St. Paul unveils electric fleet vehicle, charging stations

The city of St. Paul, Mayor Chris Coleman and Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled an all-electric fleet vehicle on Tuesday, believed to be the first of its kind in the state.

St. Paul officials said the zero-emission trucks will save the city money in gas costs and reduce the city's carbon footprint.

The city is also building about two dozen charging stations where drivers will be able to plug in their own electric vehicles for a small fee.

"We want to be able to provide downtown employees who have a monthly contract an opportunity to charge their cars, as well as visitors who might be coming to the Xcel Center for a Wild game," St. Paul Environmental Policy Director Anne Hunt said. "We want those people to know that they can come to St. Paul and know with confidence that they can find a location to charge their vehicle."

Hunt said the city needs to get ready for what she believes will be an increase in electric-car sales.

"It is a little bit of a chicken and the egg," Hunt said. "We know customers at our parking ramps are asking us, 'Is there going to be the infrastructure for them to charge their car?' All the major manufacturers are coming out with electric cars in the next year or two. So the grant money served as a great opportunity for the city of be able to finance building the infrastructure."

Federal stimulus money is paying for the new charging stations, while the city, Xcel Energy and federal dollars are paying for the new cars.

Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Airports Commission will be adding electric cars to their fleet this year as well.

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