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NEWS | July 7, 2023

Army Reserve Leads Way: Electric Vehicle Pilot Program with The Defense Innovation Unit

By Ashley Bradford, Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate, Office of the Chief Army Reserve

The Army Reserve continues to implement clean energy solutions to increase sustainability, enhance mission readiness, and maintain the pace with the evolving ground transportation landscape. The Army Reserve is on-track to be the first military organization, under a pilot program partnership with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), to install electric vehicle charging stations at two locations – Parks Reserve Forces Training Area (RFTA) in Dublin, CA and at the 63rd Readiness Division (RD) Headquarters in Mountain View, CA.

“Parks RFTA and the 63rd RD are going to serve as the blueprint for other military installations and facilities,” explained Col. Martin J. Naranjo, Director, Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate. “Not only will we be able to reduce our carbon footprint, but the Army Reserve will be establishing best practices to be used with the rollout of electric vehicle chargers at other military installations across the nation.”  

Through the pilot, Parks RFTA will have five level 2 dual-port chargers and two level 3 dual-port chargers. Additionally, there will be three level 2 dual-port chargers installed at the 63rd RD Headquarters. According to the Department of Transportation, level 2 chargers are common at home and in the workplace and can charge a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) to 80 percent from empty in 4-10 hours and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in 1-2 hours. Level 3 chargers, sometimes referred to as direct-current fast chargers, can charge a BEV to 80 percent in just 20 minutes to 1 hour although most PHEVs currently on the market do not yet work with fast chargers. 

Supply chain interruptions have delayed the installation of the procured chargers to the summer of 2023, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony at Parks RFTA to follow. Once operational, the chargers will be available for use to not only government (GOV) vehicles, but for privately owned vehicles (POV), too.

“The installation and evaluation of these chargers are going to enable us to develop our holistic plan for our entire fleet,” explained Neville Jordan, Army Reserve Electric Vehicle Program Manager. “DIU will measure usage, uptime, vehicle types (i.e., POV vs GOV), wait times, and mean time to repair. The project will also evaluate “Charging-as-a-Service”, meaning POV charging revenues defray Department of Defense infrastructure investments. This is just a small piece of the total rollout to support over 2,800 vehicles at over 760 Army Reserve locations.” 

“With the support from ARIMD and DIU, we are excited to literally lead the charge on vehicle electrification for military installations,” shared Lt. Col. Marisol Chalas, Garrison Commander, Parks Reserve Forces Training Area. “By providing these services, we are meeting requirements while evolving to meet the changing needs of our Soldiers and Civilian workforce.” 

In addition to the Army Reserve, DIU has also partnered with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force to pilot the installation of modern electric vehicle charging technology at a total of eight domestic military bases.