INDIANAPOLIS—Indianapolis wants to become the first major city to replace its entire fleet with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in a move designed to reduce US reliance on foreign-produced fuels.
Mayor Greg Ballard is expected to sign an executive order next week mandating the city to replace its current sedans with electric or plug-in hybrids, spokesman Marc Lotter said. After that, the city will work with the private sector to phase in snow plows, fire trucks and other heavy vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. Finally, the city will ask automakers to develop a plug-in hybrid police car, Lotter said.
The city hopes to complete the switch by 2025.
Lotter did not provide an estimate on the cost of the change.
“We are negotiating with the automakers and several international capital fleet firms to get the best deal possible for taxpayers,” he said.
The police car switch alone has the potential to save taxpayers $10 million a year in fuel costs, while taxpayers would save $12,000 on each non-police sedan over their 10-year lifespan, Lotter said.
Ballard, a retired Marine officer, hopes that in making the switch, Indianapolis will help the country reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
“This is the mayor’s idea,” Lotter said. “He views this as a national security issue.”
The new vehicles will be purchased on an as-needed basis as older vehicles are retired. Lotter said the city buys about 50 non-police vehicles every year.
City officials and the US Conference of Mayors have researched the issue and found that no other major US city has announced it will convert its entire fleet.
“From everything we know, we are the first city in the nation to take this step,” Lotter said.
The city already has charging stations, and is working with private companies to develop more, he said.
©The Canadian Press