Dec 13, 2022 - 05:09 pm

US Forest Service is testing F-150 Lightning EVs

The US Forest Service is getting ready to decarbonise the fleet, which means replacing 17,000 vehicles by 2035 and nearly 9,000 commercial vehicles by 2027. The agency is, therefore, rigorously testing the Ford F-150 Lightning in a pilot that is the first of its kind.

The pilot underway is to prepare the US Forest Service (USFS) to follow the executive order issued by President Biden in January 2021 (#14057). Biden, at the time, effectively formalised the existing approach to transition all government fleets to zero-emission vehicles, starting in 2027 with light-duty vehicles, with all other vehicle types following suit by 2035. Executives Orders come directly from the Whitehouse and set state mandatory requirements that have the effect of law for the executive agencies with little room to intervene for the opposition.

Therefore, the US Forest Service must get moving; however, its field of work poses challenges, such as the vehicles used in remote areas and sometimes rugged terrain and adverse weather conditions.

And there is the availability of eligible vehicles. Currently, the only EV pick-up truck listed by the Government Services Administration (GSA) is the Ford F-150 Lightning, reports US FS spokesperson Jason Kirchner when speaking to Outside magazine. The General Services Administration manages the federal property and provides purchasing options for government agencies in form of contracts.

The magazine broke the news that the US FS is trialling the base version of Ford’s bestselling electric vehicle, which features a 230-mile range, AWD, and a 2,000-pound payload. Fleet-spec F-150 Lightnings are less expensive than fossil-fueled F-150s for consumers.

The report also collates testing is taking place in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and Maine – known for harsh weather conditions – the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, and the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Michigan. They each have received an F-150 Lightning pick-up truck and are taking them off-road.

The vehicles are being charged overnight, sometimes at a 240-Volt outlet that can be found in forest rest areas, for example.

“The Forest Service is embarking on an exciting study of the first-ever use of electric vehicles in a natural resources field setting,” Kirchner said. “The research will determine the feasibility of electric vehicles in field-work settings, helping the agency determine the right tool for the job when it comes to electric fleet vehicles.

USFS operates 8,775 light trucks, all of which will transition to battery-electric vehicles as they end their expected service lives. However, the agency may be able to add other zero-emission pick-up trucks to the selection by that time. Apart from the Ford F-150 Lightning, the startups Rivian and Lordstown have been working on EV pick-up trucks, among others but keep running into difficulties. via

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13.12.2022 17:14