BY DIANN M. OLSON – MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Oahu – The first Hawaiian electric vehicle rally stopped at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Dec. 31 to present the base commanding officer, Col. Robert Rice with a letter of appreciation for his promotion of energy independence.
The sun reflected off the paint of two exotically designed Tesla Roadsters as they passed the Pacific War Memorial and parked nearby.
Under the immaculate body of these electric cars is a beastly 288 horsepower engine that can thrust the vehicle from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
Rice got to experience the power for himself.
“The car feels like a race car, not a light electric vehicle,” said Rice. “It has a lot of power.”
Electric cars are independent of carbon-based fuel, and they run solely on an electric engine.
The rally included two Tesla Roadsters and an electric Ford Escape. Parked next to the rally cars was an E85 flex-fuel vehicle, a B20 tactical vehicle, an electric service vehicle and a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from MCB Hawaii’s motorpool.
After the brief joyride, Rice accepted his letter of appreciation for, “outstanding efforts in moving Hawai’i giant steps closer toward energy independence [and for] implementing clean technology in Hawaii.”
The base motorpool has 70 flex fuel vehicles, three hybrids, 30 electric vehicles, and three hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, all which serve to help the base reach its goal of energy efficiency by 2015.
In addition to MCB Hawaii’s alternative fuel vehicles, Combat Logistics Battalion 3 has two tactical HUMVEES, which use B20 bio-diesel, a combination of cooking oil from the base’s chow hall and conventional diesel.
According to Henk Rogers, president of the Blue Planet Foundation, making the switch to non-carbon-fueled vehicles will help not only the base, but the nation.
“We can’t continue to depend on [foreign] oil, for environmental, economical and strategic reasons, and that’s a big part of what [Rice] is helping with,” Rogers said.
In November MCB Hawaii opened the first E85 fueling station in the islands.
The base is also looking to open a hydrogen fill center in the spring, said Christopher N. Colquitt, alternative fuel vehicle fleet manager, Hawaii.
2nd Lt. Diann M. Olson is the Media Officer at MCB Hawaii