Electric utility Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd), announced it is adding a first-of-its-kind hybrid bucket truck to its fleet.

ComEd recently demonstrated the new International Truck and Engine Corp. diesel-electric hybrid truck. ComEd provides electricity to Chicago and much of northern Illinois.
ComEd and another Exelon company, PECO Energy of Philadelphia, will be among the first utilities in the nation to test two new hybrid bucket trucks, manufactured by International Eaton Corp. ComEd will place its hybrid bucket truck at the Chicago North Office later this year.
Diesel-electric hybrid trucks are expected to improve fuel economy up to 60% compared to existing diesel-only fueled trucks and offer significant emissions reductions as well as other environmental benefits.
Also, the utility will test the truck's ability to reduce the length of power outages. The vehicle has the ability to supply 25 kilowatts of electricity -- enough power for more than a dozen homes -- while crews investigate an outage.
When field personnel operate a diesel-powered bucket truck, the engine must remain running when employees use the bucket. The new hybrid truck allows the operator to shut off the diesel engine and operate the bucket on an electric motor for up to two hours before the engine has to come back on to briefly charge the battery pack.
As a result, considerably less fuel is burned and emissions and noise are reduced. About two-thirds of the fuel savings result from the engine being shut off at the work site.
The new hybrid bucket truck is part of a program administered by WestStart, a consortium of truck fleet users, truck makers, technology companies and the military. International and Eaton were selected to manufacture the diesel-electric trucks for the national pilot program. ComEd and PECO will assist in data collection to be used in the future production of these vehicles.