HUDSON – Though Hudson Town Meeting voters ultimately approved an initial plan to purchase traditional gas powered vehicles, the topic prompted discussion Nov. 15 as some voters expressed interest in purchasing electric vehicles.
“There is a global climate crisis going on at this time, as we all probably know, to which the only [choice] is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Tina Grosowsky.
Part of the plan requested spending $208,000 on three new Hudson Police Department cruisers and $33,170 on a four-wheel drive Ford Explorer for the inspection department.
The plan, as a whole, called to transfer $993,574 from the town stabilization fund for public works, fire department, police department, inspection and IT projects.
Grosowsky said the state has passed a climate roadmap, which includes a plan to reduce carbon emissions. That plan has a target to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
“2030 is only eight years away,” Grosowsky said. “We have got to get to work to reduce emissions by electrifying vehicles and buildings.”
“Our town must be starting to purchase electric vehicles going forward,” she said. “What’s the plan to do that?”
Other towns have purchased electric police cruisers, Grosowsky said.
Executive Assistant Thomas Gregory said the topic of electric cruisers is one the Select Board would take under advisement for further study.
Hudson has been designated a green community, he said.
Gregory said the town relies on department heads when it comes to determining the operational needs of their vehicles. Those department heads then put forward recommendations on the kind of vehicles that they need, he said.
“I think some of these vehicles are ideal candidates to become electric vehicles,” said Finance Committee member Andrew Massa.
Massa and Grosowsky noted other departments who have purchased vehicles.
“That is coming. It’s coming whether we engage in it or not. The later we engage in it, the more expensive it’s going to be,” Massa said.
That being said, Massa supported passing the article in question, noting that this conversation was occurring at the 11th hour.
Grosowsky asked for assurance that there would be a plan the next time Town Meeting is asked to vote on similar expenses.
“I’m not in a position this evening to make any assurances, really concrete assurances for the future, but what I will say relative to the purchase of electric vehicles is [that] there are a number of considerations that need to be made infrastructure-wise, compatibility-wise, operation of batteries in cold weather,” Gregory said.
Others voiced their opposition to electric police cruisers.
“I have a problem with cruisers being electric vehicles because if they’re totally electric and they’re running radios and sitting idle, it takes a long time to charge,” said resident Tom McCoy. “So, when those need to be recharged, those vehicles are out of service.”
He voiced his support for hybrid vehicles.
Select Board member Fred Lucy called for establishing a policy to review purchasing electric vehicles, saying that Hudson Light and Power provides low-rate electricity.
“We should become an electric vehicle charging Mecca, starting with our own vehicles. To get there, we need a policy,” Lucy said.
Other communities have, indeed, integrated electric vehicles into their municipal fleets.
Just last month, Westborough Town Meeting voters approved a bid to buy a new Mustang Mach-E electric cruiser.
That came at the request of Police Chief Jeffery Lourie and passed despite an amendment that would have had the town buy gas powered vehicles.
That same town meeting article allocated funding to pay for a charging station for this new electric cruiser.
Westborough had previously approved and purchased new hybrid cruisers, as well.