The Electrical crew in Region 1 has a new truck; but its not just any truck, it is a hybrid! The new Freightliner M-2 diesel/electric hybrid bucket truck is the first of its kind at ODOT and it is exciting everybody, especially in terms of fuel reduction capabilities. The unit is estimated to get between 9 to 12 MPG, compared to an equivalent sized non-hybrid unit that only gets 7 to 9 MPG. The truck also incorporates idle reduction technologies, including, a 340 volt PEC (battery pack) that powers the electric power take off unit (ePTO) which runs the hydraulic system that operates the man-lift boom for approximately 30 minutes a cycle before the engine automatically starts to charge the battery pack for 8 minutes, then turns off again. The PEC (battery pack) is charged by regenerative braking and off throttle coasting.
If the man-lift were to be used continuously for 4 hours, the engine would only run for about 32 minutes as opposed to running at high idle for 4 hours straight with a non-hybrid ePTO equipped unit. Reducing the idle time by nearly 3.5 hours on a 4 hour project provides huge monetary savings, in terms of reducing fuel consumption. When you factor 1 gallon of diesel consumed per 1 hour of idle time, with the price of diesel at or about $4.50 a gallon, running the truck for the 32 minutes costs only about $2.25 compared to $18.00, that’s 8 times more expensive to run the engine for the full time. The significant reduction of idle time also represents a reduction of exhaust emissions which not only benefits the environment, but benefits the health and safety of ODOT workers who now don’t have to inhale exhaust fumes over the entire 4 hours of the project.
This is a great acquisition for ODOT, not only representing a savings in fuel usage, but also helping reduce ODOT’s impact on the environment by limiting idling and reducing emissions.