Seattle officials say they've scrounged up the money to purchase nearly three dozen electric vehicles, but at $30,000-plus a pop, the 35 Nissan Leafs will set the city back more than $1 million by the end of 2012.
The city says the Leafs will join its regular fleet of vehicles and that since electric autos use no gas or motor oil and rarely need maintenance, the battery-powered hatchbacks will be significantly cheaper to operate than conventional vehicles. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told KIROTV that, "We're going to save $4,000 over the cost of a typical vehicle in the fleet."
At a time when the city is short on cash, some residents question the purchase. Government officials say that the city pays approximately $17,500 for a gasoline-fueled, compact sedan and had to fork over $30,500 per Leaf. Still, McGinn says the decision to buy Leafs was the right one, stating "Part of the reason we've got budget problems in this city is because we've made shortsighted decisions in the past and didn't think about the long-term."