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Larchmont Receives its First Electric Vehicle through NY Power Authority's Green Zones Program

Connie Cullen

October 4, 2008


LARCHMONT—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) today announced that, through its Green Zones Program, the Village of Larchmont in Westchester County has received its first “green” vehicle which will be powered by a new solar panel project.

As part of the Village’s festivities on Saturday celebrating the grand opening of the newly-redesigned Flint Park, the new GEM eL electric vehicle was on display and taken for demonstration drives by local officials.

“The Power Authority is pleased to collaborate with the Village of Larchmont, both in the Green Zones electric vehicle project and with the installation of a new solar panel roof,” said Gil C. Quiniones, chief operating officer, NYPA. “It is critically important that we continue to find ways to combine clean energy technologies with renewable energy sources in advancement of Governor Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force goals.”

“On this special day, when we are focused on improving outdoor activities at Flint Park, we have the opportunity to recognize another Village of Larchmont commitment to improving the environment with the first official use of a Power Authority Green Zones electric vehicle at today’s celebration,” said Elizabeth N. Feld, mayor, Village of Larchmont. 

“Going even further in Larchmont’s efforts to go ‘green,’ this clean-running vehicle will be powered by electricity produced by the solar energy system soon to be installed atop the village public works garage,” said Anne McAndrews, trustee, Village of Larchmont. “These efforts will lower emissions for cleaner air and save taxpayer dollars by reducing the use of diesel and gas fuels.”  

The Village of Larchmont took delivery this week of its first all-electric vehicle, a GEM eL, manufactured by Global Electric Motorcars, a Chrysler company located in North Dakota.  The GEM eL is an off-road utility vehicle powered by electricity for quiet operation. The village replaced a gas-powered vehicle with the GEM eL and plans to use it for maintenance work in Flint Park.  It holds two workers, has a 6-foot flatbed and a 700-pound cargo capacity.  The GEM eL’s six 12-volt maintenance-free lead acid batteries are charged using regular household electric current (110 volts), without any special adapter needed, and regenerative braking also helps charge the vehicle when in use.

When fully charged, the 12 horsepower, front-wheel drive GEM eL can attain a top speed of 25 miles per hour and has a range of 30 miles allowing it to service park areas with no tailpipe emissions.  By using electricity instead of gas, the GEM eL will reduce CO2 emissions by over a quarter ton annually. 

The goal of the NYPA Green Zones Program is to replace gas and diesel vehicles and equipment with models run by electricity. Statewide, more than 20 Green Zones communities have been established since NYPA began the program in 2005. To date, over 50 vehicles have been replaced.

The GEM eL cost about $16,000.  It was paid for using a $25,000 matching NYPA Green Zones grant that provides half of the funds towards purchase of one or more electric vehicles.  The Village of Larchmont will match the NYPA funding to cover the GEM eL and the expected purchase of two other all-electric vehicles in the near future.

The Village of Larchmont is installing, also with NYPA assistance, a solar photovoltaic project on the roof of the public works garage at 2015 Boston Post Road which is also where the GEM eL will be housed.  Installation is scheduled to begin shortly and be completed by year-end.  The solar panel system will generate six kilowatts at peak power (enough power to supply about two homes based on national averages) to meet the electric needs of the building and also charge the GEM eL.  It is expected to generate up to 7,200 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

The Village of Larchmont received $75,000 to finance the solar panel installation. The grant is financed by New York State’s share of Petroleum Overcharge Restitution (POCR) funds, the proceeds of court settlements relating to oil company violations of federal price controls in the 1970s and 1980s. In New York State, the Power Authority administers the funds, which have been earmarked to help finance energy efficiency and clean energy technology projects at schools and other public buildings.

To date, the Power Authority has installed about 25 solar photovoltaic projects at various locations in New York State.  The locations include solar projects at such Westchester County locations as the County Medical Center Laboratory and Research Building in Valhalla; the Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Career Services, also in Valhalla; the County Wastewater Treatment Plant in Yonkers; White Plains High School; the Mildred E. Strang Middle School in Yorktown Heights; and NYPA’s own main administrative office building in White Plains.

 About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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