PG&E Sees Hybrid Promise, Odyne Offers Hybrid Vehicles
Utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric see the promise of both fuel savings and improved service capabilities from such electrified vehicles as plug in hybrids, and companies like Odyne stand ready to supply them.
That was the word from fleet manager Ned Biehl of PG&E and sales chief Matt Jarmuz of Odyne at last week’s Electrify Your Fleet webinar. The hour-long session was hosted by Fleets & Fuels publisher Gladstein, Neandross & Associates as GNA gears up for ACT Expo 2015 in Texas.
The webinar was sponsored by EDTA, the Washington, D.C.-based Electric Drive Transportation Association, an ACT Expo 2015 partner. The Electrify Your Fleet webinar was moderated by EDTA membership manager Michael Wilbur.
Jarmuz outlined Odyne’s strong relationship with Allison Transmission (a non-majority Odyne owner) and the “minimally intrusive” design of its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Odyne installs HVH250 motors from Remy and lithium batteries from Johnson Controls at facilities in Butler, Wisc. and in Ontario, Calif.
Export Power from Batteries
The motors provide launch assist that improves vehicle performance while reducing fuel burn, and the battery power (Odyne offers 14.4- and 28.8-kilowatt units) “allows us to work fully electric at the jobsite,” Jarmuz said. The all-electric operation reduces both noise at the site and wear on the vehicle engines.
PG&E has ordered two Odyne-equipped digger derrick trucks, Jarmuz said.
PG&E fleet manager Biehl said at the webinar that the utility has the largest alternative fuel fleet in the industry, including electric power takeoff (ePTO) vehicles and biodiesel – approximately 1,200 units in a 10,000-vehicle fleet.
‘The Wire and Pipes Business’
“First and foremost,” he said, “the technology must meet the operating needs of our business. “We’re not in the fleet business. We’re in the wire and pipes business.”
“No fuel or technology can provide a single solution,” Biehl said. “We have to have a very blended technology portfolio.”
He explained that the stability of electricity costs, and the fact that hybrid vehicles can travel on convention fuels when necessary, are critical considerations. “When it comes to emergency response,” he said, we have to be prepared to go anywhere within our service area.”
More Export Power from Engines
Biehl noted too that PG&E is extremely interested in vehicles with large ePTO capability, up to and beyond 120-kilowatts – “they game-changer.”
Such trucks, now being proven as prototypes, allow maintenance like transformer replacements to be performed without interrupting electrical service. PG&E is expected to buy at least ten more such vehicles this year (F&F, March 6).
Odyne will exhibit at ACT Expo, which takes place May 4-7 in Dallas. Jarmuz is slated to speak at a conference session on medium and heavy duty EV technology on the morning of Thursday, May 7.
The next ACT Expo webinar, Optimizing Engine Efficiency, hosted in concert with event partner NACFE, the North American Council on Freight Efficiency, will be held April 15 at 2:00pm Eastern/11:00am Pacific time.
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Source: ACT Expo webinar with Fleets & Fuels follow-up