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Friday, May 20, 2011

Deal for first 100 government EVs almost done

The Obama administration is putting the finishing touches on its purchase of the federal government’s first 100 electric vehicles, a U.S. Department of Energy official said today.

Patrick Davis, a program director at the department’s vehicle technologies program, told a Senate panel: “The administration shares your commitment to upgrading the federal fleet and is finalizing the procurement of 100 electric vehicles.”

Last fall the General Services Administration asked automakers to bid on supplying the first 100 EVs for federal purchase.

GSA spokeswoman Sara Merriam declined today to say when the purchases would be announced, which models and makes are involved, when the vehicles would be delivered or which federal agencies would get them.

The Nissan Leaf EV and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid are the only current offerings by major automakers, but several more models will arrive from a number of companies in the next 18 months.Davis testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as it considered legislation to provide grants to communities to install charging infrastructure.

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers spokesman Wade Newton said: "We’re supportive of governments leading by example when it comes to new technologies."

GSA doubled the federal hybrid fleet over the past year as part of an administration effort to cut the government fleet’s petroleum use 30 percent by 2020, Merriam said. Of the 600,000 vehicles GSA operates, fewer than 2 percent are hybrids.

In fiscal 2009, which includes most of President Obama’s first year in office, the government purchased 4,888 hybrids, up from 618 bought in fiscal 2008, Merriam said.

The figure rose to 7,022 hybrids in fiscal 2010, she said.

Obama has said that starting in 2015, every car the government purchases for its fleet will have alternative-fuel technology.

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