Clean, Quiet and Powerful: Meet the SDG&E Bucket Truck at the SD Auto Show

If you’ve ever had a bucket truck working in your neighborhood to trim trees or fix overhead power lines, what comes to mind is probably the noise and fumes from the truck idling. Conventional bucket trucks typically keep their diesel engine running to power the equipment.

Now there is a better, greener bucket truck. A hybrid bucket truck. 

At SDG&E, we make it our mission to continue to find ways that will help clean the air we breathe and build healthier communities. With this in mind, we have replaced 55 of our conventional bucket trucks with cleaner and quieter hybrids to handle field repairs. What that means is that when one of these trucks show up in your neighborhood, you would no longer have to put up with a vehicle idling for hours at a time when crews perform repairs.

The hydraulic systems used to raise the bucket on our hybrid trucks, as well as the heating and cooling in the truck cabins, are powered by electricity. As a result, we are able to reduce fuel consumption, while also minimizing noise and air pollution.


Equipped with the Electric Power Take-Off (E-PTO) system, the trucks provide several benefits for our employees as well as our customers:

  • Reduced GHG emissions and cleaner air – Compared to their diesel counterparts, the hybrid trucks can reduce carbon emissions by as much as 27,744 lbs. per year – the equivalent of removing approximately two cars from the road annually.
  • Fuel cost savings – According to Altec Inc., the manufacturer, the average diesel fuel savings for one E-PTO truck is 1,350 gallons per year.
  • Noise pollution reduction –The elimination of diesel engines idling at a worksite and running on battery power allows for quieter operations.

Driving the Talk

"We are more than half way to our goal to convert more than 20 percent of our fleet to alternative-fueled vehicles by 2020,” said Mike Schneider, chief environmental officer and vice president, operations support at SDG&E. "By investing in the fleet transformation, we are showing our customers we care about their health, our environment and setting an example for other utilities and businesses."

In 2018, more Alternative Fuel Vehicles will be added to SDG&E’s fleet bringing us to 16 percent. The transformation of our fleet represents SDG&E’s deep commitment to creating a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future.

Check out the hybrid bucket truck in person where it will be showcased at the San Diego International Auto Show through Monday, Jan. 1.