Innovative Transportation Solutions and Technologies

PG&E continues to integrate a variety of different vehicle technologies into its fleet, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric bucket trucks.
Over the coming years, nearly every major vehicle manufacturer will introduce a new plug-in electric vehicle (PEV), either a battery-electric (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). For customers, this will present an exciting opportunity to purchase more environmentally sustainable vehicles. For PG&E, it requires that we plan ahead for the integration of these vehicles into the electric grid—and into our own fleet—to facilitate a smooth transition to this next generation of cars and trucks.

At PG&E, we also continue to demonstrate leadership with our own fleet, pioneering the use of alternative fuels in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas and criteria emissions, our dependency on petroleum-based fuels and operating costs.


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Actively Exploring Use of Electric Vehiclesmore...

Last year, we installed 14 new electric vehicle charging stations on a heavily-traveled freeway corridor from San Francisco to Sacramento.
To plan effectively for the arrival of PEVs in our service area, we are working in partnership with a host of stakeholders. We are conducting a PEV "smart charging" pilot project with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), technology companies and automakers to evaluate load management technologies that will minimize the impacts to the grid from charging electric vehicles. These technologies charge vehicles at night and stagger the charge to meet customer expectations in a way that minimizes demand on the local electric distribution system.

We are also helping to develop the underlying codes and standards for electric vehicles, working with national and international organizations to ensure that electric vehicles charge and communicate in similar ways. This will reduce costs for utilities, car companies and, ultimately, consumers. For example, as chair of EPRI's National Infrastructure Working Council, PG&E was instrumental in securing agreement across the electric vehicle industry to adopt the J1772 physical plug standard. This standard means that all electric cars will have the same plug for charging vehicle batteries. We are also growing California's electric transportation infrastructure; last year, we installed 14 new public electric vehicle charging stations on a heavily-traveled freeway corridor from San Francisco to Sacramento.

We are also focused on working with customers in anticipation of the broader adoption of electric vehicles. We plan to increase customer outreach and education on the benefits of these vehicles, as well as key issues such as the best time to charge them. We are also developing strategies to leverage the embedded technologies within the SmartMeter™ devices we are currently installing throughout our system. This includes planning for time-of-use rates which will be critical to help shift vehicle charging to off-peak times, minimizing grid impacts and potential additional investments, which will translate to overall customer savings.

Additionally, we are working with federal, state and local stakeholders to develop smart policies and incentives to encourage broader adoption of alternative fuel vehicles. This includes our sustained support for California's low carbon fuel standard, which was approved by the ARB last year.

Electrification Roadmap

Electrification Coalition

As a member of the not-for-profit Electrification Coalition, PG&E joined FedEx Corporation, GridPoint, Inc. and other leading companies to publish a vehicle electrification roadmap last year. The roadmap outlined a vision for deploying a fully integrated electric drive network along with a series of detailed policy proposals and recommendations.

Testing New and Emerging Electric Vehiclesmore...

PG&E continues to integrate a variety of different vehicle technologies in its fleet, a strategy that provides the flexibility to test and adopt new types of vehicles as they become available. Over the years, we have focused primarily on natural gas vehicles and the use of bio-diesel. More recently, we have begun to develop and incorporate a range of electric vehicles and other high-efficiency technologies.

Last year, we added the nation’s first all-electric bucket truck to the fleet. The Smith Electric Vehicle joins the PHEV and hybrid diesel-electric bucket trucks already in service. We also continued to evaluate and test numerous electric passenger vehicles, including the Mitsubishi i-Miev and AC Propulsion's eBox, and have incorporated Ford Escape PHEVs and two Toyota Prius PHEVs into PG&E’s fleet.

Because pickup trucks make up a large portion of our fleet, we have partnered with General Motors to take delivery of more than 100 dual-mode hybrid pickup trucks, joining more than 50 Ford Escape hybrids already in the fleet. PG&E will also add 10 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicles once they are available.

To support these new vehicles, PG&E has installed more than 20 new electric vehicle charging stations at seven locations, with plans to add more as new vehicles come into the fleet. We are also adopting energy-efficient LED vehicle lighting as the standard for our fleet in 2010 to reduce overall electricity use.

Our Fleet’s Fuel Consumptionmore...

PG&E consumes petroleum and bio-diesel to power our fleet of vehicles. The following chart shows PG&E’s fuel usage over the past three years.

Supporting Natural Gas Vehiclesmore...

PG&E's fleet includes more than 1,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) passenger cars, pickups, vans and trucks. We also maintain a network of 35 CNG and one liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations, most of which are open to the public. PG&E uses its expertise to help hundreds of customers take advantage of this low emission, domestic alternative fuel in their own fleets. This includes AT&T, which, with more than 250 natural gas vehicles, maintains the fastest-growing natural gas customer fleet.

The combined use of natural gas in PG&E's vehicle fleet, along with the fleets of customers, avoided the use of more than 17.4 million gallons of petroleum last year, which equals the avoidance of approximately 840 tons of NOX, 65 tons of particulate matter and nearly 57,850 metric tons of CO2 on a "well-to-wheel" basis.

We also remain focused on meeting the state's aggressive vehicle emission and alternative fuel requirements, the most stringent in the nation.

* 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.