Fort Leonard Wood’s Directorate of Public Works (DPW), in conjunction with utility partner, Laclede Electric Cooperative, is installing the post’s first electric vehicle charging stations.
The initial seven stations — with more set to come — will provide charging capabilities for the electric vehicle fleet that will eventually replace all non-tactical government-owned vehicles on post, part of an Army directive in line with a presidential order that requires the U.S. Department of Defense to transition its non-tactical vehicles to a 100 percent zero-emission fleet.
According to Jeannie Belew, with DPW’s Municipal Services Branch — which helps oversee utilities contracts for the installation — the goal is to gradually electrify the post’s fleet of about 540 non-tactical vehicles by fiscal year 2026.
Two electric cargo vans have already arrived, Belew added, with 14 more EVs on order and expected this year.
“The full conversion to EVs will be gradual,” she said. “Gasoline-fuel vehicles will exist alongside the new EVs until the conversion is fully complete.”
The agreement with Laclede — who will own, operate and maintain the charging stations on post for a monthly fee — will ensure there is an ample number of charging locations to meet demand, said Installation Energy Manager William Wibberg.
“Working with this partner saves the installation on the manpower to maintain and manage these systems,” he said. “For a simple monthly fee, Laclede Electric will work to keep the government’s new charging stations fit to serve the ever-expanding electric fleet.”
The stations being installed are what’s called Level Two chargers, which use a 240-volt power supply and can typically add 10 to 20 miles of range to a light-duty EV per hour of charging time, Belew said.
The initial charging stations will be located across the post cantonment area, including Bldgs. 470, 752, 3202, 5260, 5267, 6100 and 11400, Belew said. The plan is to have two designated parking spaces near each station, which can charge a maximum of two vehicles at a time.
As technology in the energy sector continues to push forward, Fort Leonard Wood is on the forefront of embracing these new initiatives, Wibberg said, noting around 30 percent of the United States’ energy needs and 70 percent of its petroleum consumption fall in the transportation sector.
“The electrification of the government’s fleet is an excellent first step to reducing these demands and will serve as an example for those wishing to follow suit,” he said. “We are starting the change which will influence the future for years to come.”