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USA: Fort Collins plugs into possibilities by adding electric car to city’s fleet


Adam Bromley, a senior electrical engineer with the city of Fort Collins, holds an electrical outlet plug before attaching it to the city’s new 2012 Chevy Volt at a city charging staging at 700 Wood St. on Wednesday. / Rich Abrahamson/The Coloradoan

The city of Fort Collins is plugging in to the electric car movement.

One of the latest additions to the city’s fleet of vehicles is a Chevy Volt, a four-passenger sedan powered strictly by battery-supplied electricity. When the battery runs low, a gasoline-powered generator kicks in to charge the battery and keep the car rolling.

When not in use, the Volt is plugged into a charging station outside the Fort Collins Utilities building at 700 Wood St.

A fully charged battery can power the car for about 45 miles, which is plenty to get staff members around town to meetings, said Steve Catanach, Light & Power manager for Fort Collins UtilitBut the car is more than a nice, new ride, Catanach said. It’s a demonstration model intended to acquaint the public with electric cars and their capabilities.

It’s also a tool to help utilities engineers understand how electric-powered vehicles operate under everyday, real-world conditions. That knowledge will help officials prepare for the impact electric cars will have on the city’s electric system.

“As customers add more of these, it’s going to add load to our system,” Catanach said. “This car is connected to some recording equipment so it gives us the ability to gather lots of data.”
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