The City of Saskatoon has launched a new pilot program looking at the impact of switching four of its vehicles to electric.
Saskatoon’s low emissions community plan sets a goal to transition all of its approximately 470 vehicles to electric by 2030.
It has leased four electric vehicles to study how much money they save the city, as well as how much the city can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’re making strides toward a healthier and cleaner environment, and progressing the goal to reduce Saskatoon’s greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050,” said Jeanna South, director of sustainability for the city.
She said electric vehicles produce around 30 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than fuel-powered vehicles.
The city is spending $200,000 on the pilot project, including the cost to lease the vehicles and install charging stations for them. The city will look at how they hold up in all kinds of Saskatoon seasons.
While electric vehicles cost more upfront, director of roadways, fleet and support Gordon Saric said it balances out over the vehicle’s lifetime.
“Their maintenance costs are so much lower compared to a conventional fuel-powered vehicle,” he said.
The city is still looking at how much it could actually save. Saric said on average it costs the city $11,500 a year to put fuel in four vehicles.
It’s estimated the four electric vehicles will cost only $1,900 a year to charge, saving the city around $9,600. Saric notes this is still an estimate, and the city won’t know how much it saves until the study is completed.
He added some vehicles — such as trucks — do not have electric equivalents yet, but said he hopes the city can transition its larger vehicles once the auto industry provides that option.