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Hybrid vehicles finding official jobs

In a nod to the Town of Truckee’s green goals and soaring gas prices, the Truckee Police Department hopes to add a gas-electric hybrid vehicle to its fleet.

On Thursday, the Truckee town council approved an application by the police department to the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District for a $29,000 grant to purchase a 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid Vehicle. If the vehicle is purchased, the department will use it as its primary staff vehicle, but not as a patrol car.

“We would use it for everyday court runs, going to schools, training, and for our community service officers,” said Police Chief Scott Berry. “We could easily put 20,000 miles a year on it, and that would be quite a lot of savings.”



He said officers could use it for trips to western Nevada County and to training courses around the state, rolling up a lot of miles, but said the hybrid car isn’t big enough for patrol duty.

“It’s not heavy enough to do the job on the street. It’s not big enough for the equipment or people [that] patrol vehicles need to carry,” Berry said.



He said the police department decided to acquire the car after using the town’s Ford Escape Hybrid, which was purchased with a similar grant by Truckee Recycling Coordinator Nichole Dorr.

Dorr said she submitted the grant to purchase the hybrid last fall, and the town has put about 10,000 miles on the vehicle since mid-November.

“The police have used it pretty substantially, and decided it was a good vehicle for some of their needs,” Dorr said.

She said the hybrid car ” painted an eye-catching green ” helps the town promote the Keep Truckee Green program, and is used to haul a recycling trailer, and as a display for the public to check out the technology.

Dorr said the town’s hybrid has been averaging 26 to 27 miles per gallon (compared to 29 to 31 mpg that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates), but said she thinks the car’s studded tires for winter driving are partially to blame.

“It has definitely met my expectations, and the public seems to enjoy it,” Dorr said.

According to town staff reports, the Ford Escape Hybrid is a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle, and the department will document the performance, maintenance, mileage per month, fuel usage, and vehicle usage to track the success of the program.


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