One of the most creative initiatives to date has been a significant reduction of the city’s carbon footprint by changing the city’s fleet vehicles. Rather than the standard fossil-fuel vehicle for short trips through the city on tours, inspections or even between events and activities, Polaris/GEM cars were purchased. Operating at a cost of 3 cents per mile rather than 12 to 14 cents per mile of a standard six-cylinder automobile, brings some savings. But it is the reduction of the carbon footprint of this still small fleet of two electric vehicles that was the main goal.
The two GEM cars, delivered to the city and bearing the city logo, were delivered in the summer of 2016 and immediately put into action. They have carried officials in the Independence Day Parade and carried Governor Larry Hogan through the city on a recent tour.
Deputy Director of Administration for the City of Havre de Grace, James “Jim” Newby, even found a way for the city to purchase the vehicles that saved a different kind of green in the way of city funds. “We are utilizing a Visa Card 2% Cash Back program to bank sufficient funds to purchase these new electric vehicles without utilization of budget funds,” he explained.
The American-made Polaris/GEM cars seat four passengers and allow for space for to haul items as well. They were called into use for the Harford County Board of Realtors recently who donated their time and talent to create art-marking of the city’s Lafayette Trail to historic homes.
As the vehicles are electric-powered, the city installed a stanchion for electric service to these vehicles for recharging in front of City hall, which is yet another green initiative. “The City of Havre de Grace, I am very proud to say, has flipped the switch,” Mayor Bill Martin explained to a recent public meeting. “All city buildings have switched over to solar power from the solar farm in nearby Perryman and we’re off the electricity grid in favor of renewable solar energy.”