St. Paul buys all-electric utility trucks, plans 24 charging stations

From the Pioneer Press St. Paul buys all-electric utility trucks, plans 24 charging stations

It is good to see electrification moving forward, but assuming a 6 year lifespan for the vehicles, the energy savings of $1300 / year * 6 years = $7800 seems to be less than the additional fixed cost of $38,800 (i.e. a Ford Transit Connect Electric at $60,000, while a Fort Transit Connect actually starts at about $21,200.) I was hoping the economics would be closer.

We probably should include the negative externalities avoided. The article reports Carbon emissions of 3.5 tons * 6 years = 21 tons. The market price of carbon is about $18.75/ton (14 Euros), so those savings (21 * 18.75 = $393) do not quite close the $38,800 gap.

St. Paul is getting EV-ready.

Mayor Chris Coleman will be joined today by Gov. Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and other leaders to display the Twin Cities' first all-electric vehicle, one of three Ford utility vehicles St. Paul has purchased with federal and local dollars to use for its public works and parks departments.

The capital city also is planning to install 24 plug-in charging stations in downtown parking ramps and on the streets this spring. All but a few will be available to the public.

"We want people to know we're getting ready," said Anne Hunt, St. Paul's sustainability coordinator, who oversees a number of federally funded initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and saving fuel costs. "If people are out there wondering if they should order a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf, we want them to know that if they commute to the cities, or just come down for a Wild game, there will be options for them to plug in."

The three St. Paul vehicles -- Ford Transit Connect Electric -- cost about $60,000 each and were chosen because the company gave assurances they would perform in Minnesota's winters, Hunt said. St. Paul's vehicles will be among the first in the country off a Michigan assembly plant as Ford rolls out the vehicles, which are marketed for commercial use.

The city estimates each vehicle would reduce annual carbon emissions by 3.5 tons and save $1,300 per year in fuel costs. Over a six-year period, the Transit Connect

is estimated to cost $1,800 in electricity.
Rybak drives a Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid that he had converted so its batteries can be recharged by plugging in, and both cities own gas-electric hybrids, but St. Paul's Transit Connects will be the first all-electric vehicles for either city.

First National Bank recently installed plug-in charging stations in its parking ramp, but otherwise, the 24 new charging stations, which will accommodate both generally used charging configurations, will be the city's first. Among the locations for the chargers will be RiverCentre/Xcel Energy Center parking ramps and areas around the Union Depot. Hunt said several private parking ramps have expressed interest in obtaining charging stations.

Stations also will be located along the route of the proposed Central Corridor light-rail line linking St. Paul and Minneapolis via University Avenue. Some of the charging stations will generate their electricity from solar panels.

Charging a vehicle won't be free, nor will parking in front of a charger, Hunt said. Details are being worked out, but Hunt said there are plans for a smartphone app that would allow drivers to check availability of charging stations and reserve one.

In all, the vehicles and the charging stations are being paid for through a combination of sources, including $286,000 in federal stimulus money, $60,000 from St. Paul and a $60,000 grant from Xcel Energy's Chairman's Fund. The federal dollars are part of $2.8 million in stimulus money being spent on a host of St. Paul energy-related projects, ranging from LED streetlights to programs aimed at helping private industrial companies become more energy-efficient.

The Transit Connect purchases and charging station plan are part of a partnership called Drive Electric Minnesota, which includes a host of metro corporations, nonprofits and governments with the goal of installing electric-vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the metro area.

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on January 18, 2011 10:29 AM.

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