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Transportation

Aug. 30, 2011

Nation’s first all-electric-vehicle commuting program kicks off in Seattle

Metro’s electric-vehicle Metropool program debuts at Seattle Children’s Hospital


The nation’s first electric-vehicle vanpools quietly fired up their engines at Seattle Children’s Hospital today, as four Nissan LEAF cars were added to the commute options for Children’s employees as part of King County’s new “Metropool.”

These electric vehicles are joining King County Metro Transit’s vanpool fleet – the largest public vanpool program in the United States.

“Sharing a ride to work is an environmentally healthy way to commute, and Seattle Children’s employees just got greener by signing up for Metro new electric-vehicle vanpools,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “King County is adding alternative fuel vehicles to its fleet, specifically electric vehicles, to cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions.”

Constantine said Metro’s purchase of these cars will enhance what is already one of the cleanest and greenest transit systems in North America. Metro’s Rideshare Operations has committed to purchasing 20 Nissan LEAF vehicles to pilot electric-vehicle technology in a commuter application called “Metropool.” The agency will coordinate the installation of charging stations at major employer sites and multi-modal transportation hubs such as park-and-rides and ferry terminals.

The first phase of the initiative involves Children’s employees using four of the program’s zero-emission cars. ECOtality’s Blink charging stations have been installed on the Children’s campus to support the program.

“Everyday 60 percent of Seattle Children’s staff take alternative commutes to work, many of them in vanpools. Alternative commutes taken by our employees since September of 2009 have kept almost nine million pounds of carbon emissions out of the air,” said Lisa Brandenburg, Chief Administrative Officer at Seattle Children’s. “By adding these zero emission all-electric Nissan LEAF Metropool vehicles to our vanpool program, we will be able to reduce Seattle Children’s carbon footprint even further.”

The LEAF is a 100-percent electric, no gas, no tailpipe, no emissions vehicle with an estimated driving range of 100 miles on a single charge. It seats five people.

“King County’s goal is to work with local governments, businesses, and residents to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the region to 80 percent below 2007 levels by 2050,” said Metropolitan King County Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Our partnership with Seattle Children’s and ECOtality will help us reach our goal even faster.”

ECOtality’s Blink Network of charging stations provides drivers of electric vehicles with the freedom to travel and charge at Blink commercial locations along the way. They will be able to charge at any Blink station through a variety of options including interoperable RFID cards, smartphone applications, and mobile phone and credit card based payment options.

 

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