SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) celebrated National Plug-In Day at three Bay Area events Sunday by showcasing the utility's first extended-range electric truck with manufacturer VIA Motors.
All manner of electric vehicles amassed at events in San Francisco and San Rafael, both sponsored by the Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association, and in Cupertino, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Electric Auto Association. The gatherings of cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters and bikes highlighted the clean-air benefits and cost savings of EVs.
PG&E offered ride-alongs in its VTrux from VIA. In Cupertino, the truck powered the public-address equipment for the stage as well as a vendor booth--demonstrating the vehicle's exportable power capacity. This ability to serve as a "mobile generator" makes the VTrux particularly valuable, said Dave Meisel, director of transportation services for PG&E.
"VIA's new truck has the potential to radically transform the electric utility business," Meisel said. "Not only will it deliver fuel-cost savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, it could potentially alter the way we provide electricity to our customers."
The first-generation trucks have 15-kilowatt capacity, roughly the equivalent of a generator for a small or medium house; that amount could increase in future models. Ultimately, the trucks could act as backup power sources to shorten planned or unplanned outages and boost the electric grid when needed.
With a 402-horsepower electric motor and lithium-ion batteries, the vehicles have an electric range of up to 40 miles. Then, their gasoline engine allows them to travel 350 more miles. Each VIA truck could result in a savings of $2,700 a year in fuel costs for PG&E, Meisel said.
PG&E's transportation fleet includes 3,100 alternative-fuel and high-efficiency vehicles, including compressed natural gas, bio-diesel, electric and hybrid units.
"PG&E is committed to doing its part in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector," Meisel said. "Since 1995, our alternative-fuel fleet has displaced nearly seven million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel and helped prevent more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere."
PG&E joined with VIA Motors in 2008 to develop the extended-range electric vehicle, or eREV. Last year, PG&E tested two eREV trucks as part of the utility's overall electric utility fleet. Based on the positive results of that test, PG&E received the first pre-production models of the VTrux this month, with full-production models available in early 2013.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)