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Discover electric bucket trucks' environmental benefits and technological advancements in utility fleets.

Maria Guerra, Senior Editor-Battery Technology

October 24, 2023

3 Min Read
The new Class 7 electric bucket truck from Terex is powered by a lithium-ion battery with 210 KWh capacity, offering an estimated 135 miles of driving range.Courtesy of Terex

The utility industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation where utility companies are embracing a powerful change – the electrification of their fleets. Electric bucket trucks, powered by electricity and often equipped with cutting-edge battery technology, have emerged as the driving force behind this electrification wave.

Environmental benefits and success application

One of the most compelling aspects of the transition to electric bucket trucks is the significant reduction in carbon emissions. Traditional ICE bucket trucks rely on fossil fuels, emitting pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In contrast, electric bucket trucks produce zero tailpipe emissions. This pivotal shift contributes to cleaner air and a healthier environment, particularly in urban areas where air quality is a pressing concern.

Moreover, electric bucket trucks operate quietly, reducing noise pollution in densely populated regions. This benefits the communities they serve and enhances the working conditions for utility crews. Quieter operation is essential in residential areas where loud, traditional bucket trucks can disrupt the peace.

For example, Con Edison—an energy utility for New York City— is upgrading its fleet from gas to electric while incorporating electric bucket trucks into their fleet. The bucket truck and all its hydraulic functions can run entirely on energy stored in two separate battery systems.

“A generational change is rippling across the transportation sector, and we’re excited to get the keys to what’s not only our first all-electric bucket truck but one of the first in the nation,” stated Fortunato Gulino, Con Edison’s chief automotive engineer. “This truck will help maintain our critical infrastructure without putting out any tailpipe emissions, and studying its performance in the field will help guide our approach to moving our vehicle fleet away from fossil fuels.”

Technological advancements

The heart of any electric vehicle, including electric bucket trucks, is its battery technology. Advancements in battery technology have revolutionized the capabilities of electric bucket trucks, making them more practical and efficient.

Extended range: One of the common concerns associated with electric vehicles is range anxiety. In the past, electric bucket trucks had limited driving ranges. However, recent breakthroughs in battery technology have expanded their range significantly. Modern electric bucket trucks can now cover substantial service areas without frequent recharging.

Fast charging: Electric bucket trucks can rapidly charge, reducing downtime and improving operational efficiency. The availability of fast-charging infrastructure is growing, making it easier for utility companies to keep their fleets moving. This technology ensures that the electric bucket trucks can be quickly deployed to respond to service calls efficiently.

Electric power take-off (PTO) solution: It provides clean, rechargeable battery power, allowing bucket trucks to operate their lifts and other equipment without remaining idle.

Safety features: Electric bucket trucks have high-tech features, including stability control systems, collision avoidance technology, and advanced driver assistance systems. These features enhance the safety of utility crews working at heights, significantly reducing the risk of accidents.

Greener future for utilities

As technology evolves and charging infrastructure becomes more robust, utility companies are well-positioned to benefit from reduced emissions, lower operating costs, and advanced safety features. The electrification of utility fleets through electric bucket trucks is a transformation that holds immense promise for the utility industry.

As more utility companies recognize the environmental benefits, cost savings, and technological advancements associated with electric bucket trucks, we can expect to keep shifting towards a greener and more sustainable future.

About the Author(s)

Maria Guerra

Senior Editor-Battery Technology, Informa

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