Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris signs executive order for electric cars

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct number of vehicles in the Shelby County fleet.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris signed an executive order saying his government will prioritize the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles and install electric vehicle charging stations at county-owned facilities.

At the signing ceremony on Wednesday, Harris said progress has been made to address climate change, including directing county funding toward public transportation.

“But it’s not enough and we need to keep moving forward at all levels of decision-making authority,” Harris said. “The vast majority of carbon emissions that are warming our atmosphere as we speak come from cars and trucks, so we have got to get more cars and trucks off the road, we have to change our mindset in a way that put more emphasis on electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles and we have to continue.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris signs an executive order regarding green vehicles for county government on Wednesday, August 17, 2022.

Now the county must ensure that at least 5% of the fleet under the mayor’s control, which does not include vehicles from the sheriff’s office or the school system, are “green” by the end of 2027 After this year, 20% of passenger vehicles purchased or leased by the county per year must be green “if their use is appropriate to the application” and if “economically feasible”.

The decree also provides for the creation of an inventory of the fleet of vehicles by each department under the administration of the mayor, allowing the replacement of old and inefficient vehicles with green vehicles.

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Currently, the county’s vehicle fleet includes approximately 600 vehicles, ranging from offices like public works to health services. Last week, the Shelby County Commission approved a $350,000 purchase of a medium-duty electric dump truck for use in the county’s garbage collection program.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, left, learns about the capabilities of the county's new Ford F150 Lightning, an all-electric truck, Wednesday, August 17, 2022.

Additionally, the County Public Works Division and Memphis and Shelby County Planning and Development Division recently partnered to receive a $500,000 grant to develop an electric vehicle fleet pilot project and infrastructure. charging stations.

The county’s current all-electric and hybrid vehicles include an all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning used by the Department of Highways, Bridges and Engineering, an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt purchased on June 6 and used by the Planning Office and development and a Ford Focus hybrid used by assistance services. These three vehicles were shown to young climate activists and others on Wednesday.

In November 2020, Harris presented a green fleet policy to the Shelby County Commission. The policy required that fuel efficiency information be included in future vehicle purchase resolutions and prioritized the purchase of environmentally friendly fleet vehicles.

Road transportation produced 39% of the county’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, according to the Memphis Area Climate Action Plan, a statistic cited by the executive order.

The new executive order, which will be presented to the commission in the form of an order so that, if approved, can last beyond Harris’ administration, also requires Shelby County employees in the County-owned vehicles do not allow vehicles to idle longer than five minutes, unless necessary for the operation of equipment.

John Zeanah, director of the Memphis and Shelby County Planning and Development Division, said Harris’ order will help implement the Memphis Area Climate Action Plan, which was developed A few years ago.

“This bold step led by Mayor Lee Harris for Shelby County Vehicles not only helps set the stage in Shelby County government, but helps the county show leadership in our community so we can begin achieve these ambitious climate change reduction targets over time,” says Zéana.

Katherine Burgess covers county government and religion. She can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.

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