One year after introducing the first extended-range electric pickup truck for utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and VIA Motors today showcased the utility industry’s first extended-range electric sport utility vehicles and cargo vans. Both offer PG&E the potential to provide mobile, on-site power to help manage electric outages and minimize disruptions for customers.
These Extended-Range Electric Vehicles, or eREVs, currently feature 15-kilowatts (kW) of power capacity, enough to serve the needs of a medium-sized house. A utility-grade output module, now in development, will provide 50 kW of mobile emergency power to keep critical facilities online.
In 2008, PG&E partnered with VIA Motors to develop the first eREV pickup truck. The two companies unveiled the trucks at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2012.
The eREV models run the first 40 miles on batteries, then continue to drive on electricity generated from an onboard gas-electric generator for 400 miles or more. By driving primarily on electricity, the vehicles can more than double gas fuel economy and achieve zero emissions on 50 percent of the miles driven on typical fleet routes. For electric utilities, the electrified vehicles can provide on-site power to help shorten small outages, eliminate some planned outages for maintenance, and boost the electric grid when needed.
PG&E is committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by greening its fleet. Since 1995, PG&E’s alternative-fuel vehicles have helped prevent more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The utility has more than 3,100 alternative-fuel vehicles in its fleet, ranging from natural-gas, hybrid and electric passenger cars to large trucks that burn natural gas or have the ability to provide needed power from battery packs instead of idling engines. PG&E is testing and validating other promising transportation technologies, including liquid and compressed natural gas and diesel-electric hybrids.
More information on VIA Motors may be found at www.viamotors.com.