We’ve seen electric pickup trucks, electric school buses, and even a few electric 18-wheelers. But where are the electric aerial work platform trucks, known colloquially as bucket trucks? Con Edison may have an answer. The energy utility for New York City, and one of the largest energy companies in the US, is teaming up with a Canadian manufacturer to add battery-powered bucket trucks to its fleet by 2022.
ConEd’s fleet isn’t exactly enormous — the utility owns around 300 bucket trucks — but the company hopes to send a signal to manufacturers that the time has come to electrify these types of vehicles.
“Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are more challenging to electrify than cars, but the purchase of our first all-electric bucket truck shows the market is real today and it will only accelerate from here,” ConEd CEO Tim Cawley said in a statement. “While initially small in scope, this represents an important step in Con Edison’s journey toward fleet electrification.”
ConEd is working with two Canadian manufacturers, Lion Electric and Posi-Plus, on the design and production of its electric truck. It will have a Lion8 all-electric chassis, which underpins a few of Lion’s electric vehicles, as well as a crane and cherry picker to help ConEd workers reach power lines and other elevated infrastructure.
The vehicle is scheduled for delivery in early 2022, which will be followed by its use in a pilot program. If successful, ConEd says the bucket truck will be integrated as part of its fleet of trucks that maintains the overhead electric system in both New York City and Westchester County.
The class 8 truck will get an estimated 130 miles on a single charge. The battery will take eight hours to recharge when plugged into two AC Level 2 chargers, ConEd said.
ConEd has been working to eliminate the emissions from its fleet before this announcement. As of last year, every new light-duty vehicle that the company buys is a plug-in hybrid or electric. The company said it is exploring a range of technologies to reduce its fossil fuel use in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and it may add more all-electric bucket trucks to its fleet in the future. Though it wouldn’t say when it plans to completely phase out fossil fuel-burning vehicles from its fleet.