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Hybrid trucks cut idling

An idling truck can get on your nerves. It doesn’t do the air any good either.

Now, from Verizon, come five small steps to improve your sanity and the air: five bucket trucks are being added to the New York fleet whose engines don’t have to be idling when the bucket is airborne. Credit a plug-in hybrid arrangement in which a battery pack is charged overnight from the electric grid with enough power to operate the bucket for a typical workday. As a backup, if the batteries should die, an onboard generator powered by the truck’s diesel engine recharges the pack.

In Verizon’s conventional 29-foot “light aerial” trucks, the same diesel or gasoline engine that propels the truck — or an auxiliary generator using the same fuel as the engine — powers the mechanical arm that lifts the bucket.

Verizon was planning to show off the trucks Friday, May 21, at its Garden City building on Zeckendorf Boulevard.

The trucks are the first of 160 alternative energy vehicles going into service in New York and about 1,000 nationally, powered by things like biodiesel and compressed natural gas. The telecommunications giant has about 7,000 vehicles nationally. Verizon says idling accounts for about half the fuel the bucket trucks use. The five trucks are expected to use 750 to 1,500 fewer gallons of fuel a year and cut greenhouse gases by 7 to 14 tons over the traditional models they replace.

Other utilities starting to use the hybrid bucket trucks include LIPA, which has two, the Verizon announcement said.

Verizon engineer Ken McKenney says the hybrid system also can help to propel the truck.

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