Electric vehicle helps RFMU‘lead by exampleDuring a November 2010 meeting the River Falls Utility Commission voted to approve replacing a John Deere “Gator” tractor with a Polaris brand neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV).
During a November 2010 meeting the River Falls Utility Commission voted to approve replacing a John Deere “Gator” tractor with a Polaris brand neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV).
The Gator had been scheduled for replacement, and after the NEV was favorably demonstrated at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, plans were made for its purchase.
Since early December, personnel at the plant have been using the environmentally friendly NEV to perform daily tasks.
Bought locally from St. Croix Sport and Power, the NEV’s original cost was $10,009. That, however, was reduced to $5,009 by a grant received from Wisconsin Public Power, Inc.
Mike Noreen, River Falls Municipal Utilities conservation and efficiency coordinator, talked about the new addition.
“I’d describe it as a work/utility vehicle,” said Noreen, and added that the NEV would be used as more of an off-road means of transportation. “It’s efficient to run and (the beginning of) a long-range plan to build a fleet of electric vehicles.”
Using NEVs are “…a means to lower the city’s carbon footprint and gives (RFMU) the opportunity to lead by example,” said Noreen.
Like other companies and individuals nationwide, Noreen says RFMU wants to help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and reduce fossil fuel consumption.
With an attached bucket on the rear of the NEV, persons using it can transport chemicals, drive downtown to buy supplies or attend meetings at City Hall, move motors or machines at the plant in need of repairs or tune ups from one site to another, and more.
Noreen said the NEV also has a hitch and is a vehicle that can be used year round. For now its use is somewhat limited because the NEV doesn’t have a cab to enclose the driver and protect him from this winter’s bitterly cold temperatures.
“We’ll be purchasing a cab at a later date,” said Noreen. In the meantime, it’s being used as the weather will permit.”
Noreen says the treatment plant’s NEV is now the sixth one in the city. Two others are being used by UW-River Falls and three are owned by local residents.
He looks to begin the process of buying another NEV for RFMU sometime this summer.
“We now have a Ford Taurus that’s scheduled for replacement,” said Noreen. That Taurus will be replaced by a Ford Prius that’s already part of the fleet, and the Prius will be replaced by a new NEV.”
To learn more about the NEV, call Noreen at 715-426-3467.