Kane County Continues Drive for Greener Fleet

Kane County Continues Drive for Greener Fleet

A new electric vehicle charging station is now up and running at the Kane County Health Department in Aurora. The EV station, which is on the ChargePoint network — the largest network of electric vehicle charging stations in the United States and world — is the second station to be installed at a county government facility for public use.

The station, located at the Health Department offices at 1240 N. Highland Ave. in Aurora, was paid for using grant dollars from the Grand Victoria Riverboat Fund that were allocated to carry out initiatives from the Kane County Operational Sustainability Plan.

“The Kane County Health Department is pleased to be newest location of an electric vehicle charging station through the county’s sustainability efforts — especially since the station’s use will help protect local air quality, which supports environmental and public health goals of our department,” Health Department Executive Director Barb Jeffers said.

Research from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy backs the use of electric vehicle for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even when considering the “well-to-wheel” emissions that take into account the source of electricity in the region.

Barb Jeffers, Executive Director of the Kane County Health Department, plugs the county’s electric vehicle into the new charging station.

The new station puts the Health Department in the perfect position to be the next Kane County department to add an electric vehicle to its department’s fleet. The Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources was the first department to do so with the purchase of a Chevy Volt in 2015, which was funded in part by an Alternate Fuels Rebate from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

“The first electric vehicle purchase has proven to be beneficial by reducing our Division’s annual fuel costs by over 80 percent,” said Ken Anderson, director of the Environmental & Water Resources Division. “As Kane County continues striving for reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from county operations, we hope to see more electric and other alternative fuel vehicles working their way into the government fleet.”

The Kane County Division of Environmental Resources has driven over 8,700 miles to date, using only 51 gallons of gas.

The electric vehicle charging infrastructure is benefiting the overall community, as well.

Kane County installed its first charging station back in 2012 at the Third Street Courthouse in Geneva under a federal grant. To date, the station has been used by the public 2,474 times resulting in a fuel savings of 1,533 gallons and a reduction of 5,133 kg of greenhouse gases in the surrounding community — which is the equivalent of planting 195 trees and letting them grow for 10 years!

Exploring Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Electric vehicles are just one of the possible steps toward a greener fleet for county government. In early June, 20 county staff and elected officials attended a “Greening Kane County’s Fleet” seminar at the Government Center that featured vendors and guest speakers covering a range of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicle options that could potentially benefit the county.

Kane County Board member Phil Lewis has ideas for the future of the county’s fleet.

“I think we should move in the direction of natural gas powered and electric powered vehicles,” he said. “The county fleet numbers a couple hundred units, and a commitment to achieving 20% ‘green’ fuels by 2020 would set a good example for other communities.”