Electric vehicles to drive U.S. military

Aiming to capture the economic, environmental, and strategic benefits offered by vehicles that do not run on fossil fuels, the United States military i...

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|Nov 1|magazine6 min read

Aiming to capture the economic, environmental, and strategic benefits offered by vehicles that do not run on fossil fuels, the United States military is investing heavily in electric vehicles (EVs), including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). 

One of the largest supporters of various types of alternative drive vehicles, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is expected to increase its purchases of EVs in the coming years. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, the DOD will acquire more than 92,400 EVs for non-tactical purposes from 2013 to 2020.

“In remote theaters of operations, the cost of moving fuels to forward military locations can be a multiple of the cost of the fuel itself,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research.

“The military’s approach to reducing fossil fuel consumption from non-tactical operations includes acquiring increasing numbers of vehicles powered by ethanol blend and biodiesel blend fuels; but the majority of the investment will go toward HEVs and PEVs.”

One particular area of focus for the military market is the development of microgrids in tandem with vehicle-to-grid (V2G)-enabled PEVs. Microgrids can enable bases in both tactical and non-tactical operations to utilize energy generation sources more efficiently and to operate independently of conditions on the grid.

V2G-enabled PEVs used solely in non-tactical applications provide an additional layer of energy support and storage that can assist islanding microgrids and balance distributed energy generation resources by providing power from the vehicles’ battery packs to buildings.

The report, “Alternative Drive Vehicles for Military Applications”, examines the market for alternative drive vehicles for both tactical and non-tactical military fleets. Market drivers and barriers are analyzed in detail, and key industry players are profiled. Market forecasts for vehicles and fuel consumption, along with fuel cost savings, extend through 2020.  An executive summary of the report is available for download on the Navigant Research website.

Navigant Research, the dedicated research arm of Navigant, provides market research and benchmarking services for rapidly changing and often highly regulated industries. In the energy sector, Navigant Research focuses on in-depth analysis and reporting about global clean technology markets.