Kane County’s Use of Electric Cars Continues to Grow, Save Money and Promote Sustainability
- Editor’s Note: This is the first of two articles celebrating National Drive Electric Week (Sept. 10-18, 2016) in Kane County. Tomorrow’s article will focus on the areawide events taking place this weekend.
It’s already been almost a year and a half since the Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources purchased the first electric vehicle for the county fleet, and officials say the car is proving to be a practical and cost-effective means of promoting sustainability.
With National Drive Electric Week taking place this week (Sept. 10-18, 2016), now’s as good a time as any to take a look at Kane County’s growing “Green Fleet,” and the status of electric and hybrid car use in Kane County government.
Kane County’s First Plug-In Car
Kane County government’s first plug-in electric car is getting plenty of use during Drive Electric Week, and all year long.
In its first year-and-a-half, Kane County’s Volt has been driven 5,770 miles while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 749 kg and saving 224 gallons of gas.
Greening Kane County’s Fleet
Kane County continues to take steps to reduce fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions from government operations. In the past year, two county vans — one for the Sheriff’s Department and the other for Kane County Animal Control — underwent electric powertrain conversions to reduce their fuel consumption by 20 percent.
The majority of the cost of retrofitting these vehicles was covered by Chicago Area Clean Cities through their Drive Clean Chicago program. Drive Clean Chicago, administered by the Chicago Department of Transportation, provides $14 million in incentives to accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles in the six-county metropolitan area: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will.
Kane County department managers say the Drive Clean Chicago program has provided a great benefit.
“Better fuel economy for our Animal Control van equates to an immediate cost savings in our day-to-day operations,” explains Brett Youngsteadt, administrator for Kane County Animal Control. “The less money we need to spend on gas translates to more money that can be allocated to our department’s programs and providing the best care we can for the animals at our facility.”
Kane County is also helping to reduce fuel consumption within the government fleet when replacing obsolete vehicles with new models by selecting more fuel-efficient hybrid models when appropriate, and the County adopted an internal idling reduction policy in 2015 to decrease wasted fuel from unnecessary idling of government vehicles.
Collectively, officials say all of these steps are “greening” the county fleet to save money and improve local air quality.