San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria took the opportunity to celebrate Earth Day 2021 by announcing that the city’s electric fleet will be fueled with solar power.
“Transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and so to really map how the city moves and find out ways of how we can drive down emissions, this is also a part of this budget.” Mayor Gloria said in a statement. “I’m extremely optimistic that this pilot is going to prove, not just a savings for taxpayers, but really help our city meet our ambitious climate action plan goals.”
The new program is in partnership with Sorrento Valley-based Beam Global and will allow the city to charge its electric fleet of 20 vehicles using an Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Charger (EV ARC) which is designed to harness a car's kinetic energy and convert it into electricity, supplying the vehicle with power while simultaneously charging the battery.
Currently, San Diego has approximately 4000 total cars which include police vehicles, trash trucks, and parking enforcement vehicles. Among this number are 20 electric vehicles that have been deployed thus far with 3 more coming shortly. This total also includes 430 additional low-emissions vehicles.
The partnership between the city and Beam Global will allow for the deployment of EV ARC chargers that are designed to harness a car's kinetic energy, convert it into electricity while simultaneously charging the battery.
This new program not only helps San Diego reach its Climate Action Plan 2035 goal of increasing zero-emission vehicles in the municipal fleet by 90 percent, but also to work towards the overall goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by that year.
The large, but transportable 10,000 pound solar-powered EV ARC charger eliminates the need for energy bills and can fit inside a 9'x8′ parking space, fueling up to five vehicles at a given time. This pilot project, including a pair of Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Chargers, or EV ARCs, that have been placed in the City Operations Yard near downtown, is estimated to cost $155,000--and will be paid from the city's energy fund. San Diego City officials estimate that nearly 6-million dollars are spent on fuel every year. They’re hoping to cut that cost as the city transitions to solar powered vehicles.
The city plans to test the program for six months and evaluate at the end of that time frame if they would like to purchase more EV ARC's. In the meantime, local leaders will continue making efforts in obtaining electric vehicles for city work cars and trucks.
"This will be an actionable roadmap to reach our transportation safety, equity and emission reduction goals. This pilot program today will help us better understand and plan for our electric vehicle fleet's needs going forward. Now, plans are of course necessary but action is so much more important." Mayor Gloria concluded during his Earth Day address.