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City of Tacoma working to reduce carbon pollution through electric vehicles

The City of Tacoma General Government and Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) have teamed up to reduce carbon pollution – and they’ll do it through electric vehicles (EVs). Both organizations have committed to increasing their own EV fleets and educating the community about the benefits of EVs, and the City will help make EVs even more affordable and charging more accessible.

“Our alignment with the City of Tacoma in environmental stewardship sends an important message to employees, customers, and residents,” said Don Ashmore, TPU fleet manager. “It says we, as a City, are committed to bettering the lives of our customers and residents and to improving the environment we all share.”

Educating the Community About EVs

On Saturday, Sept. 15, drivers interested in learning more about electric cars will have an opportunity to test drive a variety of full-battery electric cars, plug-in hybrid electric cars and electric bikes. Electric vehicle experts will also be available to answer questions. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at LeMay–America’s Car Museum, 2702 E D St in Tacoma.

Test drives will be first-come, first served. Drivers must be 21 years of age to participate, must have a valid driver’s license and show proof of valid insurance. This Ride and Drive event is sponsored by a partnership between Environmental Services and Tacoma Power, along with Puget Sound Energy.

People interested in learning EV basics can attend a free Electric Vehicle 101 workshop this fall. The workshops, will help attendees understand how EVs fit into lifestyle and budget, their impact on the environment, the experience of driving and charging an EV, and incentive and financing options.

To learn more about the Ride and Drive event and the 101 Workshops, visit MyTPU.org/EVs.

Commitment to Purchasing EVs

The City and TPU signed the West Coast Electric Fleet pledge at the Highway level, indicating a commitment by fleet managers for at least 3 percent of all new passenger car replacement purchases to be zero emission vehicles, and agreeing to revisit the pledge annually to consider a higher procurement goal.

In 2016, the City of Tacoma, including general government and TPU, developed an Environmental Action Plan that lays out clear milestones of environmental stewardship between now and the year 2020.

“By signing this pledge, our top leaders are demonstrating the City’s alignment and commitment to the Environmental Action Plan and to our environment,” Ashmore said.

Offering Programs to Make EVs More Affordable

General Government will launch an EV discount program Saturday, Sept. 15 that will run through the end of November or until supplies last. People who participate in the program will receive a dealer discount of up to $3,000 on the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle at select dealers in Tacoma. Visit cityoftacoma.org/electricvehiclediscount and sign up to get more information about the program. 

“We are thrilled to be working together with local dealerships on this groundbreaking program intended to help make electric vehicle ownership affordable,” said Kristi Lynett of the City’s Environmental Services department. “For the first time in our state, this program will provide people with an exciting opportunity to receive a significant discount on an electric vehicle that will reduce carbon pollution and contribute to a healthier urban environment.”

Making Charging Accessible

This news comes just weeks after TPU and the City’s Environmental Services Department helped secure a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation to fund two iconic Level 3 EVgo fast chargers at LeMay-America’s Car Museum, providing a 30 minute or less charging option along what is known as the West Coast Electric Highway.

“We want to electrify every mode of transportation in the state and these new charging stations help us get closer to that goal,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Currently, we have 33,000 EVs on the road and my Results Washington goal is to increase that number to 50,000 EVs by 2020. This project is a great example of what we can do when different groups collaborate.”

For more information about electric cars, discount programs, available charging stations within the City of Tacoma and opportunities to learn more, visit cityoftacoma.org/electricvehicles.

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