Bibb gets 8 new all-electric utility rides

rmanley@macon.comNovember 20, 2012 

Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart climbed behind the wheel of the Bad Boy Movers utility vehicle -- sleek and black and “street legal,” with shiny chrome rims -- and eased it over the curb at the county courthouse, then took off for a test drive on Mulberry Street.

Instead of the roaring motor one might expect, the all-electric vehicle whirred away with hardly a sound. And, more importantly, with zero emissions.

Unveiled at a news conference Tuesday, the cart is one of eight the county acquired with a grant through a federal program with a really long name: the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. Two of the vehicles, which can reach top speeds of 25 mph, are already in use at Lake Tobesofkee. One will be used around the courthouse area, while the others likely will be used by the recreation department.

The purchase is an effort by the county’s Green Team initiative, which has led projects ranging from phone book recycling to replacing aging water heaters in fire stations with solar-powered models.

By retrofitting the light fixtures at the courthouse, the Green Team has saved the county a lot of green -- more than $280,000 in energy costs since September 2008.

Hart praised the team’s work to improve quality of life through environmental-efficient strategies while paving the way for new local policies “that just make smart economic sense.”

The all-electric carts come with a stipulation: The county must retire two high-emissions vehicles. An IT van and a truck used at Tobesofkee -- both older models in need of repair -- have been picked to be parked. The county must document -- with photos -- that four holes are strategically drilled into each engine to ensure they’re off the road for good.

Back from his spin around the block, Hart called the electric ride “a great drive.”

“It’s got a little pep to it,” he said. “It’ll be great for the lake.”

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.

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