At first glance, vehicle #100 looks like any other city-owned car. It’s white, not too flashy, and has the city seal on each side.
However, it is special in that it is the first street-legal electric vehicle to be added to the City of Steamboat Springs fleet.
Considered an “EUV” or Electric Utility Vehicle, the five-passenger, front-drive, all-electric 2022 Chevrolet Bolt has 200 horsepower and can travel 259 miles on a full charge.
“It’s very torquey,” said Jason Weber, the city’s fleet superintendent. “I mean, it accelerates very quickly.”
Weber said he drove the car to Craig and back and still had 60% left on the battery.
The car will be used by the city’s planning department, which will use the vehicle to drive around the city performing, among other things, code inspections.
The new addition to the city’s vehicle fleet is part of the city’s Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan, which is a comprehensive plan to move city and community vehicles to electric alternatives.
“We need to do this to meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” said Winnie DelliQuadri, Special Projects Manager.
DelliQuadri calls the Chevy Bolt a “pilot” because it also serves as a test vehicle for future additions to the fleet, as there is still much uncertainty about the current feasibility of an all-electric fleet, including the maintenance costs, the availability of charging stations and the vehicles’ capacities to meet the needs of their respective departments.
To help keep the Chevy Bolt charged, two new charging ports have been installed behind the Centennial Hall building at 10e street, which also offers a port accessible to the public.
According to Atlas Public Policy, 195 electric vehicles are registered in Routt County, though there are certainly more than that on the road at any given time. There are 12 public charging stations in Steamboat Springs. Routt County’s only charging station outside of Steamboat is in Yampa, where two ports are available.
The Chevy Bolt replaces a 2001 Dodge Durango that was reaching the end of its life, and as more vehicles in the city’s fleet wear out over time, it’s expected that more more vehicles are being replaced by electric vehicles.
“We don’t want to prematurely replace something because it’s not tax efficient,” DelliQuadri said. “But as the vehicles are ready to be replaced, our fleet department is examining whether or not there is an electric alternative.”
Weber and his department are interested in finding electric alternatives for virtually any gas-powered machine in their fleet, as long as the technology is practical, affordable and functional.
“If you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, that makes sense,” Weber said. “So it’s those kinds of things that are just interesting for me to be able to watch.”
The city has the idea of adding all-electric street sweepers to the fleet, or perhaps a gasoline-electric hybrid bucket truck that would use a diesel internal combustion engine to move the truck, but uses a hydraulic lift powered by electric battery to control the bucket. .
Weber said the city wants to convert its fleet of police cars to electric vehicles over time, but said they would have to be four-wheel drive. He also said that the city is interested in electric snowplows, but currently there is not enough electric model on the market.
Steamboat Springs Transit has a long tradition of using hybrid diesel or electric buses, and the parks and recreation department recently added two Toro Workman GTX utility vehicles.
The city plans to hold an EV Ride & Drive event on September 18.
To reach Spencer Powell, call 970-871-4229 or email him at [email protected]