Transportation electrification: Investing in the future

Transportation electrification: Investing in the future

Also at EUFMC, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) brought a Class 5 “connected” bucket truck, developed in partnership with Altec and Telogis, that combines electric power take-off (ePTO) and communications technology. ePTO technology allows crews to operate systems without having to idle the engine.

A key development for the PG&E truck is in its battery pack. Rather than using lead-acid batteries, the ePTO system is powered by lithium-ion magnesium batteries, which last up to 20% longer and are smaller, lighter and more energy efficient. The vehicle also features a solar panel for mobile battery charging that under typical operating conditions PG&E says will increase battery life by up to 25%.

“Vehicle as a Hub” communications tools on the PG&E truck developed in partnership with Telogis combine features that encourage safe driving habits, improve productivity and allow for mobile management of fleet resources. The software utilizes in-cab alerts to notify drivers of unsafe behaviors, including speeding, harsh braking and not using seat belts. PG&E will be introducing the feature on 1,000 existing fleet vehicles beginning in July.

In addition, the technology makes it possible for maintenance needs to be identified in real time. As the vehicle sends diagnostic information to the shop when an issue arises, fleets can ensure the reliability of assets and provide the lead-time necessary for parts and shop availability.

“The cutting edge package of technology featured on this vehicle helps us better manage a wide range of issues, from driver behavior to vehicle maintenance to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dave Meisel, PG&E’s senior director of transportation and aviation services. “We are constantly working to identify technologies to help us better manage our fleet while protecting the environment, and this truck is a prime example of that commitment.”

“We must continue to innovate, invest and work closely with regulators, automakers, and other partners to develop policies and best practices that will allow electric transportation to flourish,” Kellen Shefter said. “EEI is requesting each member utility dedicate 5% of its annual fleet purchases to plug-in vehicles. In many applications, this choice already makes economic sense, and it’s an investment in the future.”

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