The US Air Force (USAF) has rolled-out the first plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) fleet at Los Angeles Air Force Base (AFB), California, US.
Claimed to be the Department of Defense’s (DoD) first non-tactical vehicle fleet composed entirely of PEVs, the fleet includes 42 electric and hybrid vehicles ranging from sedans to trucks and a 12-passenger van.
The vehicles feature a capability to direct power both to and from the electrical grid when they are not being driven. They also enhance the grid’s reliability and security by balancing demand against supply, which eliminates the need for use of reserves or standby generators.
Specifically, the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology enables the vehicles to provide more than 700kW of power to the grid, which is sufficient power for more than 140 homes.
Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James said: "Everything we do to fly, fight and win requires energy, whether it’s aviation fuel for our aircraft or power to run the bases that support them.
"This vehicle-to-grid pilot is a great example of how Airmen are driving the Air Force forward and finding new and innovative ways to make every dollar count."
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The USAF has installed unique charging stations on Los Angeles AFB to support the vehicles’ V2G capability.
Working in collaboration with California energy providers and regulators, the USAF completed safety and performance testing as well as technical and regulatory aspects of fleet launch.
The service now plans to expand the V2G demonstration to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, US.
University of Delaware Center for Carbon-free Power Integration director William Kempton said: "By requesting V2G-capable trucks and cars from several vehicle manufacturers, placed in bases in several states, the Air Force has helped to stimulate demand from both automotive suppliers and the electric industry in these states.
"We can hope that the Air Force programme announced today, together with the recent successful early demonstrations, by the University of Delaware with Honda, BMW, NRG Energy, PJM and others, will move us from demonstration to early commercial-scale products."
Apart from PEV fleet, the USAF is exploring the benefits of other alternative fuel vehicles.
More than 9,000 ethanol flex fuel vehicles are already present in the air force’s inventory worldwide, along with 50 biodiesel fuel stations.
Image: A USAF personnel receives instruction on how to operate the Princeton bidirectional electric vehicle charging stations in El Segundo, California, US. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo/Sarah Corrice.