U.S. Air Force tests first All-Electric Vehicle-to-Grid Fleet in the Nation

The Air Force unveiled the Federal Government’s first non-tactical vehicle fleet composed entirely of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles at Los Angeles Air Force Base, home of the Space and Missile Systems Center, Friday, Nov. 14.

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Miranda A. A. Ballentine and SMC Vice Commander Maj. Gen. Robert McMurry, along with state and private industry representatives were on-hand to officially unveil the 42-vehicle fleet marking a milestone in partnership between federal, state and private energy organizations.  “It’s a really great demonstration project.  We’ll be watching it for about a year,” said Ballentine.  “It’s part of a much larger Department of Defense focus on energy security, energy supply assurance, energy resiliency and energy demand reduction.”

California energy providers and regulators worked closely with the Air Force on safety and technical aspects of launching the vehicles. The Plug-in Electric Vehicle fleet includes both electric and hybrid vehicles ranging from sedans to trucks and a 12-passenger van.

The vehicles use vehicle-to-grid technology, known as V2G, to both charge directly from the electrical grid and return power when they’re not being driven.  The fleet is a small-scale proof-of-concept to both test and demonstrate the technology.  This will enable planners to expand the concept in the future when regions could potentially have thousands of V2G vehicles.  When not being used during low-drive times, the vehicles will provide a small portion of power back to the grid, collectively adding up to a large amount of power to help prevent brown-outs by balancing demand against supply.

The Air Force plans to expand the V2G demonstration to other bases in the near future while looking for additional capabilities, such as using worn batteries as a form of on-base energy storage and pursuing additional opportunities to expand existing partnerships.