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Saanich purchases green police car

Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen stands beside the police department
Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen stands beside the police department's newest fleet vehicle – a Mitsubishi i-MiEV. It's the first fully electric vehicle for the department. The car will be used by civilian employees who travel between the Saanich police station and the court in downtown Victoria.
— image credit: Kyle Slavin/News staff

While a typical Saanich police cruiser is white with blue and yellow stripes, the newest car in the department's fleet is 100 per cent green.

The department last week acquired an electric vehicle – a 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV – partially paid for through the municipality's carbon trust fund.

But the $37,000 hatchback isn't going to be used for pulling over speeders on the Pat Bay Highway.

"We won't see our frontline vehicles [the Ford Crown Victorias] replaced by something like this any time soon," said Sgt. Dean Jantzen. "Those are purpose-built vehicles. … There are certain requirements the frontline vehicles must meet."

The car will be used by civilian members of the department who make multiple administrative runs each day to the law courts in downtown Victoria.

A portion of the bill – $10,000 – came from Saanich's carbon neutral reserve fund, which departments pay into on an annual basis to offset carbon emissions. Another $5,000 of it was paid for by a provincial incentive program to buy green.

Sustainability co-ordinator Mark Boysen says the vehicle should pay for itself through cost savings within five years. He said it costs ten times more, per kilometre, to drive a gas-powered vehicle.

The electric car, Jantzen said, also won't have to undergo the same maintenance requirements as gas vehicles – no oil changes, no tune-ups.

He said the department is currently looking at replacing the frontline cruisers as well, moving away from the Crown Victorias. No decision has been made on which vehicles the department is interested in purchasing.

A charging station also had to be built at the back of the police station, at a cost of $1,500.

The i-MiEV is expected to be able to travel 155 kilometres on a single charge, at a top speed of 130 km/h.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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