PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council unanimously passed Transportation Electrification Action Plan, known as the "EV Roadmap" on Wednesday.
The goal is to place 280,000 city electric vehicles (EVs) on the streets by the year 2030.
Mayor Kate Gallego gathered with city leaders at the Nikola Battery and Electric Vehicle Plant in Phoenix. The mayor thanked Nikola for its partnership in the EV rollout.
"You are one of the reasons that Phoenix has been called the New Motor City! The Electric Motor City," Gallego said.
Gallego addressed the scale and scope of the EV Roadmap.
"It's an ambitious plan, and will have many partners along the way," she said.
City Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari is leading the city's effort, serving as chairperson for the Mayor's Electric Vehicle Committee.
Ansari touted the benefits of an all-EV fleet, saying EVs are cheaper to run and maintain than gas vehicles and better for health.
"Gas-powered vehicles are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in the City of Phoenix," she said.
Ansari outlined the plan's three focus areas: "Equity, accelerating public adoption of electric vehicles, and the city leading by example," she said.
Ansair also talked about some of the challenges of the EV rollout, including infrastructure, adding more charging stations, and dealing with the summer conditions here in Phoenix.
"We do need to do testing in the City of Phoenix. We know we have some challenges when it comes to the heat," she said.
When pressed on the issue, both Ansari and the mayor spoke about the issues with electric batteries, known to lose charge more quickly in extreme heat.
"Early electric vehicles had challenges with their batteries in our summer, there have been significant advances since then," Mayor Gallego said.
Dozens of electric vehicle owners gathered at the Tesla supercharging station at the Biltmore Fashion Park off Camelback Road in Phoenix.
Tesla driver Yuliya Farnoush says she absolutely notices a difference in charge life during the heat of the summer.
"I need to charge my car more often because of the heat," Farnoush said.
"I have to increase the times that I come to charge my car by probably two times," she added. "I assume this is because of the heat but I'm not an expert in this area," she said.
Farnoush said it takes about an hour and a half to fully charge her car, and costs about $20. She said she would really like to see more charging stations and infrastructure built to support electric vehicles.
Councilwoman Ansari also addressed the heat issue.
"The bigger challenge comes with the buses and the larger heavy-duty vehicles," Ansari said.
Mayor Gallego said the city is committed to conducting a thorough testing program before fully launching its EV fleet.
"We are going to test," she said. "We may start out putting electric buses on some of the shorter trips and see how they perform," Gallego said.
Ansari said they are closely following other hot weather cities like Miami, which has already launched an electric vehicle program with some success. She says Phoenix is committed to bolstering its electric vehicle infrastructure, adding more charging stations, and testing its vehicles for a successful EV rollout.
"We will be testing to make sure that the range works here in Phoenix," she said. "I want to emphasize this is technology that is improving rapidly."