Green Mountain Power (GMP) has placed the company's first hybrid bucket truck into service. The vehicle runs on a combination of biodiesel and batteries, and will dramatically cut emissions and fuel usage, according to the company.

The addition of the hybrid truck to its fleet underscores GMP's ongoing commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and embracing clean energy technologies.

According to Rebecca Towne, Green Mountain Power's fleet manager, "The new truck will help us meet our ambitious green transportation goals at GMP. In the last three years, we've improved fuel mileage 25 percent through the purchase of smaller vehicles and hybrids, and two conversions of hybrids to plug-in hybrid vehicles. We also encourage our employees to reduce idle time, plan routes carefully, and use the most efficient vehicle for each trip."

With the new hybrid technology, GMP expects to: 

  • Reduce fuel usage up to 60 percent.
  • Lower idling time by 87 percent, saving fuel and reducing noise.
  • Lower maintenance costs due to reduced use of the diesel engine.

"Our customers will immediately notice the difference if the hybrid truck is operating in their neighborhood," Towne said. "Lineworkers generally need to run the truck motor to use equipment on the truck. But the hybrid can run off batteries for up to 20 minutes when the truck is parked and the bucket is in operation. This reduces inefficient idling, noise, and exhaust at the jobsite."

The hybrid system recovers and stores energy normally lost during braking by charging batteries. At low speeds, the charged batteries power an electric motor that assists the diesel engine to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions.

Head Lineworker Fran Racicot is impressed with what the truck has to offer. "The lower noise level is one of the biggest benefits for both the workers and our customers.  I operated the boom on this truck for nearly an hour, and the engine kicked on briefly just a few times. When you add in the positives of less exhaust and better mileage, I think this is going to be a nice truck for us," said Racicot.

GMP continues to add hybrid vehicles to its fleet as older trucks and cars need replacement. 

"This cutting edge technology is a great step for Vermonters. It reduces our operating costs, which ultimately benefits customers, and also directly contributes to the improvement of Vermont's carbon footprint. This is an important investment in the future of transportation," said Towne.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet