By Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

The city of St. Paul announced Friday it is adding Ford Motor Co.â¿¿s new all-electric Transit Connect to its vehicle fleet, paid for in part by stimulus funds.

St. Paul is one of the nationâ¿¿s first cities to receive the vehicle, which it says will reduce carbon emissions by 3.5 tons and save an estimated $1,300 per vehicle each year in gas costs.

St. Paul will receive the first eight Transit Connect vans made available in Minnesota by Xcel Energy Inc. through Azure Dynamics Corp.⿿s ⿿Lead Customer⿝ program. The city will receive two more later this year.

Minneapolis-based Xcel (NYSE: XEL) is helping to fund the vehicles for a number of municipalities, government agencies and businesses that have committed to purchasing them.

St. Paul will leverage $286,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for the electric vehicles and charging stations. In addition, Xcel Energyâ¿¿s Chairman Fund and the city each will contribute $60,000 toward the purchase of the vehicles.

The city will unveil the cars on Tuesday in partnership with Drive Electric Minnesota. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Gov. Mark Dayton, Mayor RT Rybak and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum are among those scheduled to attend the event at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

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