The initial pilot will include installing an XL Fleet hybrid system onto a GMC Sierra 2500 HD pickup truck and GMC Savanna Express van. - Photo: XL Fleet

The initial pilot will include installing an XL Fleet hybrid system onto a GMC Sierra 2500 HD pickup truck and GMC Savanna Express van.

Photo: XL Fleet

XL Fleet announced that Essential Utilities, Inc., a publicly traded water, wastewater, and natural gas provider in the U.S., serving approximately 5 million people across 10 states under the Aqua and Peoples brands, is launching a pilot program to electrify its two most popular commercial GM vehicle platforms with the XLH hybrid electric drive system.

The initial pilot will include installing an XL Fleet hybrid system onto a GMC Sierra 2500 HD pickup truck and GMC Savanna Express van, two of Essential’s most widely deployed vehicles in its water and natural gas divisions for applications including Customer Service, Field Service, and Distribution.

“Essential has a strong and growing commitment to sustainability, and XL Fleet’s hybrid system provides an innovative way for us to reduce emissions without sacrificing the mission-critical performance of our fleet vehicles,” said Charles Stevenson, Vice President of Fleet Operations at Essential. “I personally drove XL Fleet’s hybrid-equipped Silverado 3500 HD demo unit during our preliminary trial and recorded a fuel economy improvement of well over 30%, which is impressive for a vehicle of that size and weight. If this pilot program is successful, we will be able to substantially reduce our fuel costs and lower emissions by scaling our deployment of these vehicles starting next year.”

Essential, headquartered in Bryn Mawr, Pa., deploys a fleet of approximately 2,500 of these vehicles across 10 states. If the pilot is successful on the first two platforms, Essential plans on electrifying a larger percentage of its fleet with XL Fleet’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric drive systems beginning in 2021.

“XL Fleet’s electrified powertrain technology is a perfect fit for companies like Essential, who are looking to immediately electrify their fleet vehicles, but also have demanding drive cycles and performance requirements that need to be met,” said Brian Piern, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at XL Fleet. “We are excited to be partnering with Essential as they begin their journey toward a more sustainable fleet.”

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