehicles. Of these, the City has oneplug-in vehicle and about 30 neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). 

By Thi Dao

 

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