Stories

Chula Vista Charges Forward with New Electric Vehicle Efforts

March 29, 2018

By Mario A. Cortez

As part of a joint effort to reduce greenhouse emissions, the City of Chula Vista and San Diego Gas & Electric unveiled a fleet of 15 new, long-range electric vehicles and vehicular charging stations during a ceremony held at City Hall on Tuesday, March 27.

The new fleet is made up of 12 Hyundai Ioniq models and three Chevy Volt models that will be used by the local senior citizen volunteer patrol and the City’s code enforcement programs.

The vehicles were purchased by the City with funds collected through Measure P, a 10-year, half-cent sales tax which was approved in November of 2016 to raise funds for infrastructure services which the City identified as being “high priority.” The City will be receiving $150,000 in state rebate incentives from the California Air Resources Board for the purchase of these electric vehicles.

Through its Power Your Drive program, SDG&E has been working with the City of Chula Vista to install vehicular charging stations at facilities such as the Police Department Headquarters, City Hall, and the Public Works Department. Currently, 71 of the 123 chargers planned to be online are operational and ready to be used by the the new vehicular fleet.

Eugene Mitchell, SDG&E vice president of external affairs, expressed that cities such as Chula Vista set an example for sustainability and are apart of a larger clean transportation movement within San Diego County.

“Communities in every corner of the San Diego County are actively working with us to find ways to electrify their municipal fleets because they understand that tailpipe emissions from gasoline-fueled vehicles cause significant air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

The partnership with SDG&E is a major one for Chula Vista in trying to comply with its climate action plan smart growth and transportation goals.

“Chula Vista has long been an environmental champion and our new electric fleet continues that leadership,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “We are proud to have the most EV chargers installed to date of any city in the region.”

During the ceremony, City staff and senior patrol members had the opportunity to take these new vehicles for a ride around the block.

Bob Mains, a volunteer with four years of experience with the senior volunteer patrol, said he is excited to drive the new vehicles, which he has found very easy to drive and roomy.

“We used to drive the rough, old Crown victorias and Chevy Caprices with high mileage and these new cars will make it much easier to get around since we won’t have stop and refuel throughout the day; we just bring them back to the station and let them charge until the next day,” he said.

“The definitely get better gas mileage too,” Mains jested.

The City intends on doubling the fleet, bringing the total number of zero-emission vehicles up to 30, later this year.

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