San Diego swaps ‘meter maid’ scooters for Ford Mustang Mach-Es

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — The city of San Diego is phasing some of the small, boxy carts out of its fleet for parking enforcement in favor of larger electric vehicles, including some recently purchased Ford Mustang Mach-E’s.

The city began to decommission some of the traditional “meter maid” carts in favor of EVs over the last few months, following the purchase of 22 new Mach-E’s and three Ford Lightning trucks — 18 of which will be given to the San Diego Police Department for parking enforcement.

According to the city, a handful of the original scooters, which also come in an electric model, will remain in use for parking enforcement, specifically in urban areas with traffic considerations.

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Officials say these vehicles were purchased to support the city’s ambitious sustainability goals outlined in the climate action plan. Under the plan, San Diego is required to have zero-emission vehicles for 100% of its light-duty fleet and 75% of its medium and heavy-duty fleet by 2035.

The new Mach-Es will join the other eco-friendly vehicles already in its fleet, including EV Chevy Bolts, and plug-in hybrid vehicles, such as the Ford Fusion and Escape.

However, some on social media have criticized the move to purchase the new Mach-Es, given that the suggested retail price from Ford is $43,495. According to Car and Driver, the price for the 2024 Mustang offshoot goes up to about $65,390, depending on trim and other options.

“Just saw an electric mustang being used as a parking enforcement vehicle. Make it make sense? Starting price 45000!” one person wrote in a March 12 post on X, formerly Twitter, while also expressing confusion about how this purchase helps the city’s nearly $170 million budget deficit.

In a statement to FOX 5/KUSI on Friday, a city spokesperson said the Mach-E was the only light-duty EV option available when officials set out to replace some of the older vehicles in San Diego’s fleet as part of its vehicle acquisition program.

“The decision to purchase Mach-Es was based on multiple factors by the City’s General Services Department, including long-term monetary benefits, supply-chain issues and the recent discontinuation of the Chevy Bolt,” the spokesperson continued.

The Chevy Bolt was the first type of EV that San Diego brought into its fleet, putting over a dozen into service in 2019 within the city’s “general purpose fleet,” according to a 2020 report on the city’s climate action plan.

Each Chevy Bolt cost the city $38,470, according to the statement from a city spokesperson sent on Friday. Comparatively, the city says Mach-Es were purchased for $53,400 per vehicle.

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” … vehicle prices have dramatically increased in the past few years,” the spokesperson continued. “While the cost for an EV may be a bit higher than a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle, the price is offset by avoiding the need to purchase fuel and in the ongoing maintenance costs.”

More EVs, including additional Mach-Es, are set to arrive throughout this year. In a March 15 press release, city officials said fleet operations are expecting another nine Mach-Es, 35 all-electric Lightning Trucks, two new EV street sweepers, and an electric fire truck.

The city already has a handful of all-electric Lightning trucks — the EV variation of a Ford F-150 — that is currently being fitted for use. When done, city officials say the trucks will be used by the Parks and Recreation Department.

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