The Somerset County Transportation Division announced the deployment of three new electric (EV) paratransit vehicles which began carrying passengers in July.
Somerset County is the first county in the state to use EV vehicles for community transit, according to a release through the county.
The Somerset County Transportation Division estimates that the three new electric paratransit vehicles will reduce annual carbon emissions by approximately 30 metric tons while saving the county approximately $20,000 per year in fuel and maintenance.
“We are thrilled to acquire these new electric accessible vehicles to help with transportation services to Somerset County seniors and residents with disabilities,” said Commissioner Melonie Marano, liaison to Transportation. “These and future EV vehicles in Somerset County’s fleet not only help us to meet both Governor [Phil] Murphy’s electric vehicle initiative and President [Joe] Biden’s no or low vehicle emissions plan, but it also helps us reduce our carbon footprint.”
The cost of the three new electric vehicles is $97,000, compared to a cost of $105,000 to $110,000 for the types of gasoline powered vehicles the county previously used. Somerset County will be saving about $10,000 on the initial vehicle cost, totaling $30,000 for this round of buses. This puts the combined savings in the first year alone of $50,000 and continued annual savings in the tens of thousands of dollars.
“Advocating for and implementing energy efficiency and conservation solutions is important to all of us in Somerset County,” said Commissioner Paul Drake, long-time member of the Energy Council. “This is an amazing opportunity to continue to make the county sustainable and create a cleaner future while reducing costs for our residents.”
New Jersey Transit lauded Somerset County’s move into electric vehicles in their S-RIDES newsletter sent to its county partners: “Somerset County has long been recognized for their commitment to their community transportation operations serving senior citizens, people with disabilities, and the general public. By deploying the next evolution of transportation, Somerset County further demonstrates this commitment to the population it serves. With the rise in concerns about climate change and the need to transition from traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles, the introduction of electric vehicles marks a turning point in the county’s efforts to embrace clean energy solutions.”
For more information, contact Somerset County Transportation at (908) 231-7115.