Los Angeles Air Force Base has the distinction of being the first federal facility to replace its whole general-purpose fleet with electric vehicles as part of a larger vehicle-to-grid demonstration project.
Among the 42 vehicles being used are 13 Nissan LEAFs, a VIA Motors 12-passenger plug-in van, and an EVAOS plug-in Ford pickup trucks that will plug back into the base to provide a huge bank of battery back-up power. Over 700 kWh in fact, which can be powered by local renewable sources and doled back out to the grid as demand grows. This increases grid reliability and provides enough power to 140 average American homes to continue operating for 24 hours in the event of an outage. This necessitated the use of a whole new charging setup that allows power to be fed into, and drawn out of the EV’s battery pack.
This is the first part of a broader plan that will see similar projects in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The program will also look into using the EVs as a means of on-base storage that can keep the facility operating using local power sources like solar panels or wind turbines.
The U.S. Military has had a few small-scale rollouts of electric vehicles in the past few years, but this latest effort is one of the largest vehicle-to-grid demonstration projects in the world. Automakers like Nissan believe this is one of the extra benefits to electric vehicles, as well as making solar and wind power more viable for homeowners. On-site batteries can be an expensive additional cost to a PV solar system, but rolling the cost into the cost of an electric car makes a ton of sense.
The Air Force can see that, as can the Department of Defense, which has yet again said that climate change is a grave threat to national security. That’s why every branch of the military is pursuing some form of alternative-fuel projects, with the hope of some kind of breakthrough enabling the armed forces to wean itself off of fossil fuels. As one of our nation’s largest energy consumers, setting the military on the path to sustainable energy is an important part of securing America’s future as a world power.
If we can’t fly our jets or move our tanks, what good are they?