Labs on Wheels rev up Con Edison 'Green' Fleet

A pair of Con Edison "laboratories on wheels" are high on technology and low on emissions–driving a commitment to reduce global warming with a greener fleet.

Dec 1st, 2009
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A pair of Con Edison "laboratories on wheels" are high on technology and low on emissions–driving a commitment to reduce global warming with a greener fleet.

The company has bolstered its "green fleet" with two Ford E-450 vans that carry sophisticated equipment to detect fluid leaks in underground electrical feeders. By finding leaks early, Con Edison minimizes the environmental impact and saves on cleanup costs.

These rolling labs each contain a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine than the trucks they are replacing. The smaller engines and the hybrid technology kick up fuel efficiency by 31 percent over the older models.

In addition to the fuel-efficiency upgrades, the new vehicles use light-emitting diode (LED) lighting to warn surrounding traffic. Older vehicles required a "tail vehicle" to drive behind them for safety. The new trucks don't require an escort, meaning even more savings on fuel and emissions. Con Edison will take delivery on a third hybrid, leak-detecting truck next year.

"We see our 'green' cars and trucks as an investment in our region and in America's future," said Loretta Vanacore, vice president for Central Field Services. "Our eco-friendly vehicles help reduce global warming and reduce our nation's reliance on foreign oil. At Con Edison, the goal of reducing our carbon footprint is woven into everything we do."

In May, the company met a goal set two years ago of having 100 hybrid vehicles in service by this year. With the recent delivery of 38 hybrid vehicles, the company now has about 140 hybrids at its Con Edison Company of New York and Orange & Rockland Utilities Inc. subsidiaries.

The company also has four plug-in hybrid Priuses; a Mini-E, which is a highway-rated electric car; and a prototype Ford vehicle. The company is using the Ford as part of a test program with the automobile maker and the Electric Power Research Institute to speed the commercialization of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Con Edison has 25 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled cars and will order an additional 30 in 2010. The company will also place 30 CNG-fueled trucks into service in 2010. The hybrid and CNG vehicles save about 20,000 gallons of petroleum a year. The company also provides CNG to several government and private fleets throughout New York City.

In addition, Con Edison's fleet of approximately 1,700 diesel trucks is using clean-burning B-20 biodiesel fuel. Twenty percent of the fuel is from soybeans, helping the company offset nearly 400,000 gallons of petroleum a year.

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