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PG&E Shows Off Plug-in Work Truck That Could Power a Neighborhood |

On Tuesday, PG&E co-sponsored a meeting of the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative in San Francisco. The event gave PG&E, Northern California’s electric utility, a chance to show off their work on developing electric and hybrid vehicles that can play mission-critical roles at electrical utilities. The gathering included a Via Motors VTRUX, Chevy Volt, Ford C-MAX Energi, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Smith EV electric truck, and two “hybrid” bucket trucks. All are designed for specific roles at PG&E, a utility with one of the country’s largest fleets of alternatively fueled trucks.

The purpose of a utility-owned plug-in hybrid truck includes the ability to carry a crew, supplies and tools to a job-site—mostly using electric power rather than gasoline—and then for the truck itself to act as a generator to power the crew’s tools.

After Hurricane Sandy hit last fall, leaving large portions of the New York metropolitan area without power, utility companies across the country scrambled to find generators for disaster response. The person at PG&E tasked with handling their response, Dave Meisel, Senior Director of Transportation and Aviation Services, also happens to be leading the company’s electrification efforts. That work includes developing a plug-in hybrid utility truck that could play a big role in disaster response. After a major disaster, utility companies send generators to affected regions, connecting each generator to a neighborhood-sized piece of the grid, so that one neighborhood at a time can be brought back online.



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