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PG&E Receives New Electrified Vehicles

December 2, 2013 in Electric Drive, Fleet Order by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

First Class 8, EVI Ford F-550, and Via Motors Pickup Delivered,
West Coast Utility’s Fundamental Goal Is to Reduce Its Fuel Use

San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric has taken delivery of new hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that promise to significantly reduce fleet fuel usage. The new trucks include the utility’s first Class 8 hybrid, its first Ford F-550 PHEV by Electric Vehicles International with UQM driveline, and the first production range-extended electric pickup from Via Motors.

Ford F-550 modified for plug-in hybrid electric operation for PG&E by EVI, Stockton, Calif.-based Electric Vehicles International

Ford F-550 modified for plug-in hybrid electric operation for PG&E by EVI, Stockton, Calif.-based Electric Vehicles International

PG&E showed the vehicles at an event preceding the San Francisco International Auto Show, which opened on Thanksgiving Day. The EVI Ford F-550 and Via pickups were displayed inside as well.

Dave Meisel, the utility’s senior director for transportation and aviation services, says PG&E gets around 13 miles per gallon on its conventional Chevrolet Silverado pickups, and that it has approximately 3,500 vehicles of the type. The Via plug-in version promises MPG in the mid-20s.

What’s Not to Like?

“If I can get 100% improvement in MPG, why wouldn’t I?” Meisel asks.

The Via truck is also to achieve about 40 miles of all-electric range, and Meisel anticipates that perhaps 70% of the miles his crews drive will use no gasoline at all.

Peterbilt 348 with Allison H 3000 drive as viewed from the Altec AM55 lift.

Peterbilt 348 with Allison H 3000 drive as viewed from the Altec AM55 lift.

The Via vehicles also feature exportable power capacity of up to 25 kilowatts, PG&E notes. That feature is useful to power tools without idling and can also provide power for building in the case of service outages.

“I don’t do technology to do technology,” Meisel told F&F. “We’re in the wire and pipes business, not the fleet business.”

Also on show in San Francisco –and expected to contribute to PG&E savings –  was the Class 5 EVI-built, UQM-drive REEV, for range extended electric vehicle worktruck, developed with the support of the California Energy Commission. PG&E says it accepted delivery of the first of these vehicles in August. The REEV features an all-electric range of 45 miles and fuel savings of up to 30% percent when run in hybrid mode.

The first of the Ford F-550-based EVI F-550 plug-ins will have 50 kilowatts of exportable power, to be boosted to 120 kilowatts, EVI said.

PG&E said it operates 942 Class 5 vehicles, which include its trouble truck fleet, “and would save $3.5 million in fuel costs and reduce GHG emissions by over 9,000 metric tons annually by replacing those units with these models built right in the heart of its service territory.”

PG&E’s First Hybrid Class 8

Fleets & Fuels editor Rich Piellisch as viewed from the Peterbilt 348 with Allison H 3000 drive. Kamasu Livingston photo

F&F editor Rich Piellisch as viewed from the Peterbilt 348 .. Kamasu Livingston photo

Gathering perhaps the most attention last week was a Peterbilt 348 material handler truck with the new H 3000 parallel hybrid electric drive from Allison Transmission – a first-of-its-kind vehicle that was shown for the first time at EUFMC, the Electric Utility Fleet Manager Conference vehicle expo in Williamsburg, Va. this past spring (F&F, May 31).

The vehicle has lithium ion batteries from Delphi and a battery-powered 55-foot (AM55) Altec aerial lift.

PG&E says it owns and operates 412 material handers, and that it anticipates fuel savings of 25% with the hybrid version, which could translate into savings of nearly $600,000 per year. The first unit is being put into service in Oakland.


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Source: Fleets & Fuels with PG&E in San Francisco

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