First Lady Jane Beshear welcomed the first electric vehicles into the state vehicle fleet yesterday in a ceremony that kicked off a day of Earth Day activities. Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters, Finance and Administration Cabinet Lori H. Flanery, and Division for Air Quality director John Lyons joined the First Lady in the ribbon-cutting.
The First Lady led the ceremony surrounded by four new Chevy Volts and two charging stations that were recently installed outside the headquarters for the Department for Environmental Protection. The vehicles and charging stations will be used by state workers conducting official business on behalf of the Commonwealth.
“Plug-in hybrids bring us one step closer to fulfilling the goals of the Governor’s Energy Plan,” said Mrs. Beshear. “These new vehicles get more miles per gallon and produce fewer tailpipe emissions than any conventional vehicle in the state fleet.” Mrs. Beshear added, “Improving the efficiency of our fleet makes good economic sense, and it’s better for our environment.”
Among its recommendations, the Governor’s Energy Plan calls for a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy of the state vehicle fleet by 2015 and a 50 percent improvement by 2025. The plan also calls for utilizing alternative fuels and technologies like plug-in hybrids, to reduce Kentucky’s dependence on foreign petroleum.
The new vehicles combine hybrid and electric plug-in technology with a gasoline-powered generator, resulting in fewer tailpipe emissions and more miles per gallon than comparable, conventional vehicles.
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, more than 132 million miles are driven every day on Kentucky roads. “Transportation is one of the fastest-growing sources of air pollution,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters. “When operated in electric mode only, plug-in vehicles like the Chevy Volt produce zero tailpipe emissions. That’s good news for air quality, especially in urban areas where smog-forming emissions are high.”
“The Finance Cabinet is always looking for ways to reduce the state’s carbon footprint,” said Lori H. Flanery, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet. “With that in mind, the Division of Fleet Management has ordered two Chevy Volts for postal services to use in and around Frankfort. Short, local trips, where the driver can use the electric engine exclusively, could realize anywhere from 50 to 100 percent fuel cost savings.”
Purchase of the vehicles and charging stations was made possible by grant funding administered by the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition.
For more information on Governor Beshear’s
Energy Plan, Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky’s Future, visit http://energy.ky.gov/resources/Pages/EnergyPlan.aspx