Smith Electric Vehicles Selling Electric Trucks to the U.S. Marines

Back in January, electric delivery truck maker Smith Electric Vehicles was approved to be listed as a GSA supplier, qualifying it to sell trucks to the U.S. Government and Military.  Yesterday they announced the sale of two trucks to the U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton, the first sale through this GSA approval.

Trucks may be boring and unexciting, but they are the workhorses of the economy.  Many of the trucks roaming around our cities and even U.S. Military bases operate on known routes where range limits are not a problem so long as the daily driving fits within the vehicle range.  Smith in particular is targeted to supply fleet owners, and has already seen sales to Frito Lay, Coca Cola, AT&T, Staples, and others.

This purchase is part of the U.S. Government strategic prioritization to create a clean energy economy.  In October 2009 President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 requiring that government agencies (and the Military) track greenhouse gas emissions, set targets for greenhouse gas reductions, reduce energy intensity, increase use of renewable fuels, and more.  The U.S. Marines themselves have a goal of reducing total energy use by 30% by 2015.

These goals aren’t just touchy feel good measures.  There are real national security issues behind them, which were outlined in a September 2010 report by the Center for a New American Security.  Fully 77% of the Dept of Defense energy use is petroleum to fuel vehicles.  Petroleum overwhelmingly comes from outside the U.S. and the U.S. Military is at risk of being held hostage by the foreign powers who supply it with fuel.

“Dependence on petroleum for 94 percent of transportation fuel is also a dangerous strategic risk for the United States given the leverage oil can provide to supplier countries. Many European allies have experienced such leverage in action with Russia periodically threatening to reduce or cut off natural gas exports to countries highly reliant on their supplies (and in some cases carrying through with these threats).”

This sale of two trucks to the Marines is obviously a drop in the bucket, but it’s a step in the right direction.

David Herron
Green Transportation Examiner

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