HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — In an effort to help reduce its carbon footprint, the 75th Civil Engineer Group Environmental Branch recently acquired a new electric hybrid vehicle. Using a federal government program leasing option the branch acquired a 2018 Chevrolet Volt.
Scott Stoddard, 75th CEG environmental engineer, said during the first two days of use around the base, the vehicle didn’t use one drop of gas even though it was used by 13 different drivers and traveled to 16 different locations.
The Air Force was the Department of Defense leader in renewable energy investment in 2012 according to the Environmental Protection Agency Top 25 list of Green Power Partners and Hill AFB continues to evaluate and bring new project ideas to become more energy efficient.
One way to help is to acquire energy efficient vehicles and bringing one to Hill AFB is especially important, Stoddard said.
“During the winter months, with the inversion, northern Utah has some of the poorest air quality in the country,” he said. “With this car, we can do our small part to improve the air quality and reduce pollution.”
On a full charge, the vehicle offers a 53-mile battery range, and if you exceed those miles, it automatically switches over to use the gas as energy providing an additional 367 miles on a full tank of gas, and giving it a projected 46 miles per gallon.
With this estimated 46 miles per gallon, the car manufacturer expects owners will drive over 1,100 miles between fill-ups by charging regularly. What’s more, the vehicle also recharges its own battery through regenerative braking, which captures lost kinetic energy and transfers it back to the battery.
Stoddard said the mileage is important to the environmental branch because employees make several trips out to the Utah Test and Training Range, which is approximately 200-miles round trip from Hill AFB.
As a result, a charger for the vehicle was installed at the UTTR.
Anya Kitterman, Hill AFB archaeologist, recently drove the vehicle to the UTTR and everything went as planned and expected.
“When it switched to the gas, it was a really smooth ride and got really good gas mileage,” she said.
In addition to reducing the use of the gas and fuel costs, the car saves the government in other expenses as well. Stoddard said the cost of electricity for the first few days of driving the vehicle cost the less than a dollar.
(No federal endorsement of the vehicle manufacturer is intended.)