Electric Vehicles Added to VA Maryland Health Care System’s Fleet February 2012

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 Industry News
Electric Vehicles Added to VA Maryland Health Care System’s Fleet February 2012
Electric Vehicles Added to VA Maryland Health Care System’s Fleet February 2012  

The VA’s new EVs can run for about 100 miles after charging for about eight hours. Credit: THINK Global

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), including the VA Maryland Health Care System, and 20 other federal agencies nationwide, are participating in a General Services Administration (GSA) pilot to test the power of electric vehicles (EV) by adding them to the federal fleet.   More than 100 electric vehicles are being leased to agencies in Maryland, California, Michigan and other locations. Five THINK City EVs will replace five petroleum fuel vehicles. The new vehicles will be used like any other vehicle to test its abilities and will be evaluated on performance fuel savings cost and durability.   “The cars are designed for highway driving and can go as fast as 70 miles an hour,” said Robert Coleman, supervisory motor vehicle operator for the health care system. “Because it is a pilot program, no one knows how well they’ll perform, but to test their capabilities, the cars will be used for travel between the Baltimore and Perry Point VA Medical Centers (a 100-mile round trip commute) by a variety of employees, just like the cars they’re replacing.”   The VA installed five charging stations acquired by GSA. Coleman also said a training program for employees is underway. “Although the controls of the electric cars look exactly like the controls of internal combustion engine cars, when you stop the car, say at a red light, it sounds like it’s not running. That will take some getting used to,” he explained.   “The cars lack a tail pipe necessary on the internal combustion vehicles, but they operate on two battery systems, one for the lights, radio and components, and the other for the car itself,” Coleman added. “It seems doable that a half-charged car will be able to travel from Perry Point to Baltimore and then be left to charge while the commuter attends meetings or conducts other business for a few hours before having to make the return trip.”