A government-owned electric vehicle charges at the electric vehicle charging station outside of the Strom Thurmond Building on Fort Jackson. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 directed all Department of Defense agencies to shift all non-combat vehicles to alternative fuel vehicles by 2035. (Photo by Nathan Clinebelle)

Alternative fuel fleet find Fort Jackson

By Emily Hileman, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

You’ve likely seen some interesting structures on Fort Jackson recently. No, they’re not satellites dishes used to contact alien life forms. These structures are charging stations for the growing fleet of Fort Jackson electric vehicle. The installation currently has 10 of the structures in various locations across post. Total, these stations are capable of charging 19 vehicles simultaneously.

These EV charging stations have been installed to charge the recent addition of government-owned electric vehicles. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 created a regulation to shift all Department of Defense non-combat vehicles to alternative fuel vehicles by 2035. This shift is intended to greatly reduce the carbon footprint of the U.S. military.

Nine out of the 10 stations are solar powered (one station is hard wired and is located at the Directorate of Public Works maintenance shop) charging stations with two charging whips. When fully charged, the solar-powered stations are level two stations. But, what exactly does that mean?

There are three levels of EV charging stations. Simply put, the higher the level of charging, the more electricity delivered to the vehicle, leading to a quicker charge.

Level one chargers are the slowest and use typical 120-volt alternating current outlets, the same ones likely found around your home. These can take up to 40 hours to fully charge an EV.

Level two chargers use 208 to 240-volt alternating current outlets. These have to be installed and are the most common chargers. These take between two to 13 hours to fully charge an EV. The ones on Fort Jackson take about eight hours to fully charge a vehicle.

Level three chargers use 480-volt direct current chargers. These are the fastest chargers and can charge an EV from empty to full in as little as 15 minutes. However, most homes and businesses cannot support this level of high voltage. Level three chargers are typically found at car dealerships and highway services.

Just as the new EVs are for government use only, so are the EV chargers.