In the Army Now: The Chevy Volt
GM’s plug-in hybrid being pressed into military service in “nontactical” capacity.
The military may be a market that General Motors never considered when developing the Chevrolet Volt. But the brass at the Department of Defense plans to add dozens of the plug-in hybrids to its vehicle fleet as part of “green initiatives” to reduce dependence on foreign energy.
The Volt, which can run on gas or electricity and has an an EPA-rated all-electric range of 38 miles, will join more than 3,000 electric vehicles already in DOD’s fleet, although most of these are small, low-speed vehicles that resemble golf carts and are not ready for the open road.
The Volt, on the other hand, is what the Defense Department calls “road-capable” and will be used in a “nontactical” capacity. According to Stars and Stripes, the official Defense Department news outlet, the Army is especially interested in deploying the Volt in Hawaii, where short driving distances are ideal for plug-in vehicles. And in significant numbers at military bases across the U.S.
Stars and Stripes said that so far the military “has acquired 168 road-capable, plug-in electric vehicles, such as the Volt, and more are on the way.” The first two Volts are already in service at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, Calif., while 18 more will arrive soon at the Joint Base in Andrews, Md. The Army alone plans to deploy electric vehicles at more than 40 installations, and the DOD intends to integrate about 1,500 road-capable electric vehicles over the next few years.
OpConnect, an Oregon-based company, has installed $60,000 worth of electric-car charging stations that can charge four vehicles at a time at Navy bases in the Washington, D.C., area and in San Diego, Calif. The Air Force also plans to install chargers at a Los Angeles base that Stars and Stripes says will soon receive 41 electric cars.
Sales of the Chevy Volt to the U.S. government aren’t unheard of, although pressing Volts into military service will escalate the controversial car’s official presence. A GM spokesperson said that Chevrolet sold only three Volts to the federal government in 2011, and so far this year the number has been 182.
[Source: Motor Trend]
DOD is looking at electric and hybrid drive trains for various military applications. By engageing in the use of a non-military vehicle such as the VOLT, they are expanding there knowledge and experience. This should improve their ability to analyse future deployability or combat hybrids.
Overpaying... maybe. Even at sticker, it will take many years to judge the overall cost (savings or additional expense) of operating such a vehicle.
In 1973, when the Arab Oil Embargo hit, I had to start riding an old motorcycle I had in high school in order to get back and forth to college. In 1979 when the "Energy Crisis" hit, again we saw incredibly long lines at gas stations. Iran has on any number of occasions stated they want to shut down the Gulf of Hormuz and wipe Israel off the map... The instability in the middle east is so uncertain that I'm certain if we have another "oil embargo" or "energy crisis" I won't be impacted because electric rates don't fluctuate and I'll be driving my Volt for pennies while other people in "dinosaur" vehicles are paying through the nose, for oil we import from areas of the world that HATE the United States. My Volt is made in the USA, powered by fuel originating in the USA and designed by a bunch of very savvy American engineers... And here in Texas on the two farms I own, oil was pumped out of the ground years ago and it is GONE... My Volt is running on a lot of electrons produced by thousands of wind turbines here in Central Texas, and I think that is not only patriotic but practical and lessens the need for keeping a trillion dollar military presence in and around the OPEC areas of the world.
The government purchasing vehicles from themselves? What a surprise.
MSRP for a Volt is just short of $40K. LOL! It's just like our military to overpay for it's hardware...
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