Five new all-electric vehicles join fleets across the region

Five members of the Drive Electric Minnesota partnership announced Tuesday, Nov. 2, a rollout of five energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, all-electric fleet vehicles. The City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the State of Minnesota and Xcel Energy recently received all-electric Ford Transit Connect commercial vans to add to their fleets. Drive Electric Minnesota members say electric vehicles will play an important role in efforts to protect the environment and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, and they are seeking more sustainable fleet solutions by testing promising new technologies that support local, green jobs.

Xcel Energy offered a number of municipalities, government agencies and businesses the opportunity to be among the first in the country to receive the all-electric Ford Transit Connect commercial van as part of Azure Dynamics Corp.’s “Lead Customer” program. Xcel Energy is providing $20,000 for each vehicle purchased. Partners include the City of Saint Paul, City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Metropolitan Airports Commission and Ramsey County. Other members of the Minnesota partnership, the City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County, have or will get Transit Connects as they roll off the assembly line for a total of eight.

Ford Transit Connect Electric is a collaborative effort between Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics Corp. and reflects the increasing interest in electrified vehicles for the commercial sector. The Ford Transit Connect Electric uses an advanced lithium-ion battery from Johnson Controls to achieve a range of up to 80 miles on a single charge and is rechargeable using either a 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlet. Commercial vans generally return to a central location at the end of each driving cycle, making for easy overnight recharging. Use of the vehicles will also reduce fuel and maintenance costs, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. All-electric Transit Connects emit no tailpipe pollution and represent about a 75 percent reduction of carbon dioxide compared to full-sized gas-powered pickups.

The City of Minneapolis will use its electric Transit Connect in the Public Works Fleet Services Distribution Center to pick up parts and supplies from vendors throughout the Twin Cities area. The City’s parts running vehicle can put on 20,000 miles per year. The City anticipates fuel savings for this zero emissions vehicle to be more than $40,000 over the next eight years, compared to the Ford F250 it replaces.

A number of the Ford Transit Connect’s components are manufactured locally, by Diversified Plastics in Minneapolis, Dynamic Air in Saint Paul and Product Development Solutions in Blaine. Drive Electric Minnesota members’ commitment to building more sustainable fleets equals growing local green manufacturers and local green jobs. For example, the RENEW job-training partnership between the City of Minneapolis and Ramsey County, which is funded by the federal Recovery Act, has already placed more than 580 disadvantaged workers into green-credentialing programs in manufacturing, construction, building systems and renewable energy. More than 240 of these workers have been placed in high-paying jobs based on their new qualifications.

Why electric vehicles? Electric vehicles are coming.


For details and more information about “why electric vehicles?” visit www.driveelectricmn.org and scroll down to Drive Electric Minnesota Why EVs? in the resources section.Drive Electric Minnesota is a partnership of local and state government, utilities, private business and nonprofit entities working in collaboration to bring electric vehicles and plug-in charging infrastructure to Minnesota. The partnership’s goals include encouraging the deployment of electric vehicles and the establishment of charging station infrastructure through public-private partnerships, financial incentives, education, technical support and public policy. For more information, visit www.driveelectricmn.org.

B-roll video featuring the new all-electric vehicles and event will be available for media use later in the day at www.driveelectricmn.org in the media resources section.

Published Nov 2, 2011