Spartan Delivery and Service Vehicles, a business unit of Spartan Motors, Inc., which encompasses the Utilimaster go-to-market brand, showcased an innovative walk-in van specifically designed for underground utility maintenance, featuring hybrid electric auxiliary power, at the 2016 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) in Williamsburg, Va.
At EUFMC, Utilimaster is demonstrating a network underground service walk-in van that incorporates two key pieces of technology designed to make utility worksites greener, quieter, and more comfortable for workers. The Odyne plug-in hybrid battery technology feeds auxiliary power to utility maintenance equipment, while an onboard air exchange system provides workers in underground vaults with cooled or heated fresh air, from above.
“Driving innovation is a priority across all Spartan Motors business units. Our team at Utilimaster has delivered a product that is purpose-built to address the unique needs of the customer in the utility industry,” said Daryl Adams, President and CEO, Spartan Motors. “This vehicle can be deployed directly into a utility fleet when it comes off line at our Bristol, Indiana campus.”
At the work site, the Odyne system significantly reduces engine idling, with its associated fuel cost, maintenance, and emissions. This technology allows utility maintenance personnel to operate tools and other equipment with batteries that provide up to 28 continuous kilowatt hours of power, without the need for a separate diesel generator. The hybrid battery-powered system also eliminates the need for frequent engine restarts to charge batteries, resulting in a quieter work site and extended work hours.
“This plug-in hybrid system fits right into the green initiatives that have become standard practice at many utility companies,” said John Forbes, president, Utilimaster. “Compared to diesel/gasoline-powered generators, powering equipment with an electric system reduces greenhouse gases by 50% or more. Fuel and maintenance cost savings are significant, too – up to $10,000 per year.”