Altec Industries opened its new “Green Fleet” facility east of San Francisco yesterday, attracting Dixon, Calif. Mayor Jack Batchelor, U.S. Congressman John Garamendi, and executives of Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison — two key utility customers.
A PG&E purchase commitment prompted Alabama-based Altec’s decision to expand in California.
Altec will assemble work trucks with equipment including its battery-powered and hence idle-eliminating JEMS aerial lifts at the 42,000-square-foot Dixon plant.
JEMS stands for Jobsite Energy Management System. JEMS trucks burn less fuel and they are quieter, allowing for more flexible operations, improved crew communication and safety, and longer vehicle life.
“Altec and PG&E are establishing a sound environmental approach not only for California but for the entire country,” Altec chairman and CEO Lee Styslinger said at the opening.
PG&E has 272 JEMS-lift vehicles, and said in Dixon that it plans to buy 281 more by the end of 2014.
“We’re shifting away from the use of gasoline vehicle to more electrification,” said Des Bell, senior VP for safety and shared services at PG&E. “We do not want to rely on petroleum-based products.” Bell said that PG&E’s non-JEMS trouble trucks consume some 30% of their fuel while idling.
“This is an enormously important national security issue,” said Garamendi, a Democrat representing California’s 10th Congressional district . “We’re strengthened by the commitment that Altec has made to Dixon,” he said, terming the new facility “a major step forward in greening our economy.”
Smaller trouble trucks with Altec JEMS lifts employ adsorbed glass mat lead acid batteries, while larger trucks use lithium ion batteries, currently supplied by Nevada’s K2 and Dow Kokam, Altec says Green Fleet market manager Mark Greer told F&F in Dixon. Altec is determining what type of batteries to offer for mid-size trucks, and may well offer both lead acid and lithium ion options, he says. Engineers are also working on ways for hybrid drive trucks to share battery packs with JEMS aerial devices.
Candidate vehicles for driveline hybrids include Eaton-Drive parallel hybrid electric vehicles, Odyne-Drive parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and Via Motors series plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
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