Don't be shocked by the surge of state employees in electric cars

Minnesota's fleet of state-owned cars is getting more electric.

Your chances of spotting a government employee at a Minnesota gas station are getting slimmer.

The state is converting more of its fleet to electric vehicles, saying the plug-in cars save taxpayers thousands on gas while also cutting air pollution.

The vehicle fleet got a little more electric on Thursday with the arrival of 22 new Chevy Bolts. The Minnesota Department of Administration announced the purchase but not all of the Bolts will belong to the state.

To get a better price from General Motors, the state found some partners to go in on a bulk purchase. So the University of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Council, Ramsey County, and Minneapolis are each getting a few of the electric cars, as well.

State officials say the 238 mile range of the battery-powered cars means you can drive one from Rochester to Duluth without stopping to recharge. (Recharge the battery, they mean. The driver's endurance is another issue.)

Since 2013 the state has added 146 hybrid or electric vehicles to its fleet. The new Bolts will be scattered among the Pollution Control Agency and the Departments of Transportation, Health, and Education.

The Administration Department makes one electric car, a Nissan Leaf, available to be rented by any state agency that wants to try it out. The number of charging stations around the Capitol is now up to 69, they say.

Are electric cars destined to be America's vehicle of the future? It seems like the jury's still out on that. The website Engadget predicted this week the move to electricity will lead to the end of the gas station. But Business Insider noted that electric cars have been a disappointment in the marketplace, still accounting for only one percent of global vehicle sales.

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