Indianapolis’ $32 million contract to rent electric vehicles called into question

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 29, 2015)– Major questions are being raised about Indianapolis’ new electric vehicle fleet, dubbed “Freedom Fleet.” A council committee voted Wednesday to seek a subpoena of the unedited contract.

The Public Safety Committee is now calling for a full review of the agreement with Vision Fleet. The committee also expressed concern over the vehicles being used by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).

In October, the City of Indianapolis announced it would lease 425 electric vehicles. A $32 million, seven-year contract with Vision Fleet Capital Inc. was signed. Officials hoped to have the largest municipal fleet of electrified vehicles in the nation by the beginning of 2016.

Council members expressed concern because large portions of the contract are redacted. When council members asked if they could view the entire contract, they were told it would require signing a confidentiality agreement.

“I think we’re better than that. When we’re spending the public’s money the public should know where their money is being spent,” said Aaron Freeman, City-County Councilor (District 25).

According to the Department of Public Works, each gas-powered car costs the taxpayer an estimated $9,000 annually, while a Freedom Fleet car is estimated to cost $7,400 annually.

Councilor Freeman also wants to introduce a proposal that would prevent Freedom Fleet vehicles from being used by IMPD.

“IMPD doesn’t tell DPW what kind of trash truck to buy, so why is DPW telling IMPD what kind of police car to buy,” said Freeman.

Councilor Frank Mascari (District 20) sent a letter to Mayor Greg Ballard requesting the city suspend all negotiations and contract execution procedures with Vision Fleet.