Golfers can soon expect a greener ride through city-run courses.
Next year, the entire fleet of carts at Winnipeg’s three municipally operated golf courses will be replaced with electric models.
The city is now seeking a company to supply the environmentally friendly vehicles through leases from April 1, 2022, until Oct. 31, 2025, which could be extended for up to two years.
"It’s an enhanced golf experience… because the carts are smoother and they’re quieter and just a more enjoyable ride over 18 holes," said Ben Fey, Winnipeg general manager of golf services. "(And) we’re reducing our carbon footprint, we’re saving on fuel costs."
Fey said the change will be permanent, as the city expects to extend the lease or switch to a new one after October 2025. Winnipeg has tested the green vehicles through a pilot project since 2019, mixing 13 electric carts in with the traditional gas-powered models at Kildonan Park Golf Course. That electric fleet later grew to 20.
The successful bidder will be expected to provide 120 new, two-seater carts powered by lithium ion batteries, which will be split between the Kildonan Park, Windsor Park and Crescent Drive golf courses.
The electric carts are expected to reduce carbon emissions from the courses by 45 to 50 tonnes per year, while annually saving the city $20,000 to $30,000 on energy costs, Fey said.
While the bidding process will determine the carts’ final price, Fey said the monthly leases for electric models shouldn’t cost much more than the current gas ones.
Golf services will also spend about $50,000 to upgrade storage facilities for the vehicles, which will include adding wall-mounted chargers.
The agency will also buy four new hybrid mowers to maintain civic greens in the near future, which would replace a mix of gas- and diesel-powered models with gas/electric equipment.
"Our intention is to continue to move forward with moving the golf services operation in a green direction," said Fey.
Coun. Brian Mayes, who leads city council’s environment committee, said the move is part of a larger push to battle climate change through greener power.
"We did look at electric garbage and recycling vehicles, we’re obviously going big on electric buses… We’re a province with abundant hydro (electric power), so it makes sense," Mayes said Wednesday.
A city report found green waste collection vehicles are too expensive right now, but could become more affordable around 2025, when the city’s two largest garbage contracts expire.
The city is also seeking senior government funding to help fund up to 110 zero-emission buses, as part of a long-term plan to replace Winnipeg Transit’s entire diesel fleet with battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell models.
The city will accept bids for electric golf cart leases until Nov. 30.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.