Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State of Washington Doubling Its Electric Vehicle Fleet

Tom Banse
Northwest News Network
Gov. Jay Inslee gives a thumbs up at the wheel of one of Washington state's newly acquired Chevy Bolt electric cars.

The state of Washington has taken delivery of its first longer-range electric cars as part of a plan to double its electric vehicle fleet. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee showed off one of them at a ceremony in Olympia Thursday.

The Chevy Bolt can drive more than 200 miles on a full charge. The vehicle’s roughly $30,000 base price is significantly higher than a similar sized gasoline-powered model.

But state vehicle contract manager Philip Saunders said the electric Bolt saves taxpayers money over the life of the car.

"You could save up to $5,000 per year easy, or more,” he said. "That's in gas. That's in oil changes. That's in brake pads - that's in any of that."

Washington state has ordered 117 of the new, fully-electric Chevy Bolts. That number represents just a small percentage of the total state fleet.

?Prior to this order, the state had about 120 older EV models such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt in its fleet. ?

"This is good for our taxpayers and it's good for the kids in our state," Inslee said at the Bolt handover ceremony. "It's certainly a good bargain because we know we have to reduce our carbon footprint. We know that climate change is hurting our state of Washington. This car fights climate change. Every mile you drive in it, you're fighting climate change." ?

Gas powered autos and trucks are the largest source of carbon emissions in the Pacific Northwest states.

Oregon's Department of Administrative Services is taking delivery in May of one Chevy Bolt for the state motor pool.

"After some time we'll evaluate how it is performing, how folks like it and really the overall cost to operate it," agency spokesman Matt Shelby said. "We'll consider more in the future, but right now we're just putting our toe in the water with adding one to the fleet."

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.