Quiet and Clean
This summer you may notice a slightly more "silent" police force. The Jackson Police Department has brought two all-electric motorcycles into its array of vehicles. These motorcycles mark the newest additions to the Town of Jackson's broad fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles which also includes hybrid cars, several trucks powered by compressed natural gas, and hybrid-electric buses operating at START.
The town has also recently replaced an aging 4-Wheeler with an all-electric Polaris Ranger EV. This vehicle is being used out at the Jackson Waster Water Treatment Plant for aerator maintenance, taking water samples, yard work, moving from building to building, and anything else that requires the use of a vehicle. The treatment plant is also hoping to soon install some extra solar panels dedicated to charging the Ranger. This would make it 100% green!
The vehicular workforce of today is constantly evolving. It hardly resembles what you might have seen operating at a municipality in years past.
More on our Electric Motorcycles...
The Town of Jackson purchased these law enforcement equipped motorcycles from Zero Motorcycles, Inc. a California based company that produced their first prototype in 2006. The motorcycle is 100% electric, has a regenerative braking system, and can go approximately 164 miles on one charge. Charging the vehicle with a regular outlet takes approximately 7 hours but the vehicle can also be charged in 1 hour utilizing the new Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations recently installed in the downtown area.
With today’s Green Certified Low Impact Hydro Electricity costs in Jackson, operating this vehicle will cost approximately half of one cent per mile, a significant reduction from a gas powered car or SUV currently utilized by the department. Officers average between 60 and 80 miles per 12 hour shift. This electric motorcycle is emission free and nearly silent.
The Jackson Town Council approved the FY2015 town budget in June and the purchase of the electric motorcycles for patrol duties was included. Mayor Mark Barron and the Jackson Town Council and staff have made great strides toward significant energy reductions through conservation, efficiency measures, and investments in renewable resources since 2006 with the signing of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. In July 2007 the Town contracted with Lower Valley Energy to use 100% of the electricity provided by a Green Certified Low Impact Hydro Electric facility on Strawberry Creek for all Town facilities as well as street and public parking lights. A challenge by Teton County resident and former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, in August 2007, to leverage the wealth in Teton County with the passion of its citizens and truly honor the Environmental Legacy of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks by creating in Jackson Hole a living example of energy sustainability was a significant event in Jackson’s energy efficiency journey. With the launch of 10x10 Jackson Hole, the Town of Jackson and Teton County combined their efforts to reduce the consumption of electricity and fossil fuels in all local government buildings, fleets and facilities.
The Jackson Police Department cut their gasoline use by 50% when the 10x10 effort was concluded as of December 31, 2010 from 2006 baseline. The Jackson Town Council and staff recently pledged to reduce electricity and fuels consumption 40% by 2020. The pressure remains on all town staff to meet the challenge and Chief of Police Todd Smith presented the EV motorcycle purchase as a tool to attain the 40x20. Mayor Barron commented, "This is just one more step out of many in our energy reduction efforts in Jackson. Fossil fuel consumption is a huge factor in our overall energy use and I'm very pleased with the creative ideas and efforts of everyone on staff in striving to reach these goals."
The electric motorcycles will be utilized May through October as the patrol vehicles assisting with parades, bicycle and foot races, parking and traffic enforcement during congested commuter times, and regular patrol duties. Chief Todd Smith is excited about the new addition to the fleet and commented, "This gives our team a unique way to contribute to overall fuel reductions at the Town. Our patrol officers are excited to start motorcycle patrols and talk about it with folks on the street." He added, "With our many national and global visitors to Jackson Hole, we're providing another intriguing way for Jackson to communicate the Town’s energy initiatives."
Larry Pardee, Public Works Director, added, "When it makes sense to change out a vehicle, we always look at more fuel efficient models and, more and more, the potential for all electric models to accomplish Town work. The Town's fleet currently contains a hybrid gas/electric Prius, hybrid diesel/electric buses, as well as 3 natural gas powered pickups."