Utilities join for $600-million green fleet makeover

The FPL Group and Duke Energy are planning to jointly invest $600 million in their fleets, transitioning cars and trucks to plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles starting Jan. 1 next year

The FPL Group and Duke Energy are planning to jointly invest $600 million in their fleets, transitioning cars and trucks to plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles starting Jan. 1 next year.

The two utility companies said the vehicle conversion plan involves more than 10,000 vehicles and has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 125,000 metric tons over the next 10 years.

While greener passenger vehicles and smaller trucks are already on the way, Duke Energy and FPL Group said they are working closely with manufacturers to test and measure the effectiveness of prototype bucket trucks in 2011 and 2012. Scheduled to wrap up by Dec. 31, 2020, the plan’s goal is that 100% of all new fleet vehicles will be plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

“A 10-year commitment gives us time to adopt, test and integrate new technology into fleets as a wider range of vehicles are developed,” said Jim Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy. “Currently, the only near-term options for available PEV supply are sedans, minivans, vans and a few bucket trucks. Over a 10-year horizon, it is expected that options will be available for most utility service categories.

“The opportunity for the transportation sector to transition from gasoline or diesel fuel-powered vehicles and trucks has never been greater,” Rogers added. “As global climate change and energy security loom large as some of the greatest issues faced by our generation, electric-powered vehicles hold great promise as the means to significantly reduce carbon emissions and reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil.”

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