Sunday, April 5, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 5

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 26th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 52

County purchases electric vehicles, charging stations

By Zac Ezzone

Santa Barbara County is beginning its transition of replacing its fleet of vehicles with electrical ones with the purchase of 56 cars and 71 charging stations.

Skip Grey, the county’s assistant director of its General Services Department, presented plans to make these purchases at the Feb. 25 Board of Supervisors meeting. 

During the meeting, Grey said the county plans to purchase 56 Chevrolet Bolts from a car dealership in Buellton, primarily through a fleet reserve replacement fund that various departments contribute to. The total cost of these vehicles is a little more than $1.6 million.

For the charging stations, Grey said the county is able to acquire the 71 units without contributing any funding by trading the low carbon fuel credits the stations generate to the company PowerFlex for five years. However, the county will allocate nearly $700,000 from a contingency fund saved for unexpected expenses to the design and installation of the equipment. All of the stations will be installed in South County. 

The board also approved a staff recommendation to move forward with a grant application to fund the purchase and installation of 16 electric vehicle charging stations at the county’s Lompoc campus. This project would cost $200,837. The county will pay $52,808, and the grant would cover the rest.

These purchases are a follow-up to the Board of Supervisors’ decision in March 2019 to replace sedans and pickup trucks in the county’s fleet with electric vehicles—aside from those used in public safety. During his presentation, Grey said the county would need to replace 124 vehicles over the next five years, including the 56 discussed during the meeting.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam was the only supervisor who didn’t vote in favor of staff’s recommendations. Instead, he abstained from the vote without a comment. 

In the past Adam has been critical of how the county allocates funding. He often cites the more than $400 million in deferred maintenance, such as road repairs, that the county has to address. 

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