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USA: City looks toward accommodating electric vehicles

For our story today on the city of Columbia’s efforts to bring more solar energy into its renewable energy portfolio, we ran a bit short of space to mention that that city’s Water and Light Department is also proposing to spend $50,000 in the city’s 2015 fiscal year for an electric car and a charging station.

The purchase was recommended in Water and Light’s 2013 update of its integrated resource plan, which was completed by Burns and McDonnell, a Kansas City engineering firm.

Each year, electric cars are growing in popularity, and city officials are at least aware of the trend. Water and Light included the need to develop a plan for electric cars in its strategic plan for fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2015.

Back in 2011, an electric car-charging station was included in the preliminary plans for the city’s parking garage at Short Street, but that idea was nixed as city leaders looked for ways to lower the cost of the project.

City Manager Mike Matthes has since called for the city to move toward a more diverse array of fuel options for its vehicle fleet, and the city is still in the process of integrating some heavy vehicles powered by compressed natural gas into its fleet.

The city has not yet purchased any CNG vehicles and is still working out the details of a project with natural-gas distributor Clean Energy to construct a CNG filling station 1900 Lake Ridgeway Drive, located just north of Highway 63 and west of Bass Pro Shops.

More columbiatribune.com

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