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Krewson moves city toward all-electric vehicle fleet


ST. LOUIS – Mayor Lyda Krewson took major steps toward shifting to an all-electric city fleet when she showed off four new electric vehicles and signed an order requiring St. Louis to buy such cars whenever possible.

Krewson’s Executive Order No. 68 on Priority Procurement of Clean Municipal Vehicles states: “The City of St. Louis and its departments, divisions and agencies shall prioritize the purchase of low and no emission vehicles over comparable internal combustion engine vehicles powered by conventional fuels.”

The order said, “The purchase of an electric vehicle will be considered cost-effective if the estimated life cycle cost is within 5 percent of the cost of a comparable conventional vehicle.”

According to the order, the life-cycle cost includes the cost of buying the vehicle, acquisition and installation of the fueling stations, the operating cost over the expected life of the vehicle, including fuel and maintenance costs and the estimated environmental benefits of avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. 

“By 2030, not that far away, only nine years, it’s expected that at least a quarter of all vehicles sold globally will be electric,” Krewson said in a presentation at the city street department. ”It’s very critical, of course, that the city of St. Louis continues to model its own behavior for the future and truly to lead the way.”

On Thursday, officials said the city had purchased four new battery-powered 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EVs from Don Brown Chevrolet for slightly more than $26,000 each. According to information given at a program on Thursday, each is slightly less expensive than an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle, when the cost of maintenance and fuel is factored in.

The city used part of a $423,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Volkswagen  Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund to pay for the vehicles and related costs of charging equipment. The same source will pay for some electric vehicles and charging equipment in the future.

Charging equipment for the vehicles also will be paid for by the Volkswagen fund. That fund was set up after Volkswagen agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department for using illegal emissions testing devices in certain of its vehicles, allowing them to cheat the testing system. 

None of the money for the vehicle costs will come from the city’s capital budget, according to a news release.

The Department of Health, the City mailroom, the Board of Public Service and the Comptroller’s Office each will receive one of the vehicles.

All four electric vehicles are covered with environmental messages. The seal of the City of St. Louis also will be on the vehicles. 

St. Louis already has several electric vehicles at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport. 

St. Louis plans to use the Volkswagen Trust funds to buy at least eight electric vehicles and 10 charging stations in the months to come. 

 Vehicle electrification plays an important part in the city’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2050, said Catherine Werner, the city’s sustainability director.  

In other steps, the Board of Aldermen has passed bills to require new buildings and parking lots to be retrofitted so they can be connected to solar and electric vehicle charging units later.

Jim Merkel

southsidemerkel@gmail.com Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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