PECO, Philadelphia, PA, is among the first utilities in the nation to test a hybrid bucket truck. The combination diesel and electric powered truck is expected to improve fuel economy up to 60 percent compared to diesel-only fueled trucks. A 45-ft electric and diesel hybrid bucket truck, (the first of its type in the area) was recently put on display at its headquarters in Philadelphia highlighting PECO’s ongoing commitment to the environment and the company’s strategy to deal with the continued high fuel costs. The company estimates total fuel costs for its 1,300-vehicle fleet will increase about 27 percent in 2006 to more than $4.5 million in light of higher fuel costs.
The new hybrid truck will allow the operator to shut off the diesel engine and operate the bucket on an electric motor for up to two hours - reducing noise and fuel consumption. In the future, the use of hybrid vehicles also will help PECO reduce the amount of time a customer is without power. The truck is capable of generating about 25 kW of electricity, providing enough energy to power three to five average-sized homes while crews make repairs and restore service.
The truck joins PECO's fleet of more than 1,300 heavy and light duty trucks and SUVs, including 40 Ford Escape hybrids and six Ford F150 compressed natural gas vehicles. PECO was awarded a grant towards the purchase of the hybrid bucket truck. The grant was supported by The Department of Energy, the Greater Philadelphia Clean Cities Program, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Philadelphia Diesel Difference.