Fort Riley's fleet is going green
C. Todd Lopez | ANS Fort Riley soon will receive neighborhood electric vehicles like these that were delivered to the Army Jan. 12 during a ceremony at Fort Myer, Va.
Story by: Staff Writer Bill Armstrong
1st Infantry Division, PAO
Just as there were hitching posts for horses in front of buildings more than a century ago, Fort Riley may be getting a new type of hitching post for government vehicles.
Neighborhood Electric Vehicles will soon begin replacing a small percentage of the post's Transportation Motor Pool fleet, said Bruce Klaverweiden, garrison fleet manager with the Directorate of Logistics.
"Some will be passenger vehicles and some will be for cargo. These are like a golf cart, but with a higher speed," Klaverweiden said.
Army Secretary Pete Geren announced in January the Army has started a lease for about 4,000 NEVs, receiving 800 in 2009, and the balance over the next two years. The use of electric vehicles will help the Army to meet 42 percent of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act requirement for a two percent annual petroleum consumption reduction through 2015, Geren said.
"The Army is committed to substantially reducing the greenhouse gas emissions through our acquisition of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles," he said.
Fort Riley's initial allotment will be 13 NEVs, Klaverweiden said.
The simplicity of keeping the NEV running is that a driver will need only to find a power source to recharge the vehicle's batteries.
"If I was running to Custer Hill for a meeting and there was a plug in available while I was there, I'd just plug it in," he said.
Over time, specially marked parking spaces with electric hitching posts may be installed at buildings across post, he said.
The first batch of NEVs have been manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation's Global Electric Motorcars. The vehicles come in various forms, including passenger and cargo-carrying vehicles - some with a 1,450-pound payload capacity. NEVs are street-legal, in nearly all 50 states, on roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less. On an eight-hour charge, the cars have a 30-mile range.
The new NEVs may begin arriving at Fort Riley by late spring. The TMP fleet has about 488 vehicles, and Fort Riley is making every effort to go green, Klaverweiden said.
"Over the last three years, if it's available in E85, I've ordered it in E85, knowing that we're going to get a tank here. And we're hoping to upgrade the fuel system here to where we will have biodiesel," he said.
E85 is an alternative fuel that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is a clear, colorless alcohol fuel made from the sugars found in grains, such as corn, sorghum and wheat, as well as potato skins, rice and yard clippings. According to the Department of Energy, Ethanol reduces carbon monoxide and other toxic pollution from the tailpipes of vehicles, making the air cleaner. It keeps engines running smoothly without the need for lead or other chemical additives. Because ethanol is made from crops that absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, it has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help maintain the balance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The post's TMP also will receive 15 Ford Fusion hybrid vehicles within the next four months, Klaverweiden said.
"Even at higher speeds, when the engine kicks in, it will still get about 35 miles to the gallon," he said. At slower speeds, even with more frequent stops, the hybrids may get up to 44 miles per gallon, cutting the post's fuel consumption even more, he added.