Environmentally friendly bucket truck debuted in Champaign

Environmentally friendly bucket truck debuted in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Of course a city government would think about putting a "green" truck in its forestry division.

A hybrid bucket truck will be assigned to the division, said Elizabeth Hannan, administrative services manager for the city of Champaign.

The vehicle is powered by lithium ion batteries, along with a diesel engine, and its hybrid system stores energy during braking and reuses that energy in acceleration. Also, the truck's aerial bucket arm also can be powered by the hybrid system.

Hannan said that results in reduced use of petroleum-based fuels, reduced carbon emissions and reduced costs.

The city currently has six hybrid vehicles, with two more on order for the police department, she said.

Bill Vander Weit, forestry supervisor, said the truck will be used by crews pruning, maintaining and removing trees "just like the one it replaces."

"However, the new hybrid model can do the same work using less fuel, while reducing harmful emissions," Vander Weit said.

Hannan said the bucket truck – the first delivered by Peterbilt in Illinois – cost $159,000. That compares with the price of a regular diesel truck at $105,000 to $110,000.

With diesel costing $2 per gallon, the hybrid truck will save the city $7,150 per year, Hannan said. And according to her figures, if costs rise and diesel goes to $3 a gallon, the fuel savings would be $10,736. At $4 per gallon, the savings would be $14,315 annually, Hannan said.

Steve Simon, fleet supervisor for the city, said the hybrid system reduces idling up to 80 percent, which cuts fuel use and diesel emissions. It also saves wear and tear on an engine, he said.

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