Obama Administration Launches First Federal Electric Vehicle Pilot

June 1, 2011

Photo of a car with a wire attached to it on a city street.

One of the EVs purchased by the General Services Administration for use in the federal fleet gets a charge in Washington, D.C.
Credit: DOE, Charles Watkins

President Obama issued a presidential memorandum on May 24 that directed federal agencies to implement fuel-efficient and innovative fleet management practices. In conjunction with the memorandum, the General Services Administration (GSA) launched a pilot project to incorporate electric vehicles (EV) and technologies into the federal fleet. GSA also announced its initial purchase of more than 100 EVs, which DOE and other agencies will lease. These steps move the U.S. government closer to meeting the goals set by the president's 2009 executive order requiring the federal government to purchase only alternative fuel vehicles by 2015 and to cut petroleum use 30% by 2020.

In the memorandum, the president specifically directed agencies to determine optimal fleet size and provide recommendations for adding alternative fuel vehicles. The memorandum also requires agencies to establish a goal for the size and composition of the federal fleet as well as a plan to achieve this target by 2015. In creating the EV pilot, GSA conducted a bid competition among vendors and awarded contracts for Chevrolet, Nissan, and Think City vehicles. As the pilot program continues, other companies may bid to become eligible for future purchases.

As part of the effort, DOE is helping to lead the way by expanding its use of hybrids while reducing its fleet overall. In addition to reducing the use of petroleum in its own vehicles, the department is also working closely with the private sector to transition commercial fleets to alternative, fuel-efficient technologies. Under the National Clean Fleets Partnership, DOE is helping companies to reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets. See the DOE press release, the presidential fleet memorandum, the GSA EV pilot program Web page, and the National Clean Fleets Partnership Web page.