The Marine Corps Logistics Base has a federal mandate to reduce the fossil fuel burning vehicles and replace them with alternative fuel vehicles.
The base's goal is to have 95% of alternative fuel vehicles in the fleet and that is why they have 147 GEM, or Global Electric Motorcars in their fleet that use alternative energy sources such as solar power, electric power, compressed natural gas, or E-85.
The GEM vehicles come in a variety of configurations depending on the intended usage of the vehicle. Mike Elliot, the MCLB's Fleet Manager says it's important to have options when ordering the vehicles. "When I order them I ask the customer what their needs are and I'm lucky the GEM car will let you do the options so we can get anything they want" says Elliot. The options include two-seaters, four-seaters, flat beds, trucks, and other types of vehicles.
John Miller, MCLB Automotive Supervisor says the GEM's are used everywhere on base. "These are all over the base. Public works, the environmental department, the maintenance center, and we hope the police department will use them soon too" says Miller.
It takes eight hours to fully charge a GEM car and it's as simple as plugging it into a standard electrical outlet. Officials say the vehicles help reduce costs in multiple areas. The maintenance costs less because the cars don't use gasoline or have a combustion engine.
The base received energy credits through the e-meter. "The e-meter tracks the amount of electricity it takes to charge the vehicle so we can document that, record it, and take credit for that being an alternative kind of fuel" says Miller.
Although it looks fun to zip around in the cars, the maximum speed is 25 mph, and drivers are required to have an approved scooter license.
Base officials say they have more GEM cars on the way so they can continue to replace general service administration vehicles so they can be efficient, productive, and environmentally friendly while traveling around the base.