BURRILLVILLE – The town of Burrillville will soon own a 2018 Nissan Leaf S pending a grant from the state Office of Energy Resources – a fully electric vehicle used to promote Rhode Island’s goal of moving toward a cleaner environment.
The car will be leased for three years with the help of a $7,500 rebate from OER. The total cost of the new car is $9,884, but with the rebate, the price to the town comes up to $2,384, to be paid from the waste disposal recycling account.
The Town Council unanimously approved the purchase on Wednesday, Sept. 26, also authorizing the Department of Public Works to purchase a residential charging station from Amazon at a cost of $599.
Pascoag Utility District has been involved with the project, researching several dealerships to find the best deal, and ultimately choosing a car from Speedcraft Nissan in West Warwick.
“It serves as an inexpensive opportunity to pilot the project and see if the town could benefit from using electric cars in their fleet in the future,” explained a letter on the proposal from the DPW to Town Manager Michael Wood. “This rebate may not be funded in 2019, so this is a good, lost cost opportunity to have an EV as part of the town fleet.”
Town officials will monitor how much is saved through use of the car, comparing the cost of fueling the electric vehicle with the price of gas. The letter noted that the price to charge the Nissan is $3.33, while the current average price for gas is $2.86 per gallon, or $34.32 to fill a 12 gallon tank.
“Electric cars will be good for both for both public relations as well as the environment, reducing emissions in town,” the letter from DPW Director Jeffrey McCormick and Recycling Coordinator Andrea Hall noted. “It also shows the community that the town is committed to practices that are not only economical, but environmentally friendly.”
Wood pointed out that purchase amounts to adding a new car to the town fleet for just $2,384.
“You can basically get a brand new vehicle for three years on a lease,” said Wood. “If we don’t get the grant, we’re not going to buy the vehicle.”
Desiree Dolan, supervisor of administration for the PUD, told NRI NOW this week that she has been speaking with officials at OER, and is hopeful she will get a commitment letter for the purchase within the next few days.
“I’ve been helping them because it’s something we wanted to see happen,” Dolan said of the grant process. “It’s going to move very fast.”
Through a second grant from OER, the town plans to install permanent charging stations by the playground at the Stillwater Mill pavilion and near the bike path behind the PUD office on Pascoag Main Street. That grant for up to $60,000 will be used to get the stations in the ground before the first frost, with DPW to do the trenching and landscape work, and company Verdek to complete the installation. PUD will install any equipment needed to hook the stations up to the grid.
“Everybody is in line for it pending this funding,” said Dolan.
The car itself will be used by Hall in her travels to town meetings, schools and on other town business, and will have a magnetic logo with the words “Love Your Town, Keep Burrillville Beautiful: Drive Electric.” The portable charger from Amazon is expected stay with the vehicle.
Councilor David Place noted that the town’s recycling fund, which currently has a balance of $50,000, is a quasi-restricted account.
“There’s only certain things that we can do with that money anyway,” Place said.
Councilor Donald Fox said of the project, “I think this is something worth experimenting with, particularly if they’re going to provide that grant.”