The municipality of Richelieu, in the Montérégie region, is adopting a fleet management approach with noble green intentions, an attitude that will certainly make Mother Nature smile.
An electric shock
The City of Richelieu is already taking a greener approach to rolling stock by virtue of using two Nissan LEAFs, a 2015 model and a 2018 model. The City of Richelieu is showing its colors even more by acquiring a 2022 Ford E-Transit. It is an electric utility van, with a medium wheelbase roof, consisting of a partition with a door, which delimits the cabin space, and tie-down hooks in the loading area. In addition, the vehicle has a non-slip floor covering.
“These basic features are ideal and conducive to the transportation and safe storage of equipment and tools. With a load space that can be fitted with shelves, this van has a payload of approximately 4,000 lbs,” describes Claude Gauthier, mayor of the municipality, who adds that this van can be transformed into a mobile generator. “It’s a big plus for emergency situations and reloading jobsite tools, for example.”
From the outset, the Public Works Department was looking for a vehicle with ample and safe storage space to facilitate the transportation of equipment. In the end, the mayor calls it a “workshop on wheels”.
“Originally, we wanted a vehicle with a large cargo capacity and easy docking, with access to electricity from the vehicle. At the time of purchase, the Ford E-Transit was the only one available on the market that really met our needs.”
Transition and technology
Since 2015, a year that saw its fleet become slightly greener, the City of Richelieu has supported the cause of fighting climate change and has taken its role as a leader in sustainable development very seriously.
“Among the many advantages of this transition, the maintenance cost factor influenced our choice, given the considerable savings,” admits the chief magistrate.
The gleaming Ford van will perform alongside some 30 municipal vehicles, including trucks, dompeurs and others, tool and machinery vans, as well as a motorized boat used primarily for the operations of various departments. And who takes care of all this precious material?
“The Public Works Department staff performs regular maintenance on the vehicles. For major or more extensive repairs, we use our local mechanical shops,” explains Gauthier.
On the subject of telemetry, our speaker specified that, for the moment, only the newcomer benefits from it. “The Ford E-Transit has a built-in geolocator, which is GPS mapping on a touch screen.”
With respect to remarketing, which is the process of extending the life of vehicles that have served the community for the first time, the City of Richelieu liquidates its workforce in accordance with the Property Disposal By-law. As for specialized equipment, it is sold at an auto parts disposal/recycling center.
Green shift, encore!
Wishing to move from a pale green to a more pronounced green, the municipality of Richelieu is not limited to integrating electric vehicles into its fleet. In partnership with the Circuit électrique, it has installed several charging stations near some of its buildings. A look likely to encourage neighboring fleets to follow suit. But that’s not all, says the mayor.
“The City has also adopted a policy that allows employees who own an EV to charge their car for free while at work. This gesture demonstrates the municipality’s willingness to express its eco-responsibility while encouraging its employees and citizens to reduce their environmental footprint.”
In the short term, as the industry evolves, the City of Richelieu plans to continue its transition to electric vehicles throughout its municipal fleet, in addition to adding charging stations to its arsenal.
“In the longer term, the municipality will promote active travel by continuously improving its network of bicycle paths and multipurpose trails. Also, the City has more recently carried out preparatory work for the arrival of a local bus route that will serve Richelieu (exo), with the goal of promoting public transit.”
In Richelieu, green really symbolizes the color of the future…