The U.S. Air Force recently announced that its Los Angeles base would be the first federal facility to replace 100 percent of its general purpose fleet with electric vehicles.
This switch will mean all 40 vehicles owned or leased by the base, including passenger sedans, two-ton trucks and shuttle buses, will be replaced by fully-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and extended-range electric alternatives. Force protection, tactical and emergency response vehicles will remain exempt for now.
Right now, the base, like the rest of the world, is working on getting a charging infrastructure in place to support these all-electric vehicles. Officials claim that the fleet could be deployed as early as January 2012.
"With gas prices rising and the cost of batteries falling, now is the time to move toward electric vehicles," said Undersecretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton. "The 100-percent Electric Vehicle Base initiative is a critical first step in this direction and will help guide the way for broader fleet electrification."
Electrification of Los Angeles AFB's general purpose fleet is the first implementation step in an ongoing Department of Defense effort to establish strategies for large-scale integration of PEVs. As one of the biggest spenders of taxpayer money, the DoD is in a unique position to increase market demand for and drive down the price of electric vehicles, while also testing and perfecting quick deployment of efficient charging technologies.
Los Angeles AFB is also ideally located to demonstrate a variety of vehicle-to-grid activities. Using vehicle-to-grid technologies, electric vehicles can provide valuable services back to the grid while plugged in. This helps offset the cost of the vehicles and supports the electrical demands on the public grid.
"Worldwide, the DoD has about 200,000 vehicles in its fleet, so there's a whole lot of opportunity for us to look at creative ways to advance PEVs and other emerging technologies," said Dr. Camron Gorguinpour, the special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics.
Image Credit: Flickr - US Army