From 1900 until 1926, the Keene Electric Railway provided streetcar service from Park Avenue and down Main Street to Swanzey Factory Road. For part of that time, the electricity was provided by a power station on Wilson Pond in Swanzey. In the way of “everything old is new again,” electric transportation is making a comeback in Keene.
National Drive Electric Week this year will be Sept. 8-16, heralded by Mayor Kendall Lane reading a proclamation of “Keene Drive Electric Week” at the City Council meeting on Sept. 6. There will be an Electric Vehicle Expo on Saturday, Sept. 15 from noon to 4 p.m. at Keene Ice, 350 Marlboro St. Dealers and private owners will bring their electric cars (as well as electric bikes and even one electric motorcycle) for the public to view, with some test drives or test rides available. There will be food, music, a raffle (you might win a ride on the e-Zamboni) as well as several speakers through the afternoon.
A number of major automobile manufacturers have announced plans to phase out production of conventional, gasoline-fueled engines, transitioning to all-electric or electric hybrid vehicles, and in some cases to fuel cell power. The list includes Volvo, BMW, VW and Toyota. There is a “light-hybrid” Ram pick-up coming on the market in 2019, with better fuel efficiency along with higher torque for more power, and Ford may roll out a full hybrid F-150 by 2020. In Sweden, there is a prototype electric logging truck!
As reported in the Sentinel on Aug. 30, 2018 (Trump Administration to Freeze Fuel-efficiency Requirements), while manufacturers are moving toward cleaner vehicles the EPA has proposed rolling back Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards: instead of a “fleet” average of 37 mpg by 2025, manufacturers will only need to achieve 30 mpg by 2026. You may comment to the EPA on this proposed change at www.regulations.gov, referencing Docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0283. Comments will be received until Oct. 23.
With 46 percent of Keene’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the transportation sector according to the city’s 2015 report, and with tailpipe emissions a significant source of air pollutants having direct impacts on human health, the transition to electric vehicles will clearly have environmental and public health benefits for us all.
59 Greenwood Ave.