Going Electric

The City fleets first electrified vehicle:

Photo_City_Chevy_VoltPer the City’s Sustainability Action Plan’s Green Achievement Target #6, replace all fossil fuel based city administrative vehicles with electric vehicles, the City purchased its first electrified vehicle, a used 2015 Chevrolet Volt. This car currently services the City’s Community Development Office and is frequently used by City staff for both short and long distance transportation, hauling project management equipment, and it is being used as an educational tool for city residents so that they may better understand how electric vehicles work and their importance in the future of transportation.

Electric vehicles, that is vehicles whose main source of power comes from electricity instead of a carbon-based fuel like gasoline or diesel, are nothing new. EVs have actually been in existence for over a hundred years with the first EV being put on an American road in 1890 by a chemist named William Morrison. His six passenger EV could only go fourteen miles per hour at the time but today EVs are a quickly maturing technology that promises little if any emissions (especially if renewably powered) as the American grid becomes cleaner, reduced noise, and lower maintenance costs due to the fact that EVs have no moving parts and don’t need oil changes.  

Globally, there have been roughly four million EVs sold and their rate of sales continues to increase. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it took seventeen months to go from one million EVs on the road to two; but, it took just six months to go from three million EVs to four million. As of July 2018, US EV sales surpassed 2% of market share for the first time. With many cities transitioning their fleets to EVs, including buses and delivery vehicles, it is important Satellite Beach be prepared with increased charging infrastructure and awareness.

Photo_City_Chevy_VoltThe City acquired its Chevy Volt through budget already allotted for a replacement vehicle for the Community Development Office, which was slated to be a traditional gas-powered SUV. Once the City’s Sustainability Action Plan was adopted, this vehicle was changed. The City chose a Chevy Volt, which is technically a plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) that uses an electric motor and gas-powered generator for travel because it offered the long-distance capability of a gas powered vehicle with the combined zero emissions travel of a true electric car. The City’s Volt has thirty-eight miles of charge before its batteries run out. A gas generator kicks in once this happens to propel the vehicle for over 300 more miles before needing to be refueled. The car’s batteries are recharged via an electric vehicle charging station at City Hall. However, due to the City’s small size geographically, the City’s Volt rarely exceeds its thirty-eight-mile electric range. Therefore, in reality, the car is almost always performing as an EV with zero road emissions.

The City is actively researching and planning to continue the transition of its own vehicle fleet with more EVs as battery technology and range continually improve year after year. Each year the City hosts a National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) event at the DRS Community Center. NDEW is a weeks worth of national electric vehicle car shows, with events being held throughout each state. Satellite Beach's is the largest in Florida and is hosted in partnership with the Space Coast EV Drivers Club, a local club composed of electric car enthusiast whose EV membership count now stands at over a hundred. This event sees dozens of EVs on display with free test drives for attendees.