The city of Upper Arlington in 2020 is expected to add electric vehicles to its fleet, a step a federal government agency has said could reduce auto emissions and lower operations costs.

The city's engineering division has received the go-ahead to lease two Nissan Leaf vehicles from Mike Albert Ltd.

Under the terms of the deal, which was approved unanimously by Upper Arlington City Council on Dec. 9, the city could lease the vehicles for up to 36 months and then would have the option to purchase them.

The monthly lease fee is $550.19 for each vehicle, meaning the city would spend a total of $39,613.68 to lease both for 36 months.

If the options to buy are taken, the city would spend a total of $64,000 for the two vehicles. That amount includes what would be spent for both vehicles during the 36-month leases.

"What we're doing is going through the Central Ohio Organization of Public Purchases, and this is the same way electric vehicles were purchased for Smart Columbus, Hilliard, Dublin, MORPC (the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission) and New Albany," said Jackie Thiel, Upper Arlington city engineer and public-services director. "(Mike Albert) is able to take advantage of the federal tax credit, and then they work directly with the (Nissan) factories to get the vehicles from there to give cities the best deals they can."

According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, electric vehicles -- or EVs -- reduce emissions that can contribute to smog and climate change because they don't produce vapor from burning fuel.

The agency's website also says the average cost per gallon of gasoline in Ohio is $2.60, and the average "eGallon" of electricity used by EVs costs about $1.08.

Thiel said she didn't have a specific date, but she expects the city to receive its EVs early next year.

The city also is expected to have two EV-charging stations installed by May 1.

One of the stations will be at the city's Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road. The other will go in at the city's Public Service Department building, 4100 Roberts Road.

They'll be the second and third charging stations located in the city, joining the one owned by Whole Foods Market outside the company's store at 1555 W. Lane Ave.

"(The city stations) are for public use and can be used for our electric vehicles, as well," Thiel said. "Each (city-owned) charging station has two ports.

"So you can charge four vehicles at each location."

Council unanimously approved the purchase of the two charging stations during its Dec. 9 meeting.

The stations are expected to cost a total of $377,726, but the city's portion is expected to be $77,726 because two grants, totaling $300,000, have been received from American Electric Power.

Following a 2016 Smart City Challenge issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Columbus was awarded two grants totaling $50 million to help connect people to employment, prepare workforces for new industries, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and implement EVs into municipal fleets.

Thiel said Upper Arlington is "just a little piece" of what's taking place across the region.

"By communities that keep adding charging stations, it further incentivizes people to purchase electric vehicles," she said.

The two stations the city will install are "fast-charging" stations that will enable EV users to charge their vehicle's batteries within 30 minutes, according to a Dec. 2 staff report from Thiel to council.

"I'm fully supportive of helping Smart Columbus achieve its goal of getting more electric vehicles in the community," Councilman Jim Lynch said. "I think it's great we're moving in this direction."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate