Reducing Air Emissions & Operating Costs With Advanced Batteries
If you’ve driven past a job site where crews are at work on utility infrastructure, you may have seen – or heard -- heavy-duty trucks with engines idling. Engines are commonly left running as source of auxiliary power for tools, equipment and safety gear. But they’re also a source of noise and air emissions.
Now, through new innovations at our utility, Southern California Edison (SCE), more heavy-duty trucks are being retrofitted with a cleaner source of auxiliary power: automotive grade lithium ion batteries. The battery is strong enough to power everything the crew needs all day, without keeping the truck’s engine running.
Pilot Test in Partnership with Electric Power Research Institute
This innovative adaptation to heavy-duty trucks was the result of our utility’s longstanding partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an independent non-profit that does research, development and demonstration relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public.
By participating in EPRI’s Electric Transportation Program, our utility is able to collaborate with 57 other utilities to collectively address EV topics like impacts on grid systems and customer requirements of plug-in vehicles and advanced technologies.
As an active member of EPRI, our utility is helping lead development of the functional specifications for advanced electric drive technologies.
“SCE created the concept for a lithium ion auxiliary power system that could be retrofitted to existing utility vehicles. We conducted most of the development and testing at SCE’s Advanced Technology labs,” explained EPRI’s Andra Rogers, manager of EPRI’s Non-Road and Fleet Electric Transportation R&D. “Our goal is to see the development and testing to eventually lead directly to commercially viable and cost-effective products that fleets can adopt.”
Our utility has partnered with EPRI since the early 1970s.
Surprisingly, even though adding lithium ion batteries isn’t inexpensive, the EPRI-SCE approach actually helps cut operating costs. Gas and diesel fuel are a significant annual operating expense, and the cost of the battery retrofit is recouped through fuel savings after just 5 years. Considering that most trucks are expected to stay on the road over a 10 to 15 year period, electric auxiliary systems could result in significant operational savings for fleet owners.