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DOD Prototyping EV Chargers for Fleet, Personal Vehicles

As electric vehicles continue to transform the ground transportation landscape across the nation, the Defense Department will need to provide EV chargers to enable on-installation EV usage.

The Defense Innovation Unit has partnered with the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Army Reserve to pilot installation of modern EV charging technology across eight military bases in the United States. 

Leveraging a combination of Level-2 and Level-3 chargers, which offer the midrange and fastest charging capabilities, respectively, this pilot project will enable charging for both government and privately owned vehicles, said Benjamin Richardson, DIU Energy Portfolio director. 

Once the on-base charger installation phase is complete, DIU will run a yearlong analysis to measure usage; uptime; vehicle types, be they government or personal; wait times; and mean time to repair, Richardson said. 

The project will also evaluate the viability of "charging-as-a-service" payment models, wherein personal vehicle charging revenues defray DOD EV infrastructure investments, he said. 

"By increasing the number of chargers on military bases, DOD is creating the infrastructure needed to expand EV usage, which will minimize carbon emissions in the long run," he said. "Upon successful completion of the pilot, DOD partners intend to rollout chargers to other bases across the United States." 

DIU received 44 responses to the EV Charger Project solicitation. A panel of DOD subject matter experts facilitated a rigorous commercial solutions opening and down-select processes, resulting in the selection of seven vendors for the EV charging effort, Richardson said. 

"The Navy-DIU EV pilot serves to advance innovation with key partners across Navy Installations by testing and implementing solutions to challenging electric vehicle infrastructure goals," said Keith Benson, director of Energy-Navy Installations Command. "This effort builds upon existing Navy workplace charging policies; aligns with Executive Order 14057 and delegation of authorities; and represents the first Navy Energy Program pilot with DIU." 

The DOD partners selected TechFlow, a San Diego-based company with expertise in renewable energy projects, to complete the first eight pilots. 

DIU leveraged its commercial solutions opening to rapidly launch an electric vehicle support equipment program, bringing new vendor partners to the DOD. 

"EV technology is not novel, but its use in military installations is, especially when combining Level-2 and Level-3 chargers for overnight and fast-charging use cases within the same military base," Benson said. "We’re excited to help with the military’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint by making EV charging for government and service members more accessible than ever."

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