New Bedford officials announced the newest additions to its electric vehicle fleet Tuesaday afternoon at the International Marketplace Parking Lot at the corner of Cogshall St. and Route 18.

Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the city has acquired nine Nissan LEAF models under lease, bringing the total number of electric vehicles to 19 after an initial 10 vehicles were unveiled last year.

"These vehicles are extremely efficient and travel the equivalent of 126 miles per gallon...on our city streets," Mitchell said.

That efficiency will result in less spending on fuel as well as less emissions by city vehicles.

Funding for the electric cars comes partly from the state through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (EVIP). MassDEP noted that New Bedford has led the charge through this new program and now has the most vehicles in it's municipal fleet.

"We're proud to announce today that the City of New Bedford, to date, has acquired the largest number of battery electric vehicles throughout the Mass EVIP fleet program," said Millie Garcia-Serrano, Regional Director of MassDEP.

Most of the vehicles are part of the Health Department and School Department.

Nissan is an official partner with EVIP and continue to spread awareness of the program across the Commonwealth.

"New Bedford really is an inspiration and I hope with this coverage we'll reach out to many other municipalities and towns throughout Massachusetts to let them know the success story," said Jean Gough, Electronic Vehicle Fleet Business Development Manager for Nissan North America. "Every municipality can benefit by this."

Costs associated with the electric vehicles are relatively low, according to city CFO Ari Sky.

"After all the incentives, [the cars] cost an average of $60 a month per vehicle so," Sky said. "It's good for the city and taxpayers as well as from a maintenance standpoint as these vehicles require almost no maintenance whatsoever."

Along with the additional cars, the city has increased the number of charging stations for electric cars to 27, including two Level 3 stations that will charge a car in under 30 minutes.

Officials say charging stations across the city were used over 700 times in 2015.

Greg Desrosiers/TSM
Greg Desrosiers/TSM

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