In the high-stakes world of military operations, where precision and efficiency are paramount, grasping the capabilities of electric vehicles (EVs) takes on a new level of significance. This is true due to an Executive Order calling for all federal fleets to be zero-emission electric vehicles by 2035. Included in this order, the Pentagon has mandated that all non-tactical vehicles in their fleets will be electric by that date too. This includes all the non-combat fleets of all military branches.

This makes understanding the capabilities of EVs paramount to military personnel. Just as troops rely on well-maintained equipment for success, having a solid grasp of an EV's range is crucial when using military fleet cars. While drivers might be familiar with miles per gallon (mpg), it’s time for military personnel to understand an EV's battery capacity, efficiency, and range to ensure optimal performance.

Know Your EV Range: The Military Perspective

Knowing the distance your vehicle can cover on a single charge is comparable to understanding fuel efficiency in traditional vehicles. MPG is the standard unit for gas car efficiency. We know a small, lightweight, compact car with a 4-cylinder engine can achieve 30-40 miles per gallon. When hauling heavy loads or equipment, the fuel efficiency of a large work truck or SUV can be as low as 8-10 mpg. In most instances, we know that if we have to go 100 miles, we are probably safe buying four to five gallons of gasoline before moving on. And in most areas, there’s no shortage of gas stations should we need to top off.

Equivalent Measure: Energy Consumption Per Mile

For electric vehicles, military personnel will need to monitor their energy consumption per mile. This measurement, expressed as kilowatt-hours (kWh) used per 100 miles driven, provides insight into an EV's efficiency. For instance, an EV might use 34 kWh per 100 miles.

To calculate the range per mile, divide:

100 miles ÷ 34 kWh = 2.9411… In this example, the car uses 2.94 kWh per mile. (This is its efficiency.) 

When traveling with a fleet EV from your military installation, it’s crucial to understand the battery size and efficiency since, unfortunately, charging stations are not yet as prevalent as gas stations. Assuming a battery size of 100 kWh, the estimated range would be around 294 miles. Different EVs have battery sizes ranging from 40 kWh to over 100 kWh, with the average as of this writing being 60-70 kWh. It’s also important to remember that an EV's efficiency can decline when faced with demanding situations that require more power.

Strategic EV Charging Decisions

Military personnel may have limited access to charging stations due to the nascent development of charging infrastructure. Just as knowing fuel levels is crucial, determining an EV's charge level is vital. If an EV approaches a fast charger with around 50-60 miles left, rounding the car's energy consumption to 3 kWh per mile would indicate the need for about 20 kWh. Similarly, if the battery is at 25% capacity and the goal is 75%, acquiring 50 kWh would add approximately 150 miles of range.

Military Efficiency at a Glance

As an EV driver, you will benefit from understanding an EV’s energy usage just as much as you would in knowing a gasoline car’s fuel efficiency. If you have access to the window sticker on a new EV, it will contain some vital information, provided by organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This includes charging times and annual energy cost. This knowledge assists military personnel in optimizing their EV driving time. If you don’t have access to the sticker on a fleet vehicle, it’s important to note that this information is readily available by searching the car’s make and model online.

Innovation for EV Infrastructure

To support military operations, CoverSix has introduced a cutting-edge EV charging solution. The ModEV fast charging station, designed to enhance military charging infrastructure, can simultaneously charge multiple EVs at high speeds. This modular unit comes with advanced features, including security systems, user interfaces, and energy-efficient components. Rapid deployment of this technology ensures that military personnel have reliable and efficient charging options on the country's network of military bases.

Since it is modular in nature, all work is completed before it leaves the factory, which means that once it’s delivered and connected, it’s ready to operate in a day. Potential sites for the charging stations have far less prep work to put the charging station in place. The units can be placed on existing concrete or other level surfaces, keeping in mind an area to accommodate a 20 ft container, and traffic flow. ModEV could be installed on any military base, and practically anywhere the military has a presence.

Embracing the EV Advantage

As the military embraces the shift toward electric mobility, understanding EV range is an essential skill for maximizing fleet car efficiency and effectiveness. With advancements in charging infrastructure and a keen awareness of EV capabilities, military personnel can confidently transition to a more efficient and sustainable mode of transportation.

If you're ready to supercharge your military EV fleet cars, download our pdf for more information.