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New U.S. Navy Electric Trucks Sport Solar Panels

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Capt. John Coronado, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii, takes a two-passenger Vantage electric cargo van for a spin around the command's main transportation compound. The truck is one of 36 NAVFAC purchased to replace aging vehicles. (U.S. Navy photo by Thomas Obungen)

They may not be sexy in a Top Gun kind of way, but the U.S. Navy’s continued investments in clean technologies for use throughout its operations recently extended to Pearl Harbor via 36 new electric vehicles. These new two- and four-passenger trucks and cargo vans are from Vantage Vehicle International out of California, who get the chassis for the vehicles from China and add the electric components at their domestic location.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii specifically has taken the three dozen electric vehicles into its inventory and plans to first distribute them to outfits already making use of slow moving vehicles and who have electric charging stations in place. All of the models from Vantage Vehicle that are in this mix operate at a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour and have a range of around 40 miles, depending upon operating conditions.

While not meant to be sleek electric rides like a Tesla Model S, the new NAVFAC EVs do have a few basic things as features such as hard doors, windshield wipers, air conditioning/heat, radio and instrument gauges. They can be charged via standard 100 volt outlets, taking four to six hours for a battery to be fully ready to go.

In a rather practical design feature, each of this electric maintenance vehicles is also equipped with a roof-mounted solar panel, according to NAVFAC, to reduce time and resources at the charging station, while extending battery life and usage.

“These SMVs offer a safer and smarter alternative to the smaller, outdated neighborhood electric vehicles that have been in use for the past 10 years,” said Capt. John Coronado, NAVFAC Hawaii commanding officer, in a statement. “A range of 40 miles and maximum speed of 25 mph make them perfect for commuting in and around JBPHH, transporting people, tools, and supplies to keep our fleet ready.”

To supplement what’s been purchased, plans are in place to buy more of these vehicles in the future. In addition, new charging stations assisted by photovoltaic systems on their roofs are on track for installation at NAVFAC Hawaii’s main transportation compound.

–Nino Marchetti

This post originally appeared at EarthTechling and was republished with permission.