Grand Coulee Dam Buys 27 New Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles at Grand Coulee Dam

The folks who run the Grand Coulee hydro-electric dam thought so have gotten together with e-ride industries to put a fleet of purely dam-powered electric utility vehicles into service at the dam.

Based in Princeton, Minnesota, e-ride is a manufacture of neighborhood electric vehicles — a category of vehicles, like the Gem, that is limited to a top speed of 25 mph and requires no state registration or driver’s license to operate — that includes some 2 and 4 passenger utility models that look like a cross between a Jeep, a Hummer, and an ATV.

The company calls them “electric utility vehicles,” and the inexpensive, lead-acid battery equipped trucklets have a range of up to 55 miles. For service at the Grand Coulee Dam, however, the EUVs have been fitted with lithium-ion batteries, and so should have even longer range while carrying up to 1,000 pounds of stuff around, as well!

According to Inside EVs, the trucks for Grand Coulee Dam were specially outfitted. “After they brought their needs to us, we outfitted a vehicle specifically for them with a high performance package, with the full enclosure, toolboxes, ladder rack and pull out bed tray,” says Kurt Bauerly, e-ride Industries general manager.

The EUVs are perfect for the kind of driving done to maintain the dam. The high torque electric motors are ideal for getting people and equipment up steep slopes. Electric vehicles are not only emissions free, they are ideal for the many short trips in and around the dam project — trips that were tough on gas powered vehicles.

The Bureau of Land Reclamation that looks after the dam used to spend $100,000 a year on gasoline and diesel fuel by switching to electric vehicles. Now, the department has eliminated that expense and substituted vehicles that have a reputation for needing far fewer mechanical repairs than their internal combustion cousins. Deputy power manager Doug Anderson says, “It’s a large power complex and not very far from place to place, but there’s an awful lot of small trips, short trips that employees make each day. That’s hard on vehicles and a poor use of a fossil fuel powered car.”


e-ride EUVs at Grand Coulee Dam

Source | Images: e-ride, via Inside EVs.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.