Focus Is on EDI Vehicles with Power Export Capability:
Lessors Will Be Able to Get PHEVs at Conventional Prices
AND They’ll Enjoy the Fuel-Savings Advantages for Ten Years
Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the leaders of a national drive by utilities to electrify their fleets, has helped arrange a new leasing program allowing smaller operators to reap the advantages of fuel-saving plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with power export capability – without paying extra.
The key is the longevity of the PHEV trucks, says PG&E transportation service director Dave Meisel. Because the trucks can expected to last ten years, a new breed of lease is being made available with an unusual ten-year term, long enough to offset the added cost of the vehicles.
“People don’t care how much they pay for a vehicle, they care what the payment is,” Meisel says. He emphasizes that previous lease packages allowing fleets to get hybrids at the same price as a conventional truck were made possible by the fuel savings that went to the lender – the new package allows the fleet operator to reap the fuel-savings benefits himself.
‘You Get to Keep the Operating Savings’
“The plug-in hybrid will have the same payments as a regular vehicle and you get to keep the operating savings,” he told F&F.
PG&E is especially enthusiastic about PHEV trucks with drivelines from Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. They not only save fuel, but have power export capability that’s enough to carry a building or even a neighborhood while routine work, like transformer replacement, is performed, allowing such work to be done with no electricity supply downtime.
Class 5 Now, Class 6 to Come
PG&E has about a dozen such trucks now, mostly Class 5 vehicles on the Ford F-550 chassis, with power export capability of 120 kilowatts, and expects to have around 20 by year-end.
PG&E is working too to line up a vehicle modifier able to produce EDI-drive work trucks on a ship-through basis.
EDI, says founder and CEO Joerg Ferchau, is developing a Peterbilt 337-chassis PHEV with even more export power – 160 kilowatts. EDI is using the smallest available engine, Ferchau says, the Paccar PX-7 (6.7 liter displacement).
Synchronized to the Grid
Ferchau notes that EDI’s P2E (power 2 export) output is conditioned for ease of use by utility crews. “We synchronize frequency with the grid,” he says. “You don’t even pop a circuit breaker.”
EDI said last year that it is using NMC graphite lithium ion energy battery packs from Xalt Energy (F&F, December 21).
Beyond PG&E, Ferchau told F&F, EDI has letters of interest from Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light, and the Southern Company utilities, all of which are interested in a Class 6 variant using the Freightliner M2 chassis.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels interviews with PG&E and EDI