The transformation of America’s transportation sector to decarbonized, net-zero emissions operations is well underway. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has been leading the charge in this area through its research and now also through the ongoing electrification of its own vehicle fleet.
Argonne has recently received the inaugural Green Fleet Award from DOE. The award recognizes the laboratory’s best-in-class efforts to electrify and eliminate the emissions of its fleet of both light- and heavy-duty vehicles. The award also provides the lab an additional $100,000 to support further efforts to build a greener vehicle fleet.
“Whether its purchasing new vehicles or continuing to build out our charging infrastructure on site, this award will help us continue to meet the goal of 100 percent zero-emissions vehicle acquisitions by 2035,” said Karyn Andersen, Argonne’s interim sustainability program manager.
Argonne’s fleet comprises just shy of 120 vehicles, from fire engines to minivans. Replacing light-duty vehicles with electric options has been easier than replacing heavy-duty vehicles, and Argonne has ordered eight brand new electric cars this year to join its fleet. Once these vehicles arrive, more than 10 percent of Argonne’s fleet will be zero-emission vehicles.
The vehicles in the Argonne fleet are leased through the General Services Administration, which means that the laboratory can maintain a more up-to-date fleet and doesn’t have to pay the whole upfront cost of a vehicle.
According to Argonne fleet specialist Dawn Ferrazzi, the laboratory has begun to see a wider variety of options of electric vehicles available for lease. In addition, supply chain issues that had plagued Argonne’s vehicle acquisitions for the past couple of years have begun to abate, and it has become easier for the laboratory to acquire zero-emissions vehicles.
Argonne has been pursuing the process of electrifying its fleet for a number of years thanks to its ongoing electric vehicle research efforts. The laboratory has maintained on-site charging infrastructure for more than a decade, Andersen said. “We are very well positioned to support fleet electrification through electric vehicles as we’re able to procure them,” she said. “We do a really good job of maintaining both the vehicles and the charging infrastructure to bring us closer to our net-zero goals.”
The monetary award from the Green Fleet Award will primarily support the further development of Argonne’s on-site charging infrastructure, said Argonne fleet manager Jackie Dearborn.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.