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New Westminster all charged up by new electric vehicle

Six years ago a commuter was given a ticket for plugging his electric scooter into an outlet in front of New Westminster city hall.

Tuesday the city unveiled its first public electric vehicle charging stations in the building’s back parking lot. Two more charging stations will be installed at the Front Street parkade near the Sixth Street entrance. Another for city use is at the works yard. The cost of their installation is being supplemented by $20,000 from the provincial government.

The stations will initially be free to use, said mayor Wayne Wright, as the city assesses demand.

They’ll also supply power to the first electric vehicle in the city’s fleet.

Dave Cole, New Westminster’s assistant manager of operations, has already been zipping around town in the Nissan Leaf for a month and says the city’s compact size make it ideal for getting to meetings, and shuttling back and forth to the works yard.

The Leaf is capable of traveling up to 160 kilometers on a charge so Cole estimates he only plugs it in once every couple of days. And with an operational cost of about $200 a year, compared to $1,200 for a gas-powered vehicle, plus lower maintenance costs, he’d like to see more.

“Our plan is to try and incorporate more hybrid and electric vehicles, including utility trucks, into our fleet in the future,” said Cole.


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