The latest hybrid technology is finding its way to the streets of New York, as City Harvest—which collects excess food and delivers it for free throughout the five boroughs—has purchased four DuraStar Hybrid trucks from Penske Truck Leasing. Penske is providing full-service support for the 18-ft vehicles from International Truck and Engine Corp.
City Harvest said it plans to convert its 16-truck fleet to full hybrid technology by the end of 2009. The organization will save 23 million lbs. of food this year that would otherwise go to waste, feeding 260,000 hungry people each week.
Emory Edwards, director of food transportation for City Harvest, told FleetOwner that the organization had been looking to purchase hybrid trucks since 2006, but the International vehicle was the first hybrid in serial production equipped with a suitable refrigeration unit.
“Almost all of the goods in our trucks are perishable, so all of the trucks must be properly refrigerated, and part of our concern was to make sure the battery wasn’t going to be completely drained by the reefer unit,” Edwards said.
Edwards noted that the environmental benefits were even more important due to the area City Harvest works in. “It’s a good solution for us because it is an urban truck,” Edwards added. “Many of the neighborhoods we serve have high asthma rates.”
According to Penske, the use of hybrids can double fuel efficiency while reducing carbon emissions up to 40%. As the trucks travel at low speeds, the electric motor supplies power to the truck, which is ideal for a stop-and-go operation such as City Harvest.
Mike Hasinec, vp of maintenance systems and support for Penske Truck Leasing, told FleetOwner that interest has been strong as Penske has showcased the hybrid vehicles around the country. He added that the technology is beneficial for stop-and-go fleets that don’t travel just from point A to point B and generally drive less than 20,000 miles per year.
“Hybrids have struck a lot of interest for various reasons, with diesel fuel at four dollars a gallon and so many fleets looking to be more green,” Hasinec said. “I think we’re going to see a lot more of these vehicles in our fleets as more companies look more closely at the technology.”
Related article: Penske helps City Harvest refrigerated fleet go green.