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First Utility in US to Own and Operate Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Bucket Truck

Adams Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, will be the first utility in the United States to own and operate a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) bucket truck.

“To our knowledge,” says Steve Rasmussen, Adams Electric’s CEO/general manager, “no other utility has such a material-handling vehicle. That makes Adams Electric a national leader in efficiency and environmental investment. Because final assembly was done in York, Pennsylvania, it also lays the groundwork for a Pennsylvania-based service center for this technology.”

DUECO, Incorporated, in conjunction with ODYNE Corporation, the leading developer of advanced Plug-In hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology has developed the PHEV propulsion system for the vehicle that minimizes fuel use and emissions found in a typical aerial lift truck. When at a job site, batteries can power all boom hydraulic functions and the climate control system for a full work day, without the use of the diesel engine. This means reduced noise from engine idle and elimination of any emissions while in battery mode. The hybrid bucket truck has a stock diesel engine and stock transmission.

The batteries require an eight-hour charge time. When the truck returns to the garage at the end of a work day, it is plugged into a three-phase, 240-volt outlet. The batteries recharge during off-peak hours using lower-cost electricity. The system can also be recharged at any point with the conventional diesel engine. The system provides the fuel efficiency and emission enhancements typical of a hybrid vehicle, while the truck is traveling to and from the work site.

Fuel cost estimates for the new hybrid bucket truck are half those of a non-hybrid truck. The ability to recharge the batteries at off-peak times offers significant savings.

In addition to the hybrid features of the PHEV bucket truck, the bucket can be lifted two extra feet after the boom is in place; it has a 55-foot vertical bucket reach, a 36-foot horizontal bucket reach and a 12-foot telescopic extension on the upper boom; the bucket can rotate around the boom 90 degrees; and the jib can lift 1,000 pounds. The total payload of the vehicle is 7,500 pounds.

Since its early days, the cooperative’s rural roots meant promotion of energy conservation and environmental stewardship. Now the co-op has a visible method of spreading the word, with a unique hybrid color scheme and signage. The new bucket truck, a rolling billboard with an essential job function, will be a daily reminder of efficiency and conservation in the communities it serves.

Adams Electric Cooperative is a non-profit, member-owned electric utility serving over 30,000 homes, farms and businesses in the counties of Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York in Pennsylvania.

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