Saturday, March 6, 2021

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PG&E Joins with EDI to Unveil Utility Trucks Capable of Shortening or Eliminating Electric Outages

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Efficient Drivetrains Incorporated (EDI) unveiled two fuel-efficient work trucks today that promise innovative operation and the use of ground-breaking technology. One has the potential to eliminate the need for planned outages and lessen the impact of unplanned ones; the other allows for the operation of a bucket and other auxiliary systems without requiring noisy engine idling.

The vehicles, developed by EDI in partnership with PG&E, feature a plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) drivetrain that combines 30 miles of all-electric driving with 300 more miles of driving range. The result is a Class 5 work truck that reduces emissions by 80 percent compared to conventional vehicles.

  • One of the trucks can provide up to 120 kW of exportable power, enough to power a neighborhood while repairs are being made by electric crews. To put this technology in perspective, nearly 80% of the transformers in PG&E’s service area are 120kW or less, meaning that the vehicle’s exportable power capacity is “right-sized” for PG&E’s needs.
  • The second truck comes with Altec Industry’s electric power take-off (ePTO) technology, which allows operation of the bucket and other auxiliary systems without needing to idle a noisy diesel or gasoline engine at a jobsite.

Both EDI and Altec have manufacturing facilities in Dixon in Solano County where today’s event took place. The vehicles and their respective technologies are expected to go into production soon.

In addition, these vehicles are the industry’s first to also offer both parallel and series hybrid modes, allowing the vehicle to maximize fuel efficiency in both highway and in-city driving conditions.

“These vehicles were custom designed to meet PG&E’s goals of both electrifying its utility fleet and to utilize that on-board generating capability to fundamentally change how the utility manages electric outages,” said Joerg Ferchau, chief executive officer for EDI. “PG&E had an extremely ambitious vision for a new vehicle, and Efficient Drivetrains (EDI) was able to offer a solution that met their goals.”

PG&E and EDI also unveiled a Class 5 PHEV bucket truck that they partnered on with Altec Industries, featuring a customized version of Altec’s Jobsite Energy Management System (JEMS). This technology allows crews to operate all onboard vehicle equipment, including the boom, climate control, lights and other auxiliary systems off of the onboard batteries, eliminating the need to idle the trucks while at jobsites. PG&E has been using this technology on its Class 5 and Class 8 bucket trucks for nearly 5 years, and last year saved nearly $750,000 in fuel costs when compared to conventional bucket trucks.

“These cutting-edge trucks not only will help us reduce our fuel costs as well as our carbon footprint, but in the event of an outage, we would be able use their exportable power capacity to supply electricity to homes and businesses,” said Dave Meisel, senior director of transportation and aviation services for PG&E. “In addition, being able partner with two companies with manufacturing plants in the heart of our service territory will also help us meet our goal of creating economic vitality in the communities we are privileged to serve.”

EDI, a California-based clean technology success story, was founded in 2006 and began operation in 2007 with a small government loan from the State of California. Since that time, they’ve grown into a multi-million dollar company, commercializing hybrid and electric drivetrain solutions, continuously variable transmissions, and drivetrain software for automotive manufacturers worldwide. In addition to their US presence, EDI exports electric vehicles to China, and attracts foreign investment from China to support local jobs. EDI has operations in Dixon, California and worldwide headquarters in the Silicon Valley.

 

PG&E currently operates 942 Class 5 vehicles, including bucket trucks, flat beds, and other service trucks. If the utility were to replace all of those vehicles with EDI’s plug-in electric hybrid models, the utility would save nearly $3.5 million in fuel costs and reduce GHG emissions by over 9,000 metric tons annually. PG&E operates the greenest utility fleet in the industry, with nearly 3,500 alternative fuel vehicles, including approximately 1,000 electric and electric hybrid units.

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