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Electric vehicles cut costs for city

Long-term cost savings are impossible to ignore with current fuel costs at about $1 million annually

City of Nanaimo fleet manager Bruce Labelle has seen the future of transport – and it’s electric.

The man in charge of the maintenance and purchase of Nanaimo’s various vehicles gave a presentation on the future of the electric car at the eighth annual Green Solutions Trade Show at Beban Park on April 6.

While electric vehicles may have a somewhat higher sticker price, the long-term cost savings are impossible to ignore, especially for municipalities, Labelle said.

“We do not go green for the sake of going green. We go green where it makes sense,” he said.

The City of Nanaimo spends an estimated $1 million on fuel every year. As such, the municipality has explored options to replace the consumption of hydrocarbons with electricity or other alternatives, where possible.

An electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf, a model used by the city, comes with an initial sticker price of $38,395.

That price compares with the cost of a basic gas-powered four-cylinder, which can typically be bought for $15,000-$18,000.

The total cost of ownership, however, is 60 per cent less for an electric car, said Labelle.

Real data compiled by the city showed a four-cylinder might cost $1,119.30 to keep fueled for a year.

A Leaf used for the same mileage would cost $77.87.

Labelle also estimated that the costs of maintenance and depreciation would come in at about a third of a typical gas-powered vehicle, leading him to reason the life-cycle savings of a city’s electric at $6,000 per vehicle.

Factor in a $5,000 grant currently being offered by the province and the total savings of three of the city’s electric vehicles would total $33,000 – almost enough to buy a fourth car.

“And we reduced our greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “The more kilometres you drive, the more your pay back.”
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