Six new Nissan LEAFs, an all-electric model, are now available for Gainesville city employees to use. The electric cars will replace part of the city’s current fleet.
This is the first phase of a two-year pilot program. The city will add five more cars and charging stations at City Hall next year for phase two.
“This is the time for us to be looking at alternative fuel vehicles to see if there is a benefit to the city doing that because we have even more vehicles coming down the line in the next few years that will also need to be replaced,” said Chip Skinner, Gainesville spokesman.
The cars have a range of more than 100 miles, and can be charged at one of three dual-charging stations at The Thomas Center downtown.
Several city employees have already tested the new electric cars.
“First time ever driving an electric car, so it’s a very, very cool experience,” said Glenda Tucker, a Parks and Recreation employee. “It’s very stylish. It has a very comfortable ride, and I like it because it’s very easy to maneuver.”
After two years, the city will look at costs versus fuel savings and possible environmental benefits. The results will determine if more of the fleet will be converted.