- Columbus, OH will spend $2 million on a lease-to-own deal for 93 electric vehicles (EVs) for use by its code enforcement, facilities management, police and fire departments, as reported by Columbus Business First. The city ordered 72 Nissan Leafs, 20 Ford Fusions and a Chevy Bolt.
- City income taxes will cover just over $1.7 million of the deal, while $273,000 will come from the $10 million grant the city won from philanthropy company Vulcan in 2016 as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.
- The city is also looking to add 86 new charging stations to three city-owned sites, utilizing $100,000 from the Vulcan grant, as reported by Columbus Business First.
After altering its plans on how it would spend its grant money from the 2016 Smart Cities Challenge, these developments represent Columbus’ first major investments in smart technology.
In remarks to her City Council colleagues during the Nov. 20, 2017 meeting, Council Member Priscilla Tyson said the investment in smart transportation would help the city’s environment, keeping consistent with the challenge it won.
"The purpose of the Smart City Challenge is to allow the city to lay a practical path to replacing carbon-based fuel consumption through critical service improvement that increases safety, reduces carbon emissions and enhances mobility," she said.
This tangible progress builds on a step the city took earlier this month in issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for IT firms to build the Smart Columbus Operating System (SCOS), which will power the city's mobility initiatives and capture data on traffic.
In addition, the terms of the deal shows fiscal restraint. In the meeting, city finance director Joe Lombardi said it will save Columbus $72,000 to acquire the vehicles through the lease-to-own deal, thanks to a system of federal credits being passed down. He called the financing solution alone a "unique situation for the city of Columbus."