Electric vehicle

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath, right, talks with Matt Zoll, one of the first Tucson residents to own a Nissan Leaf. The vehicle is completely electric and so can drive right past gas stations.

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Last week, the Town of Oro Valley unveiled its newly installed electric vehicle charging stations at Town Hall.

The Town received the four state-of-the-art stations thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Energy; there was no cost to the town. Oro Valley received about $20,000 of the $9 million grant.

“This is a step in the right direction because it is just another way we can show fiscal responsibility as well as being clean,” said Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath. “This is really just Oro Valley’s foresight into becoming innovative from a technical standpoint.”

About two years ago, Bayer Vella, the conservation and sustainability administrator for the town, was directed by the council to research what the town could do to be a model for cleaner and more efficient energy usage.

“A lot has been said about electric vehicles and their concern about polluting from the use from oil to the use of coal,” Vella said. “I think an electric vehicle provides an amazing opportunity in that when you offset the electrical charge with solar energy, the air gets cleaner, our open spaces get greener, and we lower our dependence on foreign oil.”

Additional charging stations are planned to be installed throughout Oro Valley and the region. A regional plan was developed through the efforts of the Tucson Regional Clean Cities Coalition and Ecotality. As a result, charging stations are now being installed at libraries, shopping centers, public offices, universities and churches.

“Electric vehicles, along with other energy-saving modes of transportation, are vital to the sustainability of our town,” said Hiremath. “Charging a car while doing business at Town Hall is just one of many ways the town leads with innovation.”

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