Regina unveils metropolis fleet’s 1st electrical car as a part of push to achieve net-zero objectives

Regina unveiled the first electric vehicle for its municipal fleet as the city works to do its part in fighting climate change. 

The new Ford F-150 Lightning will be used in the city’s parks and roadways sectors as officials try to figure out how it can best reduce carbon emissions. 

Mayor Sandra Masters was on hand for the unveiling on Friday, saying that it’s important for municipalities and governments to show they are committed to reducing carbon emissions. 

“We must demonstrate that leadership through the decisions we make and the actions we take,” she said on Friday. 

The F-150 Lightning features a blue and electric-themed City of Regina decal.

However, not every electric vehicle will sport the colourful logo as the city continues to develop how it will differentiate between vehicles equipped with combustion engines and its new electrified equipment. 

The City of Regina has introduced a Ford F-150 Lightning as its first electric vehicle. The truck will be used in the parks and roadway department. (Alexander Quon/CBC News)

Friday’s unveiling is among the latest efforts in a province where residents will have noticed an increase in their bank accounts Friday.

That’s due to the arrival of a climate action incentive payment doled out by the federal government to residents of the four provinces where federal carbon pricing is in effect: Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

1st step of city’s energy and sustainability framework

Regina’s commitment to combating climate change has come in the form of the Energy & Sustainability Framework, which was endorsed by city council earlier this year. 

The framework lays out a plan to become a renewable, net-zero carbon emission community by 2050.

It’s supposed to be achieved through seven significant actions, one of which is the transition to low-emission vehicles such as hybrids or electrics. 

According to the framework, the City of Regina is supposed to halt purchases of non-electric vehicles for industrial, commercial and institutional use by 2022.

The goal is for 80 per cent of its vehicles in those categories to be electric by 2025. 

The city will begin electrifying its transit fleet in 2024, and will begin purchasing medium and heavy duty trucks that are either electric or hydrogen-fuelled by 2035. 

The transit fleet is expected to be fully electric by 2039, with its medium and heavy duty trucks the same by 2045. 

The infrastructure to support those vehicles is coming along as well, with the technology necessary to support larger commercial vehicles likely being purchased next year.

Despite the commitment, Mayor Sandra Masters admits that the city is facing challenges in reaching its goals due to the state of the global economy. 

“We’re experiencing the same things here that everyone else. There are supply chain issues just in terms of the manufacturing of [batteries],” she said.

“So I think what’s comes next is a couple hybrids, and then they’ll do some assessment on what’s working best for which jobs.” 

Alongside the electric truck, Masters said the city has purchased three new electric ice resurfacers. 

What about Saskatoon?

Unlike Regina, Saskatoon is not aiming for net-zero emissions.

Instead, its climate action plan sets a target of reducing emissions to 80 per cent below its 2014 levels by 2050.

Saskatoon’s goal is to have 100 per cent of its municipal fleet electrified by 2030, which would produce a reduction of 77,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050. 

On Friday, the City of Saskatoon confirmed it introduced four electric vehicles to its fleet as part of a pilot in March 2021. 

The pilot remains ongoing and is being used to determine the impact of electric vehicles on the grid, greenhouse gas emissions, maintenance costs and functionality compared to regular fuel-powered vehicles, the city said in a statement.

The city also has the goal of getting its municipal transit fleet to be 100 per cent electric by 2030.

It has already conducted a one-year trial program with an electric bus, which ran from September 2020 to September 2021. 

The pilot was considered a success and Saskatoon Transit is currently evaluating bid submissions for the supply of two battery powered electric buses. 

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