In order to comply with President Joe Biden’s 2021 Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, the U.S. Forest Service will transition its fleet of over 17,000 fleet vehicles and nearly 9,000 light duty-pickups to electrical.
The new Executive Order calls for a “carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050.” Government agency light-duty vehicles will be required to transition to electric by 2027.
But wait! How might an agency that’s intended to work semi-remotely charge these vehicles? The order outlines that the agencies will also be facilitating “new carbon pollution-free electricity generation and energy storage capacity by authorizing the use of their real property assets, such as rooftops, parking structures, and adjoining land, for the development of new carbon pollution-free electricity generation and energy storage.”
According to Ford Authority, the first step the USFS (which is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) is taking is to test out Ford F-150 Lightning pickups. The agency will be working to optimize its fleet size — three pickups are being sent to national forests in Pennsylvania and Michigan and a forest along the New Hampshire and Maine border.
Throughout the trial, the agency will be piloting studies to determine just how many vehicles they’ll need, how they’ll charge them, and just how much people love (or hate) the idea of electric vehicles.
According to Outside, the F-150 Lightning is the only electric vehicle pickup that’s available to the Government Services Administration, an administration that handles government vehicle acquisitions. The Lightning trucks are supposed to handle a 230-mile range, feature four-wheel drive, and a 2,000-pound payload. Similarly priced to its combustion counterparts, the electric Lightning pickup starts at about $52,000.
Although the Forest Service may not see quite the workload of those owned by many producers, the will still have to operate in remote areas under extreme weather conditions. Reviews on the F-150 Lightning have been mixed so far. A quick search on YouTube finds that the new electric half tons may experience incredibly decreased range when towing and in cold weather.