Straight Talk: Electric cars

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
This is the last Straight Talk before the end of the year, so I wanted to take the opportunity to wish you all a safe and joyous holiday season. The year has been full of blessings for me, and I am looking forward to a happy and healthy 2011. We are kicking off the new year with yet another way for you to share your ideas on base issues. Check out the new 66th Air Base Group commander Facebook page at Read on for someone else who is looking toward the future.

Question: It's becoming clear that fully powered electric cars will be on the market in earnest by 2012, and it won't take long for volume production to lower them fairly quickly, making them readily available to most of the commuting public. Since many of these cars will not have small gasoline engines to recharge their batteries, the base gas station will be of no use to them. Is Hanscom prepared for this coming evolution? Charging posts or outlets supplying 110/220 volts will be needed, as well as a method to charge a fee for the electricity use to recharge these cars. Further, parking spaces just for electric cars will be necessary assuming there are charging posts available. Are the base support groups even discussing such potential changes?

Response: It is exciting to think of all the wonderful changes that will happen in our world even in the next five to ten years. I am glad you are thinking ahead with respect to the initial difficulties electric car owners will face. (Do I see a Christmas present here?) I spoke with the AAFES general manager here at Hanscom and AAFES does not currently have a timeline for accommodating these new types of vehicles. Constructing and energizing recharging stations will be a complicated and expensive process, but, as always, AAFES will be striving to meet customer needs and demands. As these cars become more and more common, I am confident that AAFES stores will rise to the challenge.

From a government vehicle perspective, Hanscom led the way in the 1990s with a small fleet of electrically-powered, government-use pickup trucks as part of a research agreement between the Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Northeast Alternative Vehicle Consortium. We would be a ready and enthusiastic participant in any future initiative to accommodate electric vehicles should the opportunity arise. In the meantime, we are working diligently to capitalize on opportunities to reduce our overall energy consumption as a base and appreciate the efforts of all Hanscom personnel in achieving our energy reduction goals.