Innovative Transportation Solutions and Technologies


PG&E is working with Plug-In Partners, Plug-In Bay Area, and other organizations to promote plug-in hybrid and dedicated electric vehicles.


For nearly two decades, PG&E has actively worked to advance alternative transportation technologies, including natural gas and electric vehicles, as well as, more recently, plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) and fuel cell vehicles. Examples of our work in this area include the following:

  • Incorporating large numbers of alternative fuel vehicles into our fleet and testing vehicles, which has enabled us to feed valuable usage and safety data back to manufacturers,
  • Helping more than 300 of our customers incorporate alternative vehicles into their fleets,
  • Creating and expanding the fueling infrastructure to support our customers' use of alternative vehicles, including 37 PG&E-operated compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations which are open to the public, and
  • Sharing our expertise and experience as part of the dialogue and planning around vehicle, infrastructure and technology standards that will drive the commercialization and widespread adoption of these vehicles.

Greening Our Own Fleet

PG&E's fleet of natural gas vehicles is the largest owned and operated by any utility in the country and, last year, became the first to include LNG heavy-duty vehicles. Use of LNG reduces criteria pollutant emissions, saves as much as 50 percent on fuel costs compared with diesel or gasoline and improves productivity by allowing greater travel distances between refuelings.

PG&E also continued testing a new diesel-electric hybrid service truck in San Francisco that creates a quiet and emissions-free work site, reduces brake wear by using regenerative braking and is expected to decrease fuel use by 40 to 60 percent. We also began testing a converted Ford Escape PHEV as part of a technology research project led by Idaho National Laboratory.

In 2008, we plan to add two diesel-electric hybrid bucket trucks to our fleet, conduct a field trial of smart charging technology and wireless communications to control how two AC Propulsion electric vehicles can interact with the grid and purchase two series plug-in hybrid SUVs for testing.

Clean Air Transportation Program (Customer Fleets)*
 
2005
2006
2007
Compressed Natural Gas Therms Used (x1,000)
19,059.7
21,155.3
21,133.8
Avoided NOX Emissions (tons)
693
768
768
Avoided PM Emissions (tons)
53
60
60
Avoided CO2 Emissions (tons)
52,126
57,857
57,798
Equivalent Petroleum Gallons Displaced (x1,000)
14,310
15,883
15,867
Clean Air Transportation Program (PG&E's Fleet)*
 
2005
2006
2007
Compressed Natural Gas Therms Used (x1,000)
614.2
637
868.8
Avoided NOX Emissions (tons)
23
23
32
Avoided PM Emissions (tons)
1.5
1.6
2.8
Avoided CO2 Emissions (tons)
1,793
1,859
2,536
Equivalent Petroleum Gallons Displaced (x1,000)
485
503
686

* These figures represent a full "well-to-wheel" analysis, which takes into account energy use and emissions at every stage of the process, from the moment the fuel is produced at the well to the moment the wheels are moved. Estimates compare the avoided emissions from PG&E's CNG vehicles to petroleum usage based on the methodology outlined in Full Fuel Cycle Assessment (CEC-600-2007-003, June 2007), which uses the Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET emission model modified to California inputs.


Helping Customers Adopt and Use Alternative Fuels

In 2007, PG&E helped fund the purchase of California's first plug-in hybrid diesel-electric school bus in the Napa Valley Unified School District, which operates an entirely natural gas-powered school bus fleet. The new school bus has the potential to double fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by up to 90 percent.

PG&E also used its expertise to help airport authorities take advantage of alternative fuel vehicles. We helped San Jose International Airport convert its shuttle bus fleet to CNG. In 2007, the airport earned the Natural Gas Vehicle Achievement Award from the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation and NGVAmerica for its efforts, which have saved $2.6 million in fuel costs since 2003 and reduced vehicle exhaust emissions by more than 70 tons annually. The airport also benefits from 130 natural gas-fueled taxis. PG&E also partnered with San Francisco International Airport, which, in 2007, expanded its fleet to include 60 CNG vans.

The combined use of natural gas in PG&E's vehicle fleet, along with the fleets of our customers, avoided the use of more than 16.6 million gallons of petroleum in 2007, which equals the avoidance of approximately 800 tons of NOX, 60 tons of particulate matter and 60,330 tons of CO2.