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Detroit Edison adds electric vans to its fleet

Transit Connect Electric Van
Transit Connect Electric Van

Detroit Edison is taking the next step toward an electric car future. The electricity provider will power some of its own fleet using electricity.

Some of Detroit Edison's service calls will now be made by technicians driving Ford Transit Connect electric vans.

The van's range is about 80 miles - that's enough for an average day's worth of calls, says Detroit Edison President Steven Kurmas.

 Kurmas says more of the vans may be added to the fleet later.

"The technology is developing very quickly and there are new models coming out almost every month it seems.  And we want to make sure we identify the perfect vehicle for the perfect application,  so we’re taking an approach of a slow but steady growth."

Even though the electric Transit is more expensive to purchase than the Transit that runs on gasoline, Kurmas says, "over the life of that vehicle --given the fact that we purchase gasoline -- and its maintenance costs are substantially reduced, we believe this is a more economical choice for us."

DTE and its mid-Michigan counterpart Consumers Energy also have Chevy Volts in their car fleets.

Utilities say buying and using electric vehicles will help them learn what they need to do to ease the nation's transition to electrified transportation. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.