City eyes first electric car
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants to buy an electric car -- not for himself -- but for the municipality.
It's part of a push to try to save money and reduce pollution city-wide, and it's up for consideration at Tuesday's Assembly meeting.
The car is a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, currently on hold at Alaska Sales and Service. It would be used by Solid Waste Services as part of a pilot program to try to compare electric and gas-fueled cars in Anchorage.
If the assembly approves just over $36,000 in funding to pay for the purchase, it would the city's first fully electric car.
"Over 50 percent of our energy costs come from vehicle gas," said Suzanna Caldwell, recycling coordinator at Alaska Solid Waste Services, adding that switching to electric could make a lot of sense.
The garbage company is essentially a trucking company, and not only are the trucks noisy but they guzzle gas -- getting just 1.5 miles per gallon, according to Caldwell.
Meanwhile, Caldwell says the Chevy Bolt gets about 225 miles per charge. While it can't haul your trash, Caldwell says it can help the garbage company understand what it would take to go completely green.
"You know start small scale with a light-duty vehicle and then go from there, see what kind of infrastructure we need, how they operate, you know, how our staff can handle it, all of that," said Caldwell. "And then start looking at what it would take to have an electric garbage truck."
In fact, Solid Waste Services has already been studying an electric bus in Anchorage. It was brought up from California at the beginning of the year on a short-term lease to test its performance in cold weather.
Caldwell says Solid Waste Services paid for the lease in exchange for advertising with People Mover so that it could benefit from the company's findings.
"You know, a People Mover bus is much more similar to a garbage truck than an electric car and it just gave us a chance to test it," Caldwell said.
Now, Solid Waste Services is hoping for a chance to test-drive the Bolt, and if all goes well, eventually replace its entire fleet of garbage trucks with much quieter, cleaner vehicles.
Right now, Caldwell says the garbage company has about 30 garbage trucks, each with about a seven-year lifespan. As they age out, Caldwell says the plan is to start replacing them with electric models.
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