By David Chircop Herald Writer
EVERETT — With a maximum speed of 25 mph, the newest cars added to the city’s motor vehicle fleet were born to be mild.
Then again, that’s exactly the point.
In the spirit of going easy on the environment, and saving a pretty penny in the face of record high gas prices, Everett Transit recently purchased three all-electric cars.
“You feel like you’re in a regular car until you step out of it and say, ‘I was in a clown car,’ ” said Steffani Lillie with Everett Transit, behind the wheel of an E4 four-seater near downtown.
The transit agency paid Cascade Auto Center in Wenatchee about $41,000 for the three ultra-quiet, zero-emissions cars.
Bill DeRousse, the manager in charge of the city’s 600 cars, buses, vans, fire engines and dump trucks, says he expects the new cars can operate for less than 2 cents a mile.
The cost of driving a passenger vehicle in the United States this year averages 54.1 cents per mile, according to AAA.
Two of the cars replace gas-powered Cushman scooters that were used by Everett Station maintenance workers and bus fuelers.
The other replaces a car that transit managers used to drive from their headquarters on Cedar Street to City Hall, Everett Station and the north Everett transit depot.
The purchase fits the city’s pledge to become a leader in environmental stewardship.
The Everett City Council last summer voted to require new city-owned buildings to be constructed following stringent green building standards, which are more energy efficient.
A new animal shelter planned for Smith Island will be the first such building. A redevelopment project planned for the banks of the Snohomish River southeast of downtown is also being built to cutting-edge green-building standards.
The city recently unveiled a food scrap recycling program for restaurants.
Each city department has sought cost-effective opportunities to protect the environment, such as installing sensors on light switches, using more energy-efficient light bulbs and installing special exhaust systems on several vehicles.
This year, Everett has replaced six gas and diesel cars with electric or hybrid vehicles.
Next year, it plans to add three diesel-electric hybrid buses to downtown streets.
In the meantime, the city used statistical models to determine its greenhouse gas output and is working on reducing its carbon footprint.
Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson signed onto the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement of 2005, which attempts to create a nationwide movement in the absence of a federal climate protection policy.
The document pledges the city to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
Reporter David Chircop: 425-339-3429 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the numbers
Everett’s 2007 motor vehicle fleet
Miles driven: 5,317,007
Gas and diesel used: 780,618 gallons
Cost of fuel: $2 million
At a glance
Chrysler’s Global Electric Motorcars
n Powered by 12-volt gel-type battery package
n 7 horsepower electric motor
n 25 mph operating speed, legal on city streets
n Operating range 30 miles
n Plugs into a standard 110-volt household type electrical outlet
n Anticipated operating costs: less than 2 cents per mile
n Batteries recharge to about 80 percent capacity within two hours