With the goal of saving fuel and advancing alternative-energy uses, the Army, Navy and Air Force intend to buy thousands of battery-powered, 35-mile-an-hour electric cars and light trucks to provide on-base transport. “The Neighborhood Electric Vehicle [NEV] will be at Fort Belvoir, according to Paul Bollinger, deputy assistant Army secretary for energy and partnerships. “We are having bumper stickers put on and decals on the doors which say “Army Green, Army Strong.””
The Army plans to order the street-legal NEVs from E-Z-Go, Native American Biofuels International and other electric-car makers. E-Z-Go, which is a subsidiary of defense giant Textron, makes golf carts that are listed online at about $1,300 each.
The Army will take delivery of 800 cars in 2009 and 4,000 more over the next three years. The Army’s plan has persuaded its sister services to jump on board. The Air Force confirmed its involvement in the electric car purchase
The Army is moving quickly; the purchase plans were unveiled last month as part of the service’s ambitious new energy strategy, which also calls for the construction of solar and geothermal facilities.
Each electric car will use an average of about $400 in electricity per year, compared to the roughly $2,400 in fuel needed to run a gas-powered car, citing General Services Administration figures. The 4,000 electric cars are estimated to save 11.5 million gallons of fuel per year The NEVs, now powered by lead-acid batteries, may one day be operated by lithium batteries, which are able to store and dispense larger amounts of energy at a lighter weight compared with lead-acid batteries.