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Hanscom going green with electric vehicles

Senior Airman Alec Cope, a ceremonial guardsman with the Patriot Honor Guard, plugs in a hybrid vehicle at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., June 2, 2016. The 66th Logistics Readiness Squadron recently unveiled the plug-in electric hybrid vehicle and charging station during an open house. The vehicle complies with President Barack Obama's federal government directive to become more energy efficient with the Defense Department’s vehicle fleet. (U.S. Air Force photo/Linda LaBonte Britt)

Senior Airman Alec Cope, a ceremonial guardsman with the Patriot Honor Guard, plugs in a hybrid vehicle at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., June 2, 2016. The 66th Logistics Readiness Squadron recently unveiled the plug-in electric hybrid vehicle and charging station during an open house. The vehicle complies with President Barack Obama's federal government directive to become more energy efficient with the Defense Department’s vehicle fleet. (U.S. Air Force photo/Linda LaBonte Britt)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- In efforts to save energy, the 66th Logistics Readiness Squadron recently unveiled Hanscom Air Force Base's first plug-in electric hybrid vehicle and charging station.

The vehicle complies with President Barack Obama's federal government directive to become more energy efficient with the Defense Department's vehicle fleet.

"The 66th Logistics Readiness Squadron is committed to complying with this directive by greening the vehicle fleet at Hanscom Air Force Base," said Scott A. Morey, the 66th LRS Vehicle Management Flight chief. "As traditional gas-only vehicles exceed their life cycle, we will replace them with hybrid vehicles across the installation."

With the addition of the base's newest plug-in electric hybrid, seven of the 11 sedans are now hybrid vehicles.

A hybrid vehicle utilizes more than one form of onboard energy to operate. The vehicle has a traditional internal-combustion engine and a fuel tank like traditional gasoline vehicles. It also has an electric motor and battery pack that utilizes electric bits to collect and reuse energy that normally goes to waste in standard cars.

The plug-in electric vehicle is built similarly, but allows the operator to switch the car's operation between electric and/or gasoline only.

To accommodate the plug-in vehicle, an electric charging station was installed earlier this year on base to support General Services Administration vehicles. This will provide the base with the capability to add additional electric vehicles as part of the government fleet in the future.

"The charging station recharges battery-powered cars or pluggable hybrids such as the Ford Fusion Energi and other plug-in GSA vehicles," said Thomas Schluckebier, the 66th Civil Engineering Division director. "Funding for the station came through a 2015 Massachusetts energy gift in support of the commonwealth's effort to reduce vehicle-related fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions."

Last year, Obama issued an executive order for the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost 42 percent through 2025. It is estimated that these carbon reductions will save taxpayers up to $18 billion.

"This newest vehicle to Hanscom's fleet demonstrates to the taxpayer that we are handling their money responsibly, but also that we are dedicated to greening the vehicle fleet," Morey said.

The Patriot Honor Guard, which has four vehicles assigned, three of which are hybrids, was assigned Hanscom's first plug-in electric based on their mission to perform funeral details throughout the region.

"The honor guard teams travel a lot throughout the year performing military funeral honors for our veterans throughout New England," said Master Sgt. Kevin Connors, the Patriot Honor Guard superintendent. "Through this electric hybrid, and the other hybrid vehicles we were already assigned, we are able to achieve greater fuel efficiency and do our part in reducing the amount of gashouse gas emissions."

Other ways the base is demonstrating a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is through the Hanscom Commuter Management Office and the van pool program, according to Scott Sheehan, a 66th CED environmental engineer.

"Based on the number of commuting miles that have been eliminated by the more than 300 employees participating in the program at Hanscom, we estimate that greenhouse gas emissions have been cut by 4.6 million pounds per year," Sheehan said.