Bedford officials are looking forward to what they say will be a sort of test-run when it comes to the use of electric cars.
Within about a month, the town will acquire two of the automobiles for use in the Parking Enforcement Department. About half of the cost of the vehicles will be covered by a $35,000 grant, via the Green Fleets Program Agreement from the New York Power Authority, according to officials.
"I think it's an idea whose time has come," Supervisor V.A. Roberts said, noting that the Town already owns several hybrid vehicles. "This is our first shot at it."
Also happening before or around Jan. 1 will be the installation of a charging station, between the two town-owned buildings on Bedford Road. ChargePoint, an international network of independently-owned charging stations, is providing the facility at no cost, beyond the price of an electrician for installation.
The two electric cars will replace a 2000 and a 2005 Chevrolet Impala, which carry about 127,000 and 116,000 miles, respectively. The protocol in the past has been to retire aging Police Department vehicles that are no longer reliable enough for 24-hour patrol, like the Impalas, to civilian-run departments, which typically put fewer miles on the car.
"We're hopeful that this is going to be a good fit," Lt. Jeffrey Dickan said, adding that parking officers generally do not drive more than 70 miles in a day. Most electric cars can go at least 100 before needed a charge.
Mark Thielking, Bedford's director of energy resources, said the town is considering the Ford Focus and the Nissan Leaf. He said upkeep on these types of cars is "virtually nothing."
"In fact, the scheduled maintenance on the Ford Focus for the next three years is to change the cabin filter," he told Patch. "There are no oil changes."
Theilking said that once all the elements are in place, officials will be able to gauge whether electric cars are a good route for other departments, too.
"This is a huge win for the town."