Electric Vehicle Test Program Comes To NJ Military Base

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST — Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has been chosen as one of six military bases to take part in the Department of Defense Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Project.

The one-year trial will determine whether the sedans, trucks and other non-tactical vehicles are not only more cost effective, but mutually beneficial to the electrical grid.  V2G systems allow electric vehicles to communicate with the power grid in a way that allows them to charge during periods of low demand and return power to the grid during periods of peak demand.

The program came from the president’s goal to have one million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on the road in the U.S. by 2015. Federal agencies like the DoD will be the vanguard in testing the effectiveness of the vehicles.

The Department of Defense plans to spend $20 million on a fleet of PEVs unique in their ability to export their own power and offset their cost, according to the American Forces Press Service. The cost includes infrastructure, charging stations, software, maintenance and support.

“Electric cars cost more than traditional vehicles so we have to see the savings and benefits in order to justify their use,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Schuman, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle fleet manager. “I’m looking forward to the testing here and seeing what the results will tell us.”

Planning for the the PEV charging station infrastructure began Sept. 2012 and a maximum of 53 vehicles are expected to arrive at JB MDL throughout 2014.

“Air Force leadership identified JB MDL as one of its designated locations because the installation has shown leadership in working on energy activities related to its non-tactical vehicle fleet,” said Camron Gorguinpour, special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. “As a tri-service joint base, JB MDL also creates opportunities to expose other services to PEV and V2G technologies.”

The PEVs could cut costs by reducing fuel use, the V2G technology could reduce the base’s overall electric bill by a process called frequency regulation.

“Frequency regulation is the process of stabilizing the grid against random second-by-second variations in demand on the electrical grid,” said Gorguinpour. “If left unchecked, these minor variations could destabilize segments of the grid.”

Regional organizations, called Independent System Operators, are responsible for ensuring frequency regulations services are provided. Any certified energy resource can bid to receive compensation for providing frequency regulation services to the grid.

“Our objective is to use PEVs as an energy resource to the ISO during times that the vehicles are not being driven,” said Gorguinpour. “The revenues received for providing the service can be used to offset the additional cost of leasing a PEV instead of a conventional vehicle. If successful, this would allow us to lease more PEVs throughout DoD because we would eliminate financial barriers.”

The one-year trial will provide project leaders with the information required to make an accurate assessment to whether PEVs are the military’s future means of ground transport.

“At the end of the trial period, we would like to see sufficient revenue to make a sound financial case for expanded adoption of PEVs,” said Gorguinpour. “Of course, we will also be monitoring the vehicles’ performance to ensure mission operations are not degraded in any way. In fact, one of our goals is to evaluate how we could use the V2G vehicles to enhance mission capabilities by supporting energy surety and acting as mobile generators.”

JB MDL community may not notice the new PEVs at first glance; only the quiet hum of the electric motor will give them away.

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