New hybrid electric vehicles part of Montco’s drive for energy efficiency

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     Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor Jr., left, and Sheriff Russell Bono show off one of the county sheriff's department's three new gas-electric hybrids. (Bill Hangley/WHYY)

    Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor Jr., left, and Sheriff Russell Bono show off one of the county sheriff's department's three new gas-electric hybrids. (Bill Hangley/WHYY)

    The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department unveiled three new, plug-in hybrid vehicles Friday, part of its broader push to save money and reduce carbon emissions.

     

    “It’ll push you back in your seat, when you step on the gas!” said Sheriff Russell Bono as he showed off one of the new cars — a converted Ford Fusion. “The only thing that’ll take some getting used to is, they’re so quiet. They’re SO quiet. You have to look at the dashboard to make sure it’s running.”

    The cars in his fleet can easily log 100 miles a day as deputies crisscross the county serving warrants and other civil paperwork, Bono said. County officials expect the new vehicles — which cost about $36,000 each with $9,000 covered by a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection — will each save the county more than $5,000 a year in gas and maintenance.

    They hope to save much more in other areas — most importantly, by renovating county offices and municipal buildings to increase energy efficiency.

    “This is something the public can see every day as the sheriffs go out an deliver their summons and paperwork and stuff like that,” said county spokesman Frank Custer. “But the largest part is happening indoors, and it’s something the public never sees.”

    The centerpiece of that campaign is a major renovation of the county courthouse in Norristown, which Custer said is almost complete. The $2 million upgrade is expected to save twice that much in energy bills over the first 10 years.

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