Niles city council votes against purchase of electric pickup trucks

Published 9:00 am Thursday, December 1, 2022

NILES — Electric vehicles were the topic at hand during Monday’s Niles City Council meeting.

The council voted unanimously against approving the emergency purchase of two 2023 Ford Lightning EV pickup trucks for the Utilities Department, totaling $129,744.

According to Utilities Department Director Jeff Dunlap, the department has been on the waiting list for several years to purchase electric vehicles for its fleet. Through fleet rotation, the new vehicles would have allowed the city to retire a 1997 Chevrolet pickup and a 2008 Ford Ranger pickup.

Councilmember John DiCostanzo cited skepticism in the long-term value of current electric vehicles and state pressure as the main reason he voted against the purchase.

“I personally have concerns from what I’ve read about electric vehicles right now,” he said. “The batteries probably aren’t going to last the period of time that one of our gasoline pickup trucks lasts. It’s kind of uncertain what the cost of replacing one of those batteries will be; maybe it’s five years down the road or seven years, so it could end up being an expensive experiment.”

Dunlap said the city has already begun installing a charging station at the Service Center,, a project subsidized by Ford. It will be one of four located in the city that can be used by the public.

Dunlap said he will pursue the purchase of gas-powered vehicles for the department’s fleet.

In addition, city council:

  • Accepted the quote from RS Technical Services, Inc. of Lowell, Michigan for th purchase of a GR150-1 and a GR300HA chemical scale with installation in the amount of $8,756.91 to be charged to the Water Division Fund.
  • Accepted the quote from Ostrander Roofing of Belding, Michigan for the fully reinforced option for the Grit and Screen Building Roof Restoration project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant in

the amount of $78,500 to be charged to the Wastewater Buildings and Building Equipment – New Fund.

  • Accepted the quote of up to $243,365 plus $83,400 in accessories from Altan Equipment Company of Byron Center, MI under the Sourcewell Cooperative Purchasing Program for a

Volvo Wheeled Excavator for use by the Utilities Department Water Division with the expense falling under the division’s Capital Plan.