Daley, describing it as a "green fleet" initiative, asked the city council for an amendment to the municipal code to allow their use, WLS-TV reported. The cars could be used on city streets where the speed limits are no more than 30 mph.
The city already owns four of the cars, bought for $12,000 each from Global Electric Motors, a Chrysler Corp. division, the Chicago Sun-Times said. They are now used only to get around the yards where city-owned vehicles are kept.
Eileen Joyce, a spokesman for city Fleet Management, said the vehicles could be used by parking enforcement officers downtown, for crowd control in some contained areas and even for curbside trash pickup in the Loop. They could also be used for short trips between city hall and other downtown locations.
Amending the code would allow Chicago residents and businesses to use electric cars on city streets, too, Joyce said.
Unlike hybrids, which can switch from electricity to gasoline, the electric cars are designed only for low-speed operation. Their batteries can be recharged at any household outlet.