Navy’s Alternative Energy Plans March Forward

When it comes to using electric and alternative fuel vehicles in their fleets, the U.S. military keeps marching right along.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) operates out of the Washington Naval Yard, the nation’s oldest U.S. Navy shore facility. Founded in 1799 on land set aside by George Washington, the Navy Yard first operated as a shipbuilding facility and currently serves as a ceremonial and administrative center for the Navy, home to the chief of naval operations, and is headquarters for the Naval Sea Systems Command, the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Naval Reactors, Marine Corps Institute, the United States Navy Band and other more-classified facilities. It’s also home to a huge fleet of cars operated by the Washington Base Support Vehicles and Equipment (BSVE). The Navy announced recently that the BSVE office took delivery of its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, a Chevrolet Volt, at the Washington Navy Yard in October.

navy dudes in suits

image via U.S. Navy

The Volt is the first of four to be leased to NAVFAC Washington BSVE as part of a General Services Administration pilot program. The remaining three will arrive in early 2012. In total, the GSA will deliver 11 electric vehicles to the U.S. Navy, nine Chevy Volts and two Nissan Leafs. NAVFAC Southwest is scheduled to receive five Volts and two Leafs in early 2012. NAVFAC Washington and Commander, Navy Installation Command have coordinated to install 220-volt charging stations at the Washington Navy Yard and Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Md. These stations will provide the Volt a full charge in four hours.

NAVFAC Washington BSVE has a fleet of 2,143 vehicles. These drove for 635,350 miles (enough to drive from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles and back 119 times) during fiscal year 2010. The opportunities for energy conservation are not lost on Erin Bartley, product line coordinator at NAVFAC Washington BSVE. “The addition of the Chevy Volt demonstrates our commitment to energy reduction goals set by the Secretary of the Navy,” she said in a statement. “This vehicle, along with the three to come later, will help us reduce our gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”

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Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.