Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has acquired a hybrid diesel electric bucket truck as one of its service vehicles for use in the field.

“This is an excellent addition to our service vehicle fleet,” said Tom Kent, NPPD Manager of Transmission and Distribution. “This hybrid diesel electric truck will give us some fuel savings, reduce emissions, and give us an opportunity to reduce our noise signature.” Kent noted that as a new technology with NPPD’s “Green Fleet” monitoring of fuel consumption, day-to-day performance, and maintenance requirements would be done to help determine the value of adding additional hybrid vehicles in the future.

The new truck is a Freightliner chassis that has been upgraded with a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system, allowing for operation either through the power of the diesel engine or through the electric motor powered by an on-board battery. The parallel electric hybrid system, designed by Eaton Corp., allows the truck to operate using the diesel engine alone for long distance driving, using the diesel engine in combination with the hybrid electric motor and operating lift functions without engine operation.

Using this type of system gives the vehicle “green” attributes, primarily a reduction in emissions. It is estimated that the vehicle is expected to reduce its emission of hydrocarbons by 58 percent, carbon monoxide by 50 percent, and nitrous oxide by 34 percent over a standard diesel unit. Utilizing the electric motor for the lift operations provides a reduction in noise during operations, making it ideal for night or early morning operations, since the electric motor can operate the lift without the diesel engine operating. There is also expected to be some fuel savings with the hybrid design.

While NPPD’s service vehicle fleet is identified with a white body, blue trim, and orange bumpers, this unit is identified with the words “Hybrid” on each side as well as on the boom portion of the vehicle, making it recognizable to the public.

The vehicle cost $225,530 with NPPD’s Domestic Energy Research Fund providing $60,890 of funding. The new truck will be assigned to the Norfolk facilities where Freightliner dealer support is available. This is the fourth vehicle in NPPD’s “Green Fleet.” There are already two Electrotruck vehicles, one located at York and the other at Sheldon Station, and a Ford Escape Hybrid based out of the Columbus. All three vehicles came into service during 2007.