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News: Plug-in Hybrid Truck Can Help Keep the Lights On

Electrified Powertrain Saves Fuel & Can Provide Power

Power outages are annoying; everyone knows this. Whether caused by unfortunate weather or mandatory maintenance, living without power can become highly inconvenient for those of us who choose to live in or around civilization. Flashlights are always out of batteries, and millennials hardly even know what a candle is.

The California energy provider, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, along with Efficient Drivetrains Incorporated (EDI), think they may have a solution to power problems everywhere, in the form of the utility industry’s first plug-in diesel-electric hybrid (PHEV) Class 6 truck.

The vehicle, developed by EDI with input from PG&E, features a PHEV drivetrain that is capable of up to 50 miles of all-electric driving with an additional 300 more miles of driving range in hybrid mode. The result is a diesel-powered Peterbilt Class 6 truck that can reduce emissions by 80 percent when compared to conventional vehicles of the same class.

The Power Play

However, the truck’s party piece is its ability to export power at a capacity of up to 160kW. By utilizing the power of its on-board batteries, this truck can give power to upwards of 125 homes, potentially eliminating planned outages and shortening unplanned outages.

PG&E PHEV Truck

PG&E Plug-in Hybrid Truck

“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. “Being able (to) partner with a company that operates a manufacturing plant in the heart of our service area will also help us meet our goal of creating economic vitality in the communities we are privileged to serve.”

According to PG&E, the PHEV trucks are expected to cut operational fuel costs by up to 75 percent when driving in all-electric mode during typical daily fleet routes of up to 40 miles.

PG&E has already taken delivery of two trucks and, for day-to-day use, will likely use the flat-bed trucks to haul large materials to and from job sites. After recent scrutiny into potential connections with the Napa wildfires (and general public disapproval), PG&E could really use a win in the public relations column, and this new truck could be just what they need to show that the company is changing. 

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About Author: Nick Zatopa

Nick Zatopa is a contributor at Clean Fleet Report. Nick is heavily into the modified car scene, but has become increasingly interested in performance electric and hybrid vehicles. Currently a student at the University of San Francisco finishing a degree in Media Studies, he has also worked in the automotive industry. Nick lives in San Francisco.

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