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Johnson Says New Electric Fleet Program Lays Foundation for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

As prepared for delivery

Remarks by
Martha Johnson
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Electric Vehicle Program Launch
Washington, DC
May 24, 2011

Thank you for that generous introduction. I’m honored to join Chair Nancy Sutley [of the Council on Environmental Quality] and Energy Secretary Steven Chu as we celebrate today’s purchase of the government’s first 116 electric vehicles. These cars will go to 20 agencies, including the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense both of which are represented here today, in five cities across the country.

I’m also delighted to be here because I began my career working on the factory floor of an engine company in Indiana, so I’ve seen the developments and evolution of the auto industry first-hand. It’s exciting to be here to recognize this next chapter.

At GSA, our mission is to provide an effective, sustainable, and transparent government for the American people. We support agencies so that they can support our great nation.

As part of that mission, we design and maintain federal buildings across the country, and we help manage the acquisition of goods and services for the federal government – including the procurement of nearly 400,000 vehicles used by federal agencies.

This puts us in a unique strategic position to help the government invest in advanced technology vehicles. Already, GSA has made serious progress in integrating more fuel-efficient vehicles into the federal fleet. In the past year alone, we have doubled the number of hybrid vehicles across the government, replacing old cars with new, fuel-efficient ones. These purchases have led to a 25 percent increase in the fuel-efficiency of the fleet, saving taxpayers $9 million per year.

The electric vehicle program we launch today is the next big step. It furthers the administration’s goal of putting 1 million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015, and it represents a significant, targeted investment in the next generation of automotive technology.

Importantly, GSA is approaching this program in a strategic and coordinated way, leveraging our expertise across our enterprise – in both real estate and acquisition – to deliver the best value to agencies and to taxpayers.

On our acquisition side, we have issued three contracts for electric vehicle purchases, and GSA is purchasing 116 vehicles off of those contracts to lease to 20 agencies across government.

These first vehicles are expected to save more than 29,000 gallons of gas, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 260 tons, and save taxpayers more than $109,000 – every single year. And since agencies can now use those contracts to purchase more vehicles, we anticipate even greater savings for federal agencies and even better value for the American people.

But we aren’t stopping there. To power these new vehicles, GSA is leveraging its role as the leading federal real estate manager and is installing electric vehicle charging stations at federal buildings in five cities across the country.

The ripple effect of this deliberate and coordinated investment is vast and stretches across different industries and markets. By laying the foundation for federal electric vehicle infrastructure, GSA is supporting both the electric vehicle industry as well as other, associated industries, such as advanced battery research and recycling.

And this, in turn, supports American innovation.

Two months ago, I was able to tour a facility in Lancaster, Ohio, where, thanks to a Department of Energy grant, a company called ToxCo is developing one of the first electric vehicle battery recycling centers in the country. This company exemplifies the kind of leading-edge thinking that we are eager to support, and today’s investment does exactly that.

It broadens the electric vehicle market, which, in turn, will increase the production of battery research and production. More batteries on the road will mean that more batteries will need to be recycled, and that translates into a real business boost to firms such as ToxCo.  

Finally, and at an even broader level, our purchases will help build the technological framework required to support electric vehicle integration across the country and throughout the economy.

The federal purchase of these vehicles and the accompanying plug-in infrastructure is exciting, and broadens our investment in advanced technology vehicles. It is certain to deliver value to federal agencies, boost a vital new industry, spur competitive innovation, and bring solid savings to taxpayers.

It is now my pleasure to deliver a set of electric vehicle keys to Secretary Chu. These are the first of many that will be delivered to the Department of Energy and other agencies that will help save millions of dollars and set a course for a sustainable federal fleet.

Thank you.

Click here to read a news release about the Electric Vehicle Pilot Program launch.

Click here to read a fact sheet about the Electric Vehicle Pilot Program.