For more than two decades, we have actively incorporated more efficient and sustainable transportation technologies into our vehicle fleet. Today, we are investing in a range of electric, natural gas and hybrid vehicles and other high-efficiency technologies to reduce emissions, operating costs and dependency on petroleum-based fuels.
As part of our commitment to reduce our operational footprint, we continue to incorporate innovative new vehicles into our fleet. This includes partnering with our bucket truck manufacturer to develop and test a first-of-its-kind plug-in battery-powered system that meets the operational needs of our fleet with a smaller environmental footprint. At the job site, the battery quietly and efficiently powers the truck’s hydraulic lift and heating and cooling equipment—avoiding the need to idle the vehicle.
We are also working with Via Motors to deploy an extended range pick-up truck, which we expect to achieve nearly 100 miles per gallon.
This vehicle joins plug-in hybrid material handlers, all-electric service body trucks and more than 25 Chevrolet Volts. PG&E's fleet also includes nearly 900 compressed natural gas passenger cars, pickups, vans, and trucks.
To support these new vehicles, PG&E has installed more than 80 electric vehicle charging stations at different locations across our service area. We are also adopting energy-efficient LED vehicle lighting as the standard for our fleet to reduce overall electricity use.
Engaging with Customers
At PG&E, we recognize that owning a plug-in electric vehicle is a significant purchase and we are helping our customers with this important transition. For example, our online calculator helps customers understand the potential costs and savings of plug-in electric vehicle ownership. Customers can enter information, such as their choice of vehicle, their predicted average monthly usage and their charging schedule, and then see the projected electricity costs and gasoline savings.
PG&E also continues to support the use of alternative fuel vehicles by our customers with fleet vehicles. For example, we helped fund the purchase of California's first plug-in hybrid diesel-electric school bus in the Napa Valley Unified School District.
Flexibility and Mobility During Emergencies
In support of our focus on safety, PG&E has deployed mobile command vehicles that can be used to respond to emergencies and protect public and employee safety. When a gas or electric emergency happens, the vehicles will be on-site, not only providing valuable information to the crews in the field, but also as a presence that customers can see. The vehicles serve as an extension of PG&E’s Emergency Operations Centers and incident command facilities.
The larger mobile command centers are capable of supporting major emergencies for extended periods of time. The vehicles are built on a 40-foot bus chassis and can house a dozen people for days or weeks, if needed, to address any emergency needs. Like their van counterpart, these units are some of the most technologically advanced vehicles in production.
Leveraging Training through the PowerPathway™ Program
In preparation for the addition of new hybrid and electric vehicles to PG&E's fleet, the PowerPathway™ Clean Tech Vehicle Training Network taught our fleet mechanics how to safely repair and maintain the new trucks and cars.
Using a "train-the-trainer" approach, PG&E master mechanics trained instructors at several community colleges, who, in turn, trained PG&E fleet mechanics. The partnership with community college instructors will also help take curriculum knowledge back to our communities. Instructors will be using the techniques gained from teaching our fleet mechanics and sharing it with their own students at local community colleges, developing technical skills and creating career paths.
Providing a Fueling Network
PG&E's network of natural gas fueling stations includes 32 compressed natural gas stations and one liquefied natural gas station, most of which are open to customers.
The combined use of natural gas in PG&E's vehicle fleet, along with the fleets of our customers, avoided the use of nearly 18 million gallons of petroleum in 2011, which equals the avoidance of approximately 790 tons of NOx, 60 tons of particulate matter and more than 59,000 tons of CO2 on a well-to-wheel basis.