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Milwaukee city fleet to transition from gas vehicles to electric

By Julia Marshall,


The City of Milwaukee's vehicle fleet will slowly transition from gas vehicles to electric after the Common Council passed an ordinance Tuesday night.

The ordinance, sponsored by Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, is an effort to reduce fuel burning and increase the use of vehicles powered by clean energy sources.

Under the ordinance, the city must buy electric or hybrid vehicles when adding or replacing vehicles in the city's fleet. The city will also encourage individuals, businesses, and other levels of government to do the same.

The ordinance passed in the Common Council Tuesday night, with a unanimous vote. You can read the full ordinance here.

Related: Wisconsin receives financing for electric vehicle network

The news comes less than a year after Wisconsin received financing for an electric vehicle network. New charging stations arrived in Oak Creek, and across the state.

Back in September 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved $900 million for 35 states. The goal is to cover 53,000 miles of highway with a fast and reliable charging network.

When TMJ4 counted back in 2022, Wisconsin had 956 public charging stations across the state. Compare that with Minnesota which has 1,282, Michigan which has 2,319, and Illinois which has 2,444.

This is as electric and hybrid vehicle registrations increase at a high rate.

According to a September 2022 report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the registration of electric and hybrid vehicles doubled in less than a decade.

The report says the total number of electric vehicle registrations is more than 27 times greater than in 2013. In 2013, there were just 319 registered electric vehicles in Wisconsin. As of 2021, there are nearly 10,000 statewide.

Among those electric vehicles were new Milwaukee County Transit buses.

Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) installed its first charging station for battery-electric buses at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa in September. The charging station is part of Milwaukee County's East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. MCTS's nine-mile line is scheduled to begin service in June 2023 and will go through downtown Milwaukee, the city's Near West Side, Marquette University, Wauwatosa, and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

Eleven electric buses will be a part of the BRT line. The city of Racine also got new electric buses back in 2022.

According to the city's transit department, 25% of Racine's bus fleet is now electrified.

“The more we can electrify our fleets and buses and individual cars, the more we will be able to say gasoline is not the be-all-end-all from us to get from point A to point B," Gov. Evers said. "This is a step in the right direction."

At the end of 2021, Wisconsin was ranked 35th in the country for per-capita electric vehicle registrations. According to the BizJournal, the top five in the U.S. were California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Most Midwest states ranked similarly to Wisconsin, but Illinois and Minnesota were ranked higher.

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