Fresno on frontier of refuse pickup with CNG plug-in hybrid trash truck
The truck, which is powered by a rechargeable electric hybrid drive system developed by Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Odyne Corp., is the first in the world to combine such a system with a natural gas engine, according to city and company officials.
“Four years ago, when the rest of the country was trying to understand the future potential and advantages of a plug-in hybrid, the city of Fresno, with its environmentally progressive staff, wrote a specifications document for just such a vehicle,” Odyne Executive Vice President Gus Sfakianos said at a May 15 press conference in Fresno. “Odyne responded by developing a rechargeable electric hybrid drive system that has become part of a citywide energy conservation strategy, which will also serve to improve air quality.”
The trash truck is driven by an electric motor, and the natural gas engine is only required to power the hydraulic system for collection. Each night, city workers plug the truck into the power grid at the Fresno Municipal Services Center to fully charge the batteries that will propel the vehicle for the next day’s work.
According to Odyne, the vehicle boasts a 10-mile engine-off, zero-emissions driving mode of operation. Consequently, company officials said, the vehicle will navigate quietly through residential neighborhoods while not polluting the environment and not consuming imported fuels.
City officials are anticipating a 40 percent improvement in fuel economy with the hybrid electric drive system.
“This unique truck only furthers the growing acknowledgment that the city of Fresno is becoming a leader for utilizing cutting-edge technology for green initiatives,” said Joseph Oldham, fleet acquisition supervisor for the city. “It is one more step toward improving air quality in the [Central] Valley while continuing to provide for the growing needs of our customers.”