The US Military has recently announced a $500-Electric-vehicle-to-grid program with a $20 million fund, as part of the several sustainable energy initiatives out there today. The other initiatives include zero emission electric vehicles, zero emission recharging using solar or other sources of renewable energy, utilising smart grid technology which maximises off-peak power usage, and local energy storage to forestall the event of grid disruptions.
The Defense Department’s lease initiative, which is scheduled to start this year, will provide for some exclusive vehicles of price range $30,000 to $100,000 to be divided among their six installations, led by the Los Angeles Air Force Base (LA AFB).
That puts things into perspective, since around last year, the LA AFB revealed plans to become first of the federal government facilities to replace all of its non-tactical fleet with electric. The new initiative is evidently based on that initial study which involved buses, light trucks and non-emergency sedans.
Interestingly, LA AFB is a solar energy pioneer as well, with its all-EV program including solar charging and demonstrating the application of EV-to-grid technology. This is based on the idea that the EVs act as portable energy storage units which would be charged during off-peak hours, to make use of the lower electricity costs then and later integrated into a smart microgrid when during peak periods of electricity use to supplement the energy use.
There are many benefits to be had on the initiative, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on the site of military facilities apart from the main advantages of EVs, that is, being more energy efficient as well as reducing cost on fleet expenses, as stated by the special assistant to the assistant secretary of Air Force installations responsible for environment and logistics.
An advantage of the leasing option is that since non-tactical military vehicles have a relatively long lifespan, they are very likely to outgrow current EV technology; therefore, the Defense Department can more easily adapt its fleet to make use of newer models as they come.
The initial 500 vehicles is only a tiny fraction of the Department of Defense’s fleet of non-tactical vehicles, which evidently number nearly 200,000. That puts into perspective just how much of a market is there if the rest of the fleet should be drafted in.
The similar trend in the civilian segment is the use of electric vehicles in conjunction with the power grid to provide a more energy-efficient, lower-cost and lower-emission solution. This is on the back of advancements in charging technology and increasing rooftop solar technology.
The first such technology is seen in Ford’s MyEnergi Lifestyle which essentially develops the EV, other home appliances and the power grid to interact in such a way as to take advantage of lower off-peak prices and general energy-efficiency.