Con Edison, Lion Electric, and Posi-Plus are developing an electric bucket truck capable of performing the full range of work that utilities require.
Con Edison will take possession of the vehicle in early 2022, running entirely on electricity as it lifts lineworkers and equipment as high as 60 feet for construction, maintenance, and repair work.
"Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are more challenging to electrify than cars, but the purchase of our first all-electric bucket truck shows the market is real today and it will only accelerate from here," said Con Edison Chief Executive Officer Tim Cawley.
Lion Electric, a manufacturer of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles, and Posi-Plus are building the truck to Con Edison's specifications, with a Lion8 all-electric chassis and aerial equipment drive. Delivery of the vehicle in early 2022 will be followed by its use in a pilot program. If this initiative is successful, the bucket truck will be integrated as part of Con Edison's fleet of trucks that maintains the overhead electric system in New York City and Westchester County, New York.
The Class 8 truck will be capable of putting in a full day's work and traveling an estimated 130 miles on a single charge. When not in service, it will top off its batteries in about eight hours using two Level 2 chargers.
As of last year, every new light-duty vehicle Con Edison buys is a plug-in hybrid or electric. The company is exploring a range of technologies to reduce its fossil fuel use in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and it may add more all-electric bucket trucks to its fleet in the future.
Bucket trucks are a critical tool for building and maintaining the electric grid, which is set for major investment and expansion as the country shifts toward cleaner sources of energy. Con Edison owns more than 300 such trucks.
While electric vehicles carry higher upfront costs than traditional gas-powered models today, they can already save money on fuel costs, and battery prices are dropping rapidly. Con Edison's all-electric bucket truck will be quieter than models with an internal combustion engine, and the electrified version won't emit any carbon dioxide or other forms of air pollution.
Utility trucks are often required to spend significant amounts of time idling as they prepare for and perform work, making them a target for electrification.
Con Edison has one of the nation's largest incentive programs to cover costs for bringing electrical service from the grid to electric vehicle chargers, with a goal of 18,500 Level 2 chargers and 450 fast-chargers across its service territory by 2025.