The latest spate of California wildfires has driven thousands from their homes. In September, several hundred Calaveras County residents had taken shelter in a local church when the only generator went down, leaving the evacuees with no power to refrigerate their food or charge their phones.
Electric vehicles to the rescue! Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reports that its exportable power truck soon arrived, and had the lights back on and the refrigerators cranking within minutes. The plug-in hybrid truck provided necessary power for two days until a replacement generator could be brought in.
The emergency-response trucks are among the latest additions to PG&E’s vehicle fleet, which includes some 1,400 plug-ins and hybrids. And more are on the way – the company has just announced plans to invest a third of its annual fleet budget in plug-in vehicles over the next five years, an investment of $100 million for around 750 vehicles.
“The electrification of our transportation system will be essential in helping California to meet its long-term goals for greenhouse gas reductions,” said PG&E CEO Tony Earley. “Converting more of our fleets to electric vehicles is a powerful way for the utility industry to take the lead and set an example.”
PG&E has found that plug-ins offer a range of benefits, from lower operating costs to extended vehicle life.
“We are seeing full payback on the increased initial investment in less than five years in many cases. In addition to the fuel savings, we’re seeing dramatically lower vehicle emissions and a better on-the-job experience for our crews,” said David Meisel, Senior Director of Transportation Services.
Source: Pacific Gas and Electric