DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today joined VIA Motors in unveiling the first extended-range electric pickup truck for utilities featuring an innovative technology that, in addition to providing highly efficient mileage, has the potential to provide mobile, on-site power to help manage electrical outages.
The Northern and Central California electric and gas utility partnered with VIA Motors in 2008 to develop the trucks, called eREVs or Extended-Range Electric Vehicles. PG&E already owns two of the trucks.
"This truck has the potential to significantly transform the way we manage electrical outages for our customers," said PG&E Corporation's Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Greg Pruett. He was joined at today's news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit by VIA Motors Board of Directors Member Bob Lutz and VIA Motors CEO and Co-founder Kraig Higginson. "PG&E looks forward to continuing its work with VIA Motors as we build upon the greenest utility fleet in the country," Pruett added.The eREV trucks run the first 40 miles solely on electricity before switching to gasoline. For electric utilities, the trucks potentially can provide on-site power to help shorten small outages, eliminate some planned outages for maintenance, and boost the electric grid when needed. The first-generation trucks have a 15 kilowatt capacity, equivalent to a generator for a small- or medium-sized house, and that amount could increase in future models. PG&E is committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Since 1995, PG&E's alternative-fuel fleet helped prevent more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The utility has more than 1,200 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.