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City of Summerside puts off purchase of electric car after no local sources found

Greg Gaudet, director of Summerside’s municipal services, speaks with city council during its Tuesday night committee meeting.
Greg Gaudet, director of Summerside’s municipal services, speaks with city council during its Tuesday night committee meeting. - Colin MacLean

The City of Summerside has decided to delay the purchase of a new electric vehicle because none of the local dealers were able to provide one.

Council approved $40,000 in its 2018 budget to buy a new electric car to replace a conventional truck used the wastewater treatment department.

The city currently has three electric vehicles in its fleet, all 2015 Nisan Leafs. One is used by the IT department and two by Summerside Electric. The city previously paid about $37,000, plus HST, for each of its Nisan Leafs.

The city issued a tender for the new electric vehicle and approached the local dealers individually.

Greg Gaudet, the city’s director of municipal services, told council at its Tuesday committee meeting that only one company, Steele GM from Dartmouth, N.S., responded to the tender. The company offered a Chevrolet Bolt for $54,179, taxes included.

Gaudet explained that the scarcity of electric cars, general rising prices and the fact that the city was only buying one vehicle rather than a bulk order, were both factors in the higher than expected cost.

Given the discrepancy between the budgeted amount and the actual price of the only tender response, the purchase had to be reapproved by council.

Councillors expressed support for the idea of buying electric and continuing the city’s green energy leadership initiatives, but most also expressed trepidation at spending that much money to buy a vehicle from a non-local supplier. Gaudet said that none of the local dealers could get an electric vehicle in a timely manner.

“We tried to get one. We went and spoke to each dealer separately and said, ’what are your issues with getting one on P.E.I.?’ There was a slew of issues for the industry to even get an allocation of electric cars for the province,” said Gaudet.

Council decided to put off the purchase for now and reexamine the situation at a later date.

Colin.Maclean@JournalPioneer.com

@JournalPMacLean

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