Township Looking To Add Electric Cars To Fleet

Township Councilman Ted Chase wants to add some electric cars to the township’s fleet.

Acting on a suggestion from a Township Councilman, Township Manager Robert Vornlocker is researching prices for a mini-fleet of electric cars.

Vornlocker said he’d like to have a recommendation to propose to the council during the 2018 budgeting process.

Vornlocker said he’s looking at five cars, which would probably be used by the construction department.

The cars cost about $35,000 each, and the charging stations that would be needed would probably cost a total of $100,000 to $150,000.

“I would like to include it in the budget this year,” he said. “It depends on what (the council) wants to do.”

Charging stations for the cars, he said, would probably be placed behind the gas pumps in the municipal complex.

Vornlocker said Township Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) broached the idea in the past.

“I said, let’s explore the idea this year,” Vornlocker said.

In an email, Chase said the cars and stations could be purchased with money from the township’s Construction Code budget, which, he said, “takes in more fees than they can routinely use.”

“After several years the cars will be passed to other township users,” he said.

Chase also suggested that the township establish a public charging station, where residents who own electric cars could charge up “during the day for a minimal fee, as Duke Farms does it.”

That, he said, would “encourage the ordinary public to buy electric cars.”

Chase said buying the electric cars would be “Franklin Township’s contribution to cutting CO2 production and supporting the Paris agreement.”

The Paris Climate Agreement is a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emission. The United States was originally a party to teh agreement, but President Donald Trump has withdrawn the country’s participation.

Mayor Phil Kramer has pledged to convene a “Mayor’s Summit” on climate change to explore ways in which towns can uphold the tenets of the agreement.

In his email, Chase said electric cars “greatly reduce fossil fuel use and CO2 production contributing to global warming (not entirely, as long as natural gas or coal is used to generate electricity). Getting to carbon neutrality (putting no more CO2 into the atmosphere than plant life can take up) will require switching to electric cars.”

“Major automobile companies, including General Motors, will be switching over to electric cars in the near future, and China and Norway are planning to ban fossil fuel-powered cars,” he said in the email.

“One matter that has to be explored is training our mechanics to repair them, though this is simpler than with internal combustion-powered cars,” Chase said.

The electric cars would not be the township’s first foray into green transportation. Vornlocker sad there are two hybrids in the township’s fleet.

New Jersey towns from Montclair to Ocean City have added electric cars to their fleets. New Brunswick’s Parking Authority will soon have an electric car as a pilot program, according to a published report.


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