The town for the first time is purchasing electric vehicles or “EVs” for its municipal fleet, officials said Tuesday.
The two 2023 Chevy Bolts that New Canaan is purchasing from New Canaan’s Karl Chevrolet will be used by multiple members of all Land Use Departments at Town Hall, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.
Those include Planning & Zoning, Inland Wetlands, Health, Engineering and the Assessor, Mann told the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.
“It will be our first in town,” Mann said during the meeting. “So it will be a nice place to start with our Land Use departments.”
First Selectman Kevin Moyinhan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the $65,844 contract with Karl Chevy.
They are replacing old police vehicles that were shifted to the municipal fleet after exceeding their useful lives, Mann said. Those vehicles, now nearly 20 years old, will be used for scrap and sold for $500, he said.
The town will install an EV charging station in the Locust Avenue Lot for the new Bolts, he said.
Asked whether that station would be available for public use, Mann said, “No they will be for us to charge the vehicles so that we have a place to charge them.”
Referring to the parking lot behind Town Hall, he said, “The ones back here would be for anyone’s use at that point in time. The ones in the Locust Lot would be for these two vehicles themselves. If they are unneeded we can move them to the side and they [members of the public] can charge for a time. We will do that, as well. They won’t need to be charged 24/7 but we need to have a place to charge them.”
New Canaan—which only has one charging station at Morse Court and three at Karl Chevrolet (that are for evening and weekend use)—has talked about creating more of the stations for years.
Progress has been slow.
Concerned that New Canaan is lagging behind other towns, the Parking Commission recommended adding at least two more stations nearly two years ago. The Commission has also recommended that town’s zoning regulations be updated to require developers building multi-unit housing to set aside a percentage of parking spaces for electric vehicles, with charging units provided.
The Board of Selectmen earlier this year approved a contract to install a “dual pole level 2 charger,” or two charging stations, in the Town Hall parking lot. Also this past spring, a group of citizens called on the selectmen to establish a formal committee to address the shortage.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the selectmen asked Mann whether the Board of Education has any EVs in its own fleet (not to his knowledge), whether the new Bolts will be used daily (yes, among the various departments), when the EVs are expected to arrive, given the high demand for vehicles from Karl Chevy (in December and January), what the mileage is (about 300), and who is leading the town’s effort to get more EV charging stations in New Canaan (Public Works).
Mann said the town is looking to add a second charging station at Morse Court, in addition to adding the dual station at the Town Hall parking lot, the municipal fleet station Locust Lot and possibly one more at the Park Street Lot. There’s also a possibility of putting the charging stations at the public schools for use by faculty and staff.
Asked by Williams whether the town would consider installing an EV charging station in public parks, Mann said it may not be good practice, because people already are parking for too long at places like Mead Park.
Last fall, town officials said they were working toward adding electric vehicles to the municipal fleet as part of its effort to achieve silver accreditation in the Sustainable CT program, which offers recognition and grants to towns that engage in a range of sustainability initiatives that meet state standards.