Albuquerque goes electric

By Melinda Smith, Chapter Legislative Co-Chair

On a warm September morning, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller drove a shiny new blue Chevy Bolt into Civic Plaza, accompanied by five Global Warming Express (GWE) members.

The kids scurried out of the car and the mayor demonstrated how to plug the car into a normal socket. Keller said it would be charged up in just a few hours. The range of the new Bolt is 238 miles on a single charge. The Chevy is the first step in implementing the mayor’s Executive Instruction to electrify its fleet.

Nola, a 9-year-old member of GWE in Albuquerque, took the podium at the press conference that followed. She thanked Mayor Keller for his past efforts to fight climate change — supporting the ban on single-use plastic bags and installing solar panels at the Zoo, the Biopark and other buildings.

Nola then thanked Mayer Keller for his efforts to help Albuquerque reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by using electric cars. “These are great steps to a cleaner Albuquerque and world,” Nola said before introducing the mayor.

Keller thanked the Sierra Club and 350 New Mexico for their advocacy in transitioning to electric vehicles, saying, “We can’t afford to wait for someone else to take the kind of bold action on climate change we need to protect our community.”

The city plans to transition 63% of its eligible light-duty vehicles to electric or hybrid electric as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Climate Cities Challenge. By the end of 2020, Albuquerque will transition 50 vehicles.

The Executive Instruction will add to that commitment, taking additional gas-powered vehicles off the road as they come up for replacement or when new vehicles are purchased. The result will be a city fleet in which every eligible gas vehicle is replaced by low or no-emissions vehicles. This will reduce carbon emissions, save taxpayer money on fuel, improve Albuquerque’s air quality and public health outcomes, and reduce the city’s reliance on fossil fuels.

At the event, Keller went to an easel next to the podium and with GWE students looking on, signed a mock-up of the Executive Instruction to shift all eligible vehicles to electric, hybrid, and alternative low-emission fuels.

Keller’s office issued a statement saying: “Technology of electric, hybrid, and alternative-fuel vehicles has steadily improved, and the time has come to turn the page on gas-powered cars and trucks.”

Photo by Melinda Smith

Albuquerque goes electric