FIRST-YEAR FIREFIGHTER/EMT Christina Harris proudly displays a new electric vehicle that is part of the Fire Department’s fleet. (Courtesy Photo)

 


MELROSE — In alignment with its Net Zero Action Plan to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, the city of Melrose has made major updates to its vehicle policy.

The revised policy will now prioritize the city’s non-exempt procurement of battery-electric vehicles, prompting the renaming of the policy as the Electric Vehicle First Fleet Policy.

“Our baseline inventory of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions showed that vehicles are responsible for 38 percent of Melrose’s total emissions,” said Sustainability Manager Martha Grover. “The city will continue to lead by example and purchase electric vehicles when it’s cost effective because they are cleaner, cheaper to run over time, and require less maintenance.”

This is not the first time the city of Melrose has taken measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, the city put a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Policy in place when it became a designated Green Community under the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. Since then, the city has reduced its vehicle fuel use by more 20 percent between the 140 vehicles used by the Department of Public Works Parks, Recreation, Health, Inspections, COA, Fire, Police, and School Departments.

“Melrose continues to take a lead when it comes to combatting greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Paul Brodeur. “Through this policy, we are committed to reaching our goal of zero emission vehicles and equipment by no later than 2035. I am proud to partner with every city department to protect our natural resources, ensure sustainable practices, and promote energy efficiency in Melrose. I and am especially grateful for Martha Grover’s initiative to bring this policy to fruition.”

Following the Earth Day 2022 release of its Net Zero Action Plan, and in the city’s continued effort to lead by example, the city updated its fleet policy to require that department heads prioritize the purchase of battery electric vehicles (BEV) for all future non-exempt vehicle procurements. If a BEV model is not commercially available or cost-effective, departments will then consider plug-in hybrids, hybrid-electric, and standard internal combustion engine vehicles last.

The updated Electric Vehicle First Fleet Policy provides information on fuel-efficiency requirements for standard vehicles, applicable statewide purchasing contracts, and policy exemptions.

Through the National Grid Fleet Advisory Services Program (FASP), the city will continue to work with consultants to prioritize cost-effective fleet replacement options as departments consider vehicle purchases. The city is also looking forward to adding additional charging stations throughout Melrose.

“We acknowledge that a current barrier to adding more BEVs to the fleet is access to charging stations where municipal vehicles typically park, but we will continue to look for opportunities to add charging stations in more locations in addition to the one being installed at the Police Station garage soon,” said Grover.

Community members can read the policy by visiting www.cityofmelrose.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif3451/f/uploads/melroseevfirstpolicy.pdf. If residents have any questions about the policy, they can contact Grover at [email protected]