MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — Madeira Beach has become the first Pinellas County coastal city to begin replacing their fleet with electric vehicles, according to building department official Frank DeSantis.

"We're the first agency to get electric vehicles on the beach islands," said DeSantis, 63. "It's a great start and shows everybody out there that we're trying to go green." ​

What You Need To Know

  • Madeira Beach purchased an electric car and pick-up truck for the building department

  • The Ford Mustang arrived in August and the truck is expected to arrive in October

  • Building department official Frank DeSantis said that per-mile, electric is 6-cents, compared to gas at 34 cents (based on $4 gallon gas)

The city bought a new four-door hatchback electric Ford Mustang for building code compliance which arrived last month. DeSantis said one commissioner voted against purchasing the vehicle because she didn't like its sports car image.

"She said, 'that's too sexy for the beach,'" he said. "I showed her this is what the Mustang looks like. It's a small SUV if you ask me." ​

The city also purchased an electric Ford pickup truck. It's expected to arrive in October. DeSantis said high trade-in values and high gas prices have made it a good time to go green.

"Per mile on electric is 6-cents per mile, compared to gas which is 34-cents per mile," he said. "They're giving me almost what we paid for it (pickup truck) in 2015. The maintenance cost for electric is less than 50 percent. Less than half. It's a no-brainer." 

DeSantis said the city purchased the vehicles through an agreement with the Florida Sheriff's Association, which shaved $15,000 off the sticker price. The 2022 Ford F-150 Lighting Truck cost $49,484 and the 2022 Mach-E Mustang cost $44,970, according to city records.

Madeira Beach ended up getting $14,000 for their used car and $24,500 for the pickup truck, when they traded those vehicles into the dealer.​

Last week, the city added an LED light-bar to the roof of the Mustang. DeSantis said they wanted to put more lights on the car, a state requirement, but a skid plate from bumper to bumper prevented it.

"You cannot get up underneath this vehicle," he said. "So, they couldn't put any lights on the bumpers front and back."

DeSantis said the building department's staff spends a lot of time on the road.

"We do quite a bit of driving around. Especially, on code compliance. That vehicle, the Mustang, is out six days a week," he said. "When I first started, I'd come up here at 8 o'clock in the morning and it took me a good two-and-a-half hours, but I hit every street." ​

The fully-charged Mustang has a 250-mile range. DeSantis said that goes a long way on a 2-mile long island.

"Fortunately, in Madeira Beach, a full charge will last us all week," he said. "It was just a no-brainer and the timing, it was just a no-brainer."