UNITED STATES — The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has started the process of replacing its fleet of 17,000 vehicles with fully electric ones by 2027.

Currently, the agency is field testing three Ford F-150 Lightnings in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest, Michigan’s Huron-Manistee National Forest and the White Mountain National Forest, which covers both New Hampshire and Maine. Due to the nature of the USFS work the vehicle chosen must be able to operate in remote areas and extreme weather conditions.

The USFS’ effort to have a fleet of only electric vehicles is in compliance with President Biden’s Executive Order 14057, “Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Economy Through Federal Sustainability.” The order requires all new federal agency light-duty vehicle acquisitions to be zero-emission beginning in 2027, and acquisitions of all other vehicle types to be zero-emissions by 2035. 

The light-duty vehicle category in the executive order includes anything a normal consumer might buy: pickup trucks, sedans and vans. Medium and heavy-duty vehicles include things like buses, construction equipment and fire trucks. 

According to Outside Magazine, the F-150 Lightning is the only EV pickup truck currently available through the Government Services Administration (GSA). The GSA fleet provides safe, reliable, low-cost vehicle solutions for federal agencies and other eligible entities.

During testing, the USFS is using the base version of the Ford Lightning, which reportedly features a 230-mile range, four-wheel drive and a 2,000-pound payload.

As the Forest Service transitions to a fleet of electric vehicles, significant infrastructure investments from the agency will not be necessary because the trucks will be operated in a fleet setting and will be recharged each night at a fixed location. The only requirement to charge these electric vehicles will be a standard 240-volt outlet. Additionally, fleet-spec F-150 Lightnings cost less than basic consumer-level ICE F-150s.

The Forest Service will continue to operate its 8,775 light trucks until their normal service lives end and will only then begin to replace them with electric vehicles.

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.