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HomeKootenay NewsNo electric vehicle for City of Nelson in 2022

No electric vehicle for City of Nelson in 2022

Despite its strong desire to add a full electric vehicle into the mix, the City of Nelson is seeing too many logistical and supply chain issues to make it happen this year.

City councillors heard Friday during a capital budget meeting that even if the city could get one, there’s next to no one in the BC Interior to service it if its breaks down.

Fleet and Transit Supervisor Jody Koehle says heavy equipment demo models, promised nearly two years ago, have never arrived and the owner of Nelson Ford has been waiting for over two years on an order for an electric pickup truck (F-150 Lightning).

The Ford dealership is only starting to get electric vehicle pricing this year after having its garage certified to work on them, he explained.

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“We can’t resource something that we can’t work on here locally, and that’s kind of the bottom line,” Koehle said.

He added it would be embarrassing if the city bought a piece of equipment that ended up sitting in the public works yard because of a “technical issue that we weren’t able to get fixed” because it’s electric.

Koehle says they looked at adding an electric sport-utility vehicle into the fleet but there are none with four wheel drive and there’s no WorkSafeBC certified barrier, since the city department that would get the SUV would have to carry tools in the back.

“I was up against a cement wall as far as providing us with an electric vehicle into our fleet this year,” noting council’s desire to go all-in electric this year – no hybrid.

Nelson plans to spend about $1.9 million on 15 – possibly 16 – vehicles and fleet equipment this year, including pickup trucks, dump trucks, excavators and a chipper. Last year it spent around $844,000. Part of the marked increase is a specialized vacuum truck for nearly half a million dollars.

Asked about the hybrid pilot with the Nelson Police Department, Koehle explained the “savings were very minimal” because the vehicle ran mostly on gas because of rapid acceleration during pursuits or responding to calls for service. He says the “hybrid is shining very brightly” when it’s sitting, idling for a long time at an investigation scene.

Coun. Rik Logtenberg says city staff need to capture the challenges from Koehle’s research to be able to take to higher levels of government, starting with the Union of BC Municipalities conference in September.

“You might see, say the federal government or the private sector, really step in and see a market opportunity to unlock these challenges,” he said.

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