Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Electric Vehicles

US Military Will Get Thousands More EVs As SPIDERS Web Grows

We were pretty impressed when the Department of Defense launched a $20 million leasing program for alternative fuel vehicles earlier this year, but that only involved a mere 500 vehicles. Our friends over at Navigant Research are predicting that DoD will obtain 92,000 more by 2020, with most of them being hybrid or plug-in EVs.

As for what that has to do with spiders, the $30 million SPIDERS (Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security) system is an ambitious new microgrid project that DoD has been tinkering around with to great effect. Add renewable energy and the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) energy storage capacity of an EV fleet to the SPIDERS equation, and you get the kind of flexibility and resiliency — to say nothing of the cost savings — that petroleum fuel just can’t offer.

More EVs for US military and SPIDERS microgrids.

Spider (cropped) by James Fairbrother.

DoD Likes To Lease EVs, For Now

US military electric vehicles were a rarity just a few years ago, but that’s certainly not going to be the case moving forward if you take a look at why DoD decided to lease the 500 vehicles rather than buy them outright.

A number of factors come into play on that decision including the fast pace of EV improvements, especially in increasing battery range while lowering battery cost.

The typical DoD non-tactical vehicle can last about a dozen years, while a lease term would last three or less. So by leasing, DoD can roll over its EV fleet to take advantage of the latest technology as quickly as possible while minimizing administrative expenses and other replacement costs.

The advantages of transitioning the military’s non-tactical fleet to EVs cannot be overstated. In addition to the potential bottom line savings and insulation from global oil market price shocks, the ability of EVs to draw from clean, hyperlocal, renewable energy sources translates into more secure facilities, reduced environmental and health hazards, and above all, a lower risk of harm related to petroleum fuel convoys.

That’s over and above the billions in costs associated with protecting US interests in the global oil market…but we digress.

Military Spending Big Bucks On EVs, And SPIDERS

As with the 500-vehicle program, Navigant is predicting that the push for EVs will focus on DoD’s non-tactical fleet and on V2G systems. Here’s the money quote:

Navigant Research forecasts that military spending on ADVs for the non-tactical fleet will increase from over $435 million in 2013 to $926 million by 2020. A majority of the growth will be made through spending on HEVs and PEVs.

Navigant is right on the money, if you take a look at the progress that DoD has made on V2G in just the past few years. Los Angeles Air Force Base, which is among six facilities to split the aforementioned 500 vehicles, is already hosting a V2G pilot project and has committed to transitioning 100 percent of its non-tactical fleet to EVs with the help of solar power.

Meanwhile, our friends over at the DOD Energy Blog have tipped us that the company responsible for integrating SPIDERS, Burns & McDonnell, has come up with a white paper that does a great job of explaining how microgrids work and why they represent a vast improvement over systems reliant on diesel generators. Check it out.

Follow me on Twitter and Google+.

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like


There are somewhat mixed views on the newsworthiness of the Tesla Investor Day on March 1st, 2023. I sat through the whole event live...

Clean Transport

Electrification on the battlefield is a vision of Dfens eMissions. Watching this video, you might think you are in a video game, and the...


Woke or not, the US Army has invested $10 million in new silicon battery technology.


New activity in the vehicle-to-grid field spells bad news for gas stakeholders, except maybe for Shell.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.