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A Seattle Streetcar on Capitol Hill's Broadway. (Kurt Schlosser / GeekWire)
A Seattle Streetcar on Capitol Hill’s Broadway. According to the mayor’s office, one of the components of the Drive Clean Seattle plan is continued investment in electrified transit. (Kurt Schlosser / GeekWire)

Mayor Ed Murray attempted to electrify the Climate Leadership Conference in Seattle in more ways than one on Thursday with a new transportation initiative called Drive Clean Seattle. The aim is to increase and promote the use of electric vehicles in the city.

Ed Murray
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

“Drive Clean Seattle is an aggressive plan to electrify our transportation at a broad scale,” Murray was quoted as saying in a news release, which billed the plan as among the most comprehensive in the nation.

“We will work with residents, transit agencies, and businesses to promote the use of Seattle City Light’s carbon neutral electricity to move around the city,” Murray said. “Transportation is Seattle’s leading source of greenhouse gases and this plan will allow us to work aggressively to reduce climate impacts.”

The mayor’s plan spelled out four specific actions and goals the city will be focusing on:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the City of Seattle’s fleet of vehicles by 50 percent by 2025. The use of cleaner fuels, more efficient vehicles and investment in electric vehicles is stressed.
  • Enable and support the adoption of 15,000 electric vehicles by 2025. The city will aim to triple the number of publicly available DC Fast Chargers throughout Seattle. Seattle City Light will also launch a pilot project to support residential charging stations in homes through innovative on-bill repayment and time-of-day pricing.
  • Improve air quality through the use of electric transit and other modes of shared transportation in busy transit corridors.
  • Keep fuel dollars in the community by developing a strategy to help businesses, organizations, and residents participate in the electrified transportation economy. Align city regulations, policies, codes, and plans to encourage electric vehicles and private sector investment in cleaner transportation choices.
Seattle EV charging
A City of Seattle electric vehicle at a charging station. (Kristi McClean via seattle.gov)

According to the Drive Clean page on the city’s Office of Sustainability and Environment website, 43 all-electric vehicles have replaced less efficient vehicles since 2011. Over 7,600 gallons of fuel were saved as a result of using EVs to drive 343,833 miles, the website points out.

“Transportation is the largest source of climate and air pollution in Seattle. Air quality is a major environmental justice issue here,” said Craig Kenworthy, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in the news release. “Getting cleaner vehicles on our roads will support better health outcomes for some of our most vulnerable residents in Seattle.”

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