By Shandi Dix, Fort Riley Public AffairsNovember 1, 2010
FORT RILEY, Kan. - There are many "going green" cost-saving initiatives in the U.S., from reusable bags at the grocery store to recycling, to hybrid vehicles to get someone where they need to go on a day-to-day basis.
Fort Riley has taken advantage of many of these initiatives including the operation and use of 16 hybrid vehicles - one being a pickup.
"Hybrid vehicles are very similar to normal vehicles," said Bruce Klaverweiden, garrison fleet manager with the Directorate of Logistics. "(The) difference being hybrids can run on battery-power. The battery is charged as the gasoline engine runs and by re-generative braking. Hybrids can run up to 45 mph on battery power, not using any gas and not emitting any pollution."
The use of hybrid vehicles at Fort Riley is meant to save costs on fuel and comply with the "executive order" to reduce the use of fossil based-fuel and greenhouse gases, he said.
Hybrid vehicles can get up to 41 miles per gallon - up to 50 percent better fuel mileage than non-hybrid vehicles.
"When the vehicle is at a stoplight, the engine is automatically cut off to save gas," Klaverweiden said. "When the accelerator pedal is pressed to 'go,' the engine automatically starts or can take off on battery power. When an engine is idling, your miles per gallon is reduced."
One safety issue with the hybrid vehicles is they run very quietly, so pedestrian traffic cannot hear them as they approach, he said.
And, because the fuel is paid for by the General Services Administration through mileage rate, Fort Riley doesn't see the direct cost-savings.
The Fort Riley hybrid vehicles are assigned to various units, and some are used as general dispatch vehicles.
There are plans to get more hybrid vehicles as replacement vehicles are ordered for next year, Klaverweiden said.
"We will have to see what GSA has on order and what the Army requirements are," he said.
In addition to the hybrid vehicles, Fort Riley also has more than 300 flex-fuel vehicles and 13 low-speed electric vehicles.
The flex-fuel vehicles have the ability to use both regular gasoline and E-85 - a mixture of 85 percent ethanol, which is made from corn, and 15 percent gasoline. However, Fort Riley doesn't have a fueling point for E-85 fuel, Klaverweiden said.
"We have the project submitted and (are) waiting for it to be funded," he said.
The low-speed electric vehicles run on battery power. The batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into a standard 110-volt outlet. However, these vehicles have a maximum speed of 25 mph.