The Air Force’s Plug-in Vehicle Fleet

Okay military, start your eco-friendly engines! 

Last week the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy, Miranda A.A. Ballentine, presided over the unveiling of the first federal facility, Los Angeles Air Force Base (LAAFB), to replace its entire general-purpose fleet with plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). This fleet is the largest operational vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstration in the world.

Why is this so cool?  Well if you have to ask then clearly you’ve never driven a twelve passenger, twenty-year-old, highly suspect PEV with a questionable stick shift.  Not that I’m bitter. This is quite the step forward, not just for energy-forward thinking, but also for ease of driving.

(U.S. Defense Department graphic illustration by Jessica L. Tozer/Released)

(U.S. Defense Department graphic illustration by Jessica L. Tozer/Released)

The fleet consists of 42 vehicles, including sedans, pick-up trucks and minivans.  36 of them will be V2G-capable, which means that they can discharge power onto the utility grid to improve power quality and temporarily relieve congestion.  In California taking is incredibly important.  The smog there is practically sentient at this point.

The Air Force partnered with the State of California and Southern California Edison to ensure a regulatory framework was in place to perform V2G activities and to support the development and testing of V2G technologies prior to use at LA AFB.

LA AFB is the first pilot location for a broader V2G demonstration being led by the DoD PEV Program.

This demonstration will ultimately include: Fort Hood, Joint Base Andrews, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Mountain View Army Reserve Center. The PEV program will help define the capabilities and challenges of modernizing our general purpose fleets with PEVs.

These efforts are also the building blocks for the military’s ongoing effort to learn how PEVs can provide additional capability both at our installations and expeditionary environments.

The Air Force adds that this accomplishment at LA AFB could not have been possible without support and commitment from OSD; the Army, Navy and Marine Corps; the State of California; industry and academia.

One small step for the military, one giant leap for energy conservation and alternative vehicle options.

Information for this story provided by the Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Jessica L. Tozer is the editor and blogger for Armed with Science.  She is an Army veteran and an avid science fiction fan, both of which contribute to her enthusiasm for science and technology in the military.

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