Posted on March 7, 2017

New Plug-In Electric Truck Keeps the Lights on During Outages

By Jason King

Providing safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy is the commitment that PG&E makes to its customers every day. PG&E, in partnership with Efficient Drivetrains Incorporated (EDI), recently unveiled a new exportable power truck that will help the energy company meet all those goals.

A new PG&E work truck combines up to 50 miles of all-electric driving, as well as the ability to power up to 125 homes during outages.

The vehicle is the utility industry’s first Class 6 plug-in electric hybrid truck and features technology that has the potential to fundamentally change how the utility manages planned and unplanned outages.

The truck, developed by EDI in partnership with PG&E, features a plug-in electric hybrid  drivetrain that combines up to 50 miles of all-electric driving with 300 more miles of driving range in hybrid mode. The result is a Class 6 truck that reduces emissions by 80 percent compared to conventional vehicles.

What makes this unit so revolutionary, however, is its exportable power capacity of up to 160 kilowatts. By harnessing the power of the on-board batteries, this vehicle can power up to 125 homes, potentially eliminating planned outages while shortening unplanned outages.

“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 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.”

Based in Dixon in Solano County, EDI has partnered with PG&E on groundbreaking technology in the past, including the successful development and implementation of two different class 5 plug-in electric hybrid truck models in 2014. This new vehicle offers 25 percent more exportable power capacity than its predecessors while maintaining the same electric driving range on a larger platform truck. All of the EDI trucks offer both parallel and series hybrid modes, allowing the vehicle to maximize fuel efficiency in both highway and in-city driving conditions.

PG&E operates the greenest utility fleet in the industry, with nearly 3,500 alternative fuel vehicles, including about 1,500 electric and electric hybrid units.

“We applaud the utility industry’s commitment toward electrifying their fleets in order to reduce emissions and improve the quality of our air,” said Joerg Ferchau, chief executive officer for EDI.

The truck, a flatbed design, will be used to haul materials such as transformers to job sites. PG&E has accepted delivery of two of the units.

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 and worldwide headquarters in the Silicon Valley.

Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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