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City ending contract for electric vehicle fleet

February 16, 2018

The city of Indianapolis is ending a contract for an electric municipal vehicle fleet—a program that at first was hailed by some as a breakthrough for the green economy and then ran into political trouble.

The administration of Mayor Joe Hogsett has signed an agreement to wind down the deal with California-based Vision Fleet, Fox59 reported Thursday. The 2014 deal was signed by Hogsett's predecessor, Mayor Greg Ballard, who envisioned a 425-vehicle municipal fleet running on electricity or a hybrid-gasoline option.

Under the deal originally inked in February 2014, the city agreed to pay $32 million over seven years to lease 425 electric-powered cars to replace some of the city's gas-powered vehicles. The cars, including such models as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, would be used for a variety of city services, but not for police-pursuit purposes.

Now, the city will return 200 cars this year, keep 12 vehicles and pay $500,000 for 43 charging stations that were built on city-owned property, Fox59 reported. It was not immediately clear on Friday how many of the 425 cars that the city hoped to lease actually were in use by the city.

The agreement to end the contract that the city signed this week with Indy-Vision Funding I LLC indicates that the cars don't meet Indianapolis' needs.

The electric vehicle vendor disagrees, however, and the agreement notes that Vision denies the city's claims and doesn't admit any liability.

In 2015, the Indianapolis City-County Council has voted to sue the city to prevent it from implementing the contract with Vision Fleet. Some councilors believed the contract should be nullified because Ballard didn't seek multiple bids for the service.

The sides later settled.

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