With Garcetti’s Lead, L.A. Hops on Electric Avenue

A battery-powered auto fleet is on its way

City officials took a step this week toward replacing their entire gassy auto fleet with clean, efficient electric cars. The Police, Fire, General Services, and Water and Power departments will soon lease 160 fully electric, battery-powered vehicles, while 128 additional hybrid vehicles will go to the LADWP and General Services departments, the mayor’s office announced.

The new cars are part of Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn (stifle that groan), which calls for half of all smaller city vehicles to be fully electric by 2017, with a goal of having an 80% electric fleet  in a decade.

The plug-in goals have two benefits: one is a reduction of smog-causing emissions, the equivalent of the city planting 20,000 trees. The other plus is a reduction of gas needed to run them—zero for the fully electric vehicles—which means a boon to taxpayers and a redistribution of income to infrastructure upgrades (which are not specifically named in the mayor’s press release). The city estimates the switch to electric vehicles will equate to a 41% cost saving on auto operating costs ($0.21 per mile for electric cars vs. $0.37 per mile for conventional vehicles).

On top of all this, the LAPD was recently loaned a Tesla (thanks Elon!) and a hybrid BMW i3; the department also introduced 23 electric scooters and three electric motorbikes.

Electric vehicles are just one aspect of the pLAn: the city wants to cut greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050, increase local water supplies to 50% by 2035, shrink water use 20% by 2017, and get the DWP off of coal by 2025 (we still use coal?!).