Guelph to study electric vehicle fleet with federal funding

Thanks to an investment from the federal government, the city of Guelph is now looking into the idea of electrifying its municipal vehicles.

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield and Mayor Cam Guthrie made the announcement at city hall on Thursday morning.

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Guthrie said the study will involve 26 cars and up to 70 light-duty trucks that could be transitioned into electric or hybrid vehicles.

“Our fleet fuels, which is the gasoline and diesel, account for about 28 per cent of our city’s energy spending and 66 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “The ultimate goal of this project is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from that baseline.”

The city said vehicles replaced with plug-in hybrid vehicles can expect to see a 50 per cent reduction in emissions, while those replaced with battery electric vehicles will see a complete elimination of emissions.

The study will also look at the idea of moving a portion of the fleet into a car-sharing program outside of the city’s business hours.

Guthrie said there would be a number of benefits to lending city-owned vehicles when they’re not in use, including maximizing the use and benefit of a city asset and reducing emissions.

He said it would also help the city save some money.

“If there’s an opportunity to offset some of the capital or operating costs by allowing a car-sharing type of program to be created, then we might as well take advantage of that,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie said the program would need stringent rules and regulations if it were to become a reality.

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Ottawa will be contributing $125,000 to the study, while the city will pitch in $50,700. It should take about six months, the city said.

Longfield also announced the federal government will contribute $150,700 for an environmental assessment as the city replaces four underground fuel tanks at its facility on Municipal Street.

The tanks are close to the end of their life expectancy and would be replaced with above-ground tanks, the city said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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