Fleet Services Gets a "Charge" Out of Transportation Options

electric hybrid carsRalph Tack, District fleet services manager, checking under the hood of an electric car. The electric car faces the Toyota Prius, far right, another example of the new hybrid electric vehicles.

With the recent purchase of three electric cars and six hybrid vehicles, Fleet Services is going “green” to be more environmentally conscious while meeting District staff’s transportation needs.

The three electric cars will be used throughout the campus for the Mailroom and Inventory sections and the Information Resources Department. The electric cars run completely on batteries, similar to a golf cart. The battery takes only a few hours to charge and lasts for approximately 27–42 miles.

“The electric cars will replace all the fuel vehicles for on-campus transportation,” said Ralph Tack, District fleet services manager. “This will save the District about $200 a year in gasoline.”

The six hybrid electric vehicles, five of which are Ford Escapes and one a Toyota Prius, are used to transport staff to and from different service offices and to off-site locations.

Unlike the electric cars, hybrid electric vehicles integrate a gas engine, an electric motor and a high-powered battery. The battery provides power for the electric motor and is recharged by recapturing energy that would normally be lost when decelerating or coasting. If needed, power from the gas engine can be diverted to recharge the battery as well. Therefore, these charging methods allow the hybrid electric cars to go without having to be plugged in.

Depending on the driver, the hybrid electric Ford Escapes average about 26–30 miles per gallon (mpg) and the Toyota Prius averages approximately 40–45 mpg.

“In addition to saving fuel, the hybrid electric cars allow the District to contribute to reducing emissions into the environment,” said Tack.

For those employees who are not familiar with how electric and hybrid electric vehicles operate, the Fleet Services Section provides informal training to ensure all drivers are comfortable with the new technology.