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U.S. government buys its first electric vehicles

DOEEVfleet The federal government handed over the keys to a handful of electric vehicles it purchased Tuesday. The 116 cars -- a mixture of Chevrolet Volts, Nissan Leafs and Think Cities -- are the first electric vehicles to be purchased by the U.S. government for the federal fleet. They will be distributed to 20 agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense, in five cities across the country.

The EV program launched Tuesday "is the next big step" in the government's adoption of advanced vehicle technologies, said Martha Johnson, administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, which purchases vehicles for federal agencies. "It furthers the administration's goal of putting 1 million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015 and it represents a significant targeted investment in the next generation of automotive technology." 

The 116 electric vehicles the GSA purchased will save 29,000 gallons of gas, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 260 tons and save taxpayers more than $109,000 every year, Johnson added. To complement the EVs, the GSA is also installing electric vehicle charging stations at federal buildings in five cities.

The U.S. government operates the largest vehicle fleet in the country. Its EV purchase represents an embrace of President Obama's directive that federal government lead the country by example, deploying smart and sustainable management practices that save taxpayer money, said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Transportation, which makes up two-thirds of U.S. oil use, accounts for as much as one-third of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Department of Energy.

"Instead of spending $1 billion a day to import oil, we need to invest in U.S. innovation," said Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, speaking at an event outside DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Chu said the DOE replaced 750 of its vehicles last year with more fuel-efficient hybrids. The DOE is receiving 14 of the new electric vehicles from the GSA.

"We are in a global race to capture the growing market for alternative vehicle technologies," Chu said. "Many other countries around the world recognize that in the coming years and decades, electric vehicles will become a major part of our transportation infrastructure, and we want to make sure the U.S. is poised to capture that leadership."

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Photo: U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu looks under the hood of one of 116 new electric vehicles the U.S. General Services Administration purchased for the federal vehicle fleet. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

 
Comments () | Archives (7)

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There's been a great debate here http://www.whitehousevoice.com/Jasonsah/Proposals/All-electric-vehicles-1016 about it, with lots of facts figures and apparently lots of myths busted, though Im not entirely convinced yet! Great publicity done to the Nissan Leaf by all the newspapers, and free!

Dr Genius - the government is going to spend money and buy cars whether there are electric versions available or not. The idea is to make responsible purchases which won't cost the government too much money - that's exactly what these cars will do.

The fuel savings and higher resale values of electric cars or hybrids easily covers the difference in price between conventional cars and fuel saving cars.

The error you (and many other writers) make is assuming that fuel savings must cover the entire purchase price of fuel saving cars. Yet you demand no financial test at all for conventional automobiles.

so buying overpriced and lousy cars using tax payer dollars so government imbeciles can drive electric cars and pat themselves on the back for how sanctimnious and special they are and spending $3mm up front to save $500K over 5 years is an "investment"? Really? Why is it every single utterance by this administration is more idiotic than the preceding?

Perhaps they have created the "cold fusion of stupid" and this idiocy is self-generating? Certainly no sentient being can be associated with authoring this stupidity.

EasyEight:

A few numbers problems -

Since the government would have bought more conventional cars otherwise, the fuel cost savings just has to cover the difference between the EVs and the cost of more conventional cars. Looked at this way, the EVs pay for themselves in 10 years or less, faster if gas continues to rise (very likely.)

Also the batteries (lithium manganese spinel), made by LG Chem, are actually rated at up to 40 years of life, not 10. See link (in the lithium ion paragraph):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle_battery

"The 116 electric vehicles the GSA purchased will save 29,000 gallons of gas, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 260 tons and save taxpayers more than $109,000 every year, Johnson added. "

So the Government is going to spend some $4 million NOW (given the high cost of these cars) to "save" $109,000 a year on gas?? It will take almost 40 YEARS to recover that investment...except the batteries in these cars are rated for a maximum of 10 years...what a lose-lose move.

"To complement the EVs, the GSA is also installing electric vehicle charging stations at federal buildings in five cities." Well, duh...!

"We are in a global race to capture the growing market for alternative vehicle technologies," Chu is on the money there.

While the US places nice with tax credits for anyone who sells in the US market, the Chinese are playing by a completely different set of rules, crafted in their favor. Combined with their large growing EV market, and uncanny ability to get foreign manufacturers to hand over intellectual property to gain access to it, they appear to be an unstoppable force on the new energy vehicle scene.

Consider this post:

http://fordfocuselectric.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=162


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