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Mayor Emanuel adds commitment to electric and alternative-fuel vehicle for fleet Mayor Emanuel adds commitment to electric and alternative-fuel vehicle for fleet

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced another expansion of Chicago’s commitment to green vehicles for its own fleet, including plans to add 20 electric vehicles to the fleet in the coming years. These additions advance Mayor Emanuel’s goal of transitioning Chicago’s fleet to green alternatives.

“The City of Chicago is committed to an environment in which energy efficient vehicles are the norm, not the exception, and we are honoring that commitment with our own fleet,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By purchasing various types of all-electric vehicles for our fleet, the City of Chicago is maintaining its position as a leader in the use of alternative fuel vehicles while evaluating new ways of providing high-quality services more cost-effectively. This will save taxpayers money by reducing the reliance on diesel fuel and promote a cleaner, more efficient city.”

This announcement comes on the heels of Smith Electric Vehicles opening an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Chicago, which the mayor’s office says will create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs and boosting the already rapidly growing battery and electric vehicle sector in the City.

Smith is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of all-electric commercial vehicles, which are zero-emission and less expensive to own and operate when compared with traditional diesel trucks. The company produces trucks for multiple industries, including food & beverage, utility, telecommunications, retail, grocery, parcel and postal delivery, school transportation, military and government. Smith’s customers include many of the world’s largest fleet operators, including PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division, FedEx, Staples, TNT, Sainsbury’s, Coca-Cola, DHL, and the U.S. Military. Chicago will be Smith’s third location in the United States, joining their headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., and a manufacturing facility in New York City.

Also, on Tuesday, Mayor Emanuel announced an incentive program using federal funds to facilitate fleet conversion ($15M). On Thursday, Mayor Emanuel announced a new procurement strategy to encourage companies to “green” their fleets.

Then, Friday morning, the Department of Energy announced $120 million in funding to Argonne National Laboratory, just outside of Chicago, to build a battery and energy storage research hub. This is a major announcement that will dramatically transform the way that electric batteries are researched and constructed in the United States, and one on which Mayor Emanuel was directly focused, particularly relative to the element of the application in which the private sector will work directly with the Hub throughout the process.

“My goal is to make Chicago the epicenter of the electric vehicles and batteries industry,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am committed to every phase of this industry, from the research to the construction of vehicles to the presence of vehicles on our streets.”

The City of Chicago has purchased, entered into contracts, or begun the procurement process for the following all-electric vehicles:

Light-Duty Vehicles. The City has purchased four all-electric Ford Focus hatchbacks. These vehicles will replace several of the leased, all-electric Nissan Leafs currently being used by the City’s Departments of Fleet and Facility Management, Transportation, and Public Health as well as by the Mayor’s Office. The Chicago Department of Aviation will continue to use a leased, all-electric Nissan Leaf in its fleet. The City expects delivery of the Ford Focus hatchbacks later in 2012.

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