Pantex plugs in to the future with electric-vehicle additions

  • Posted: Tuesday, January 23, 2024, 7:44 am

Pantex recently received three Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickups.
Pantex recently received three Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickups.

“This is huge for sustainability,” said employee Alicia B. “This will help us in many categories of our sustainability goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions considerably.”

Rising gas prices, shifting consumer priorities and more continue to push Americans into electric vehicles in greater numbers. But what prompted Pantex’s change to new technology? Specifically, it was Executive Order No. 14057.

“There’s an executive order for sustainability that came through in 2021,” Alicia said. “One of the big initiatives in it is electric vehicles procurement. ”

It requires that 100 percent of the light-duty vehicles acquired for the NNSA fleet must be electric vehicles by 2027.”

Pantex employees designed a five-year plan to bring the plant into compliance. The three new Fords are a first step into a planned electrified future.

DOE set up a [project troubleshooting] team with a national renewable-energy laboratory,” explained employee Zac L. “They have been active in reviewing our plans and giving feedback.”

Of course, this transition involves far more than simply buying new vehicles and counting electrical outlets. Before the trucks can reach the hands of their ultimate users, a great deal of testing and evaluation must be done.

“You’ve essentially got [several groups that will] look at it from a safety perspective,” Zac said. They are not alone.

“Before we can charge it onsite, they’re going to have to look at everything … and determine if these will meet our strict safety standards,” Alicia said.

Maintenance and repair bring their own learning curve of procedures and certifications which are much different than current technology. Currently, one site mechanic is certified to work on EVs, but that knowledge will have to expand as the Pantex electric fleet grows.

“Ultimately, it’s a new technology, so people want to verify that it is safe before allowing it to be around the site,” Zac said.