Big DOE-Backed Plug-in Hybrid Work Trucks Roll

Odyne Systems is the company that turned up on EarthTechling the other day in a piece about turning massive Ford F-750s into plug-in hybrids. If you read the story, you might have wondered: Who buys this sort of truck? Well, now we know. Odyne just put out word that it had completed five truck systems in a program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), giving insight into its customers.

But first a quick review of Odyne: Its PEHV system, with electric motors from Remy, is touted as being lighter, smaller and more powerful than other truck hybrid systems, while being able to save fuel both while driving and even when at job sites. That’s because the Odyne system is the only hybrid system, the company says, that will power the trucks’ air conditioning and heating systems while their engines are off. That means no idling and wasting gas just to keep the cab warm at a work site. All told, the vehicles are said to reduce fuel consumption by up to 50 percent.

plug-in hybrid trucks, Odyne Systems

image via Odyne Systems

According to Odyne, customers for the trucks are:

  1. Choptank Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy cooperative based in Maryland. They purchased their hybrid bucket truck with a Terex HR42M aerial device, which is used for the maintenance of electric power lines. Choptank Electric is the first cooperative to obtain this vehicle.
  2. Consumers Energy, a natural gas and electricity provider to 6.8 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents. They purchased their bucket truck with a Terex 5FC55 55’ aerial device and a Remy HVH 250 motor.
  3. NiSource, a utility provider in Northern India purchased their bucket truck with a Terex TL41 aerial device, which is for the construction and maintenance of their electricity grid (power lines, transformers, etc).
  4. NV Energy will use the underground utility vehicle they purchased with a Vanair underdeck compressor for the maintenance of underground natural gas infrastructure in Reno, Nevada.
  5. Pepco Holdings Inc purchased their underground utility vehicle with a Vanair underdeck compressor for the maintenance of underground natural gas infrastructure.

Dueco did the final-stage manufacturing and made delivery of the trucks, Odyne said. According Odyne, it and Dueco received a $2.9 million OOE cost-share award in 2009 to develop an advanced plug-in hybrid system for trucks over 14,000 pounds.

Nicholas Brown is a regular contributor to and created, which he wrote all the articles on. He has a keen interest in electricity generation and energy storage technology, as well as in household appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators.

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