Haverhill eyes using electric cars – Eagle-Tribune

Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2016

HAVERHILL — “Solar City” could be expanding from the tops of buildings to cars on the street.

With Haverhill working on building solar arrays on the roofs of several public buildings, Councilor Joseph Bevilacqua wants to explore buying electric vehicles to help limit the city’s carbon footprint and conserve fuel.

Bevilacqua said electric vehicles are something any cutting-edge community should be looking to use.

“They’re not a new idea. Henry Ford built one 100 years ago and a lot of cities are using them now,” said Bevilacqua, a former economic development director for Haverhill who is president/CEO of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a way to save money and conserve our energy,” he said.

Buying electric cars can involve a relatively high initial expense, but Bevilacqua said the increasing prevalence of electric cars on the nation’s roads is making them cheaper.

He said the city should also investigate whether there is grant money available from state and federal environmental protection agencies to help with the initial cost of the cars.

“The city doesn’t buy a lot of vehicles, but when we do, I’d like to include electric vehicles in the request for proposals,” Bevilacqua said.

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Providing vehicles for city parks and playground workers would be ideal places to utilize the electric cars at first, he said.

He said that while it may be a little early to envision entire electric fleets of police or emergency vehicles, city departments which send inspectors out and about around Haverhill would be perfect candidates to use electric cars.

“When patrolling our playgrounds, using electric cars would be no different than how they’re used at golf courses,” Bevilacqua said. “I’m not sure about police vehicles, but there are a number of city departments — public works, health, engineering, the School Department — which could send their people out in electric cars.”

Bevilacqua said Gloucester has begun moving away from gas-powered cars. He said he has seen more and more businesses in environmentally progressive cities placing electric charging stations in front of their establishments — a sign of the times and proof that electric cars are no longer figments of a sci-fi novel.

“They’re coming this way,” Bevilacqua said. “(Electric cars) are cheaper, easier to manage and quieter than they’ve ever been. I think the city should be a leader in some of these initiatives.”

Bevilacqua said he plans to discuss the idea at a council meeting in August.

Follow Peter Francis on Twitter @PeterMFrancis and on Tout @PFrancis

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