Transportation & Logistics International - Winter 2017 - 22
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
absolutely believe there needs to be a
plug-in hybrid pickup truck. You have
to deal with that platform if you want
clean air emissions. As an industry,
we've skirted the edge with small cars,
but we haven't gone into the work vehicles. That's one of the biggest things for
our country and industry."
That belief led Meisel's team to work
on the Ford F-550 truck, which is the
No. 1 work vehicle used in the utility
industry. It is bigger than a traditional
pickup truck with a bucket on the back
that lifts workers to the power line,
and it's used as the primary emergency
response vehicle. Because the truck
powers the bucket, it spends a lot of time
idling. "We took a different approach:
What if we could electrify all that?"
Meisel says. Now, the bucket controls, as
well as the heat and air conditioning, are
Idle mitigation was the first step, and
then PG&E developed the plug-in hybrid
truck that can go 50 miles on a battery
with no emissions or fuel consumption.
It has increased fuel efficiency by 200
percent. After that, the company built
components to export that power. If
workers are on a jobsite, they don't have
to purchase generators. They can simply
plug into the truck.
"For exportable power, we've developed technology to export that power
and power the grid with it, but it won't
spike up or down," Meisel explains.
"The same vehicle that's a plug-in truck
can also be used to power the grid in an
event of an emergency. After a storm,
you can go to the circuit, plug in your
truck and power the entire neighborhood with it. Each technology adds
another important piece to the puzzle.
Not many kinds of technology allow
you to dual-purpose something - all for
virtually no incremental cost. The cost
benefit becomes better because we have
the ability to use it a lot, and we're find-
TLIMAGAZINE.COM WINTER 2017
ing more ways to use that technology
than we ever thought possible."
PG&E is considered an industry
leader in alternative field technology.
The company has worked on many
projects for other companies and major
automotive manufacturers. It is even
tasked with giving guidance and testing
products before an OEM goes to market.
But being at the forefront of vehicle
technology can create challenges.
For one, Meisel explains, people might
not trust new technology right away and
prefer not to change from the old ways.
Therefore, transitioning to something,
even if it might be better, creates a
distinct learning curve for workers.
Secondly, PG&E still must contend with
funding to develop new technology as
it's not a cheap task. "A lot of companies
want new technology but are unwilling to fund it and will let others do the
leading work and reap the benefits,"
Meisel says. "But we'd prefer not to wait
for someone to develop something. We
like to lead and invest the time. We are
consistently working on that new tech-
nology, so we're either working within
our own budget or the grant side. "
Lastly, developing the technology
involves several stages and processes,
and a commitment to providing the
necessary resources. "If you want the
technology to change, you have to stay
after it and allocate resources to it," he
says. "You don't have extra people just
lying around to do it, so it becomes extra
work. It's exciting to work on but still
incremental work and time."
Efficient Drivetrains Inc. offers advanced high efficiency
PHEV and EV drivetrain systems and sophisticated control
software in combination with optional AC Power export
and idle mitigation solutions to enable vehicle OEMs and
modifiers to rapidly and cost effectively introduce superior
hybrid and electric vehicles to the market.
EDI's PowerDrive™, PowerSuite™, and Power2E™
solutions provide significant size, cost, and weight
advantages and also best-in-class performance and efficiency. Systems provide multiple electric drive modes
combined with both series and parallel hybrid modes
(or electric only modes) to maintain peak efficiency in
any driving condition without drivers needing to change
their traditional behavior.
Available for Class 2-8, EDI's drivetrains can be combined with various levels of power export, 2-way charging,
engine off/idle elimination modes and can include
comprehensive telematics for fleet management, remote
diagnostics, or maintenance support. EDI arms its OEM and
modifier customers with the advantages they require to
win in their markets. www.efficientdrivetrains.com