Hybrids – Vehicles, Battery & Hydraulic Technology

Oklahoma Gas & Electric Saves with Auxiliary Power System

August 10, 2017

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Gas & Electric
Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Gas & Electric

Since October, Oklahoma Gas & Electric has found savings by installing an electric auxiliary power system on its work truck. The system, developed by Volta Power Systems, allows users to operate equipment without leaving the engine running for a greener operation, a quiet service, and a more efficient fleet.

Volta Power Systems offers standardized energy systems that allow customers to electrify loads without conferting to a full hybrid-electric vehicle solution. It electrifies hydraulic, air conditioning, compressors, and other loads that traditionally required the engine to run, allowing fleets to operate in silence at a fraction of the cost of a complete hybrid-electric solution.

Jack Johnson, founder of Volta Power Systems, pointed to popular hybrid-electric vehicles on the market that use custom parts specific for each model.

“It’s very hard for somebody like a work truck manufacturer, who might build a few thousand trucks a year, to carry the millions of dollars of research and development (R&D) required to make that truck capable of doing what that new technology is capable of providing,” Johnson said.

What sets Volta’s kits apart from competitors is the way the use of automotive-based nickel mangenese cobalt (NMC) battery technology, which is 2-3 times more dense than lithium-ion solutions currently on the market. The NMC technology is configured in pre-engineered kits and offer configurability, flexibility, and safety at a low cost. 

“They package lithium-ion cells in a case and try to make it work like a lead acid battery,” Johnson said. “The challenge with using drop-in replacement lithium ion is you usually need to limit the peformance in order to make lithium work ina  legacy 12V lead acid environment.”

Less Fuel, Emissions, and Expenses

OGE first learned of Volta’s product through ETI, a Palfinger company that manufactures aerial lifts, mobile service cranes, and custom bodies. The utility approached ETI seeking a battery-powered solution, and ETI had experimented with electric power take-off (PTO) in the past but did not have the technology requested. ETI worked with Volta to install one of the company’s kits in an International large chassis bucket truck for OGE.

The final product is a large-chassis International truck. The bucket truck has been in operation since October.

In addition to lower fuel costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions, the technology made less noise than a traditional truck left running. Paul Jefferson, fleet manager for OGE, said this keeps noise levels down, which allows OGE to assign work at night without waking up customers.

"The Volta Power System is easy to use and was a smooth transition for our team members," he said. "We like the new trucks so much we hope to add more to our fleet." 

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