PG&E and EEI Challenge Utilities to More Than Double Their Current Investment in Electric Fleet Vehicles Increased Electrification of Utility Fleets Can Help Lead the Way for Broader Adoption of Plug-In Technologies
'Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has joined with the country's leading electric utility industry association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), to urge utilities to more than double their current investments in electric utility fleet vehicles - a goal that represents an estimated $50 million of new investment in electric vehicles across the industry and would deliver economic and environmental benefits for utilities and customers.
Over the past five years, the industry has invested approximately $85 million incorporating plug-in electric vehicle (PHEV) technologies into utility fleets, or about 1.7 percent of overall utility fleet spending. PG&E and EEI are calling on companies to raise that investment to 5 percent of their total fleet investment, or approximately $1 billion, starting next year.
The industry is also taking new steps to support utilities working to achieve this goal. EEI has formed an Electrification Task Force designed to provide technical expertise and share industry best practices and case studies from utilities that that have emerged as leaders in fleet electrification. This includes PG&E, which operates the nation's largest fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles and tops the industry with 14 percent of its fleet investment dedicated to plug-in technologies.
'Expanding the use of plug-in technologies is one of the most important opportunities we have as a country to continue diversifying our energy usage and achieve our clean energy goals,' said PG&E Chairman and CEO Tony Earley. 'Electrifying our fleets is about showing consumers that plug-in technology is thriving and delivers real benefits that make sense for us and our customers.'
A newly published white paper from EEI's Fleet Electrification Committee, Utility Fleets Leading the Charge, underscores the business case for utility fleet electrification as well as the full range of PHEVs available for adoption in fleets. It shows that electrification of large utility fleets offers benefits that range from lower operating costs from fuel and maintenance, to extended vehicle life based on their mechanical simplicity, as well as reduced carbon footprint and toxic emissions.
The industry is also stepping up direct efforts to engage fleet operators. EEI will be offering a webinar for fleet leaders on Wednesday, August 6, 2014, to review the available technologies and the business benefits. In addition, operators will have access to a new calculator, developed by University of California-Davis staff based on an Argonne National Lab model, that will help them analyze the total cost of ownership for electric vehicles. Information for the cost calculator and the webinar is available at www.eei.org/electrictransportation.
'Our experience has confirmed that the business case for fleet electrification is solid,' said Dave Meisel, senior director of transportation services for PG&E. 'We are seeing full payback on the increased initial investment in less than five years in most cases. In addition to the fuel savings, we're seeing dramatically lower vehicle emissions and a better on-the-job experience for our crews.'
PG&E has been a long-time leader in incorporating PHEV technology in its own fleet, including pioneering electric power takeoff systems (ePTO) on the utility's bucket trucks. This technology allows crews to operate all on-board equipment, including the aerial device and auxiliary systems, via a series of batteries, eliminating the need to idle the trucks at worksites. In addition, last year PG&E acquired the utility industry's first plug-in electric class 5 utility work trucks from Stockton-based Electric Vehicles international, and is aggressively moving to electrify an even larger portion of its fleet.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.