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Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plans to invest one-third of its annual fleet purchases in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) over the next five years, totaling more than $100 million.
PG&E operates about 1,400 plug-in electric and electric hybrid vehicles, one of the largest fleets of plug-ins in the nation. The company currently dedicates about 15 percent of its fleet budget to plug-in electric technology, many times the five-year industry average of 1.7 percent.
The $100 million commitment will add more than 750 plug-in electric units to PG&E’s fleet of over 14,000 vehicles, roughly double the current pace.
Over and above the reduced carbon footprint and lower tailpipe emissions, PG&E has found that plug-in electric vehicles offer a wide-range of benefits, from lower operating costs for fuel and maintenance to extended vehicle life.
PG&E leads the utility industry in incorporating PHEV technology in its own fleet, including pioneering electric power takeoff systems (ePTO) on the utility’s “bucket trucks.” This technology allows crews to operate all on-board equipment, including the aerial device and auxiliary systems, via a series of batteries, eliminating the need to idle the trucks at worksites.
In addition, last year PG&E acquired the utility industry’s first plug-in electric class 5 utility work trucks from Dixon-based Efficient Drivetrains Incorporated. PG&E is now working on the deployment of the utility industry’s first class of bucket trucks with plug-in electric drivetrains.