The airfield ground Support Equipment (SE) that handle, service and test aircraft comprise a significant number of vehicles on Department of Defense installations. Currently, these vehicles are nearly all driven by internal combustion engines using carbon-based fuels. Electric vehicles offer benefits such as improved energy efficiency, reduced scheduled maintenance, reduced unscheduled maintenance (lower engine wear at idle and fewer moving parts), increased performance (greater torque from full stop), and a positive impact to the environment (reduced emissions and noise). The objective of this project is to perform a study to determine what vehicles and infrastructure is needed and/or available to support the electrification of Naval Aviation SE for shore-based maintenance sites. This would include analysis of current diesel-powered SE, battery-powered replacements, and the electrical infrastructure at shore based Navy and Marine Corps sites. The output of this effort will be an electrification roadmap used to inform cost-efficient infrastructure investments, as well as identify and overcome barriers to the fielding electric mission SE in the Fleet.
The rapidly increasing technical maturity of electric vehicle (EV) components has led to growing commercial and consumer adoption, attributed to a 90% decrease in the cost of EV batteries alongside similar improvements to specific energy and energy density. While the state of the art for EV batteries has trended toward solid state battery development, the commercial standard of lithium-ion and lithium polymer batteries have already enabled the benefits in maintenance, efficiency, performance, and environmental impact.
Further performance and efficiency increases are projected through 2030, increasing the likelihood of technology transition into Naval Aviation SE. To investigate this possibility, the necessary levels of economic and technical performance must be identified. This project will baseline current equipment usage against commercial and state-of-the-art EV technologies to determine the optimal point of transition.
The expected benefits include reduced schedule and unscheduled maintenance hours, reduction in parts ordered to affect repair, improved energy efficiency, improved component reliability, improved motor performance, and reduced environmental emissions and noise impacts.