The City of Indianapolis announced this week it will deploy what it believes will be the largest municipal fleet of electrified vehicles in the nation by early 2016.

The new program put forward by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil, and save taxpayers millions of dollars.

As explained in a press release published on the City of Indianapolis’ Web site, through the initiative with Vision Fleet, Indianapolis will upgrade 425 non-police pursuit sedans to plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles, cut the size of the fleet by 100 vehicles, and save $8.7 million over ten years.

“This is a landmark step in revitalizing our aging fleet and replacing expensive internal combustion engine vehicles with cutting-edge EV technology, all while reducing our dependence on oil and saving Indianapolis taxpayers thousands in fuel costs each year,” said Mayor Ballard. “America’s dependence on oil ties our national and economic security to a highly-unpredictable, cartel-influenced global oil market. Diversifying the types of vehicles and fuels available to our drivers offers our city protection from often-volatile oil prices and better prepares us for the future.”

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A company specializing in fleets, Vision Fleet, developed with Indianapolis a financing structure that bundles together all the expenses of purchasing, fueling, and maintaining the electric vehicles into a guaranteed rate that is lower cost than Indianapolis’ gasoline sedans.

The new Indy fleet vehicles will include 100 percent electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, as well as plug-in hybrid models like the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Fusion Energi, which offer extended range.

Indianapolis stated the cars will be distributed throughout the fleet based on the needs of city fleet drivers and their departments, and be branded as Indy’s “Freedom Fleet”. The City added it will replace 100 vehicles by the end of this year and 425 vehicles by the beginning of 2016.

Each gasoline powered sedan in Indy’s fleet would have cost taxpayers approximately $9,000 per year over the next decade, including purchase, fuel, maintenance and insurance, said the City. It is estimated that Freedom Fleet vehicles will cost approximately $7,400 per year over that period; saving taxpayers approximately $1,600 per year per vehicle.

“This project will have enormous impacts on fuel consumption and fleet service costs,” said Vision Fleet CEO Michael Brylawski. “The first 14 plug-in hybrids deployed in Indianapolis’ Freedom Fleet have each saved an average of 53 gallons of gasoline per month. Each of the 425 EVs deployed by the beginning of 2016 will save at least 550-600 gallons of gas annually. Over the next 10 years, we expect Indianapolis will avoid 2.2 million gallons of expensive gasoline. Fuel costs for the new EVs will be about one-third of the old gas vehicles costs as a result.”