FAIRPORT, NY – Village-owned power company Fairport Electric, recently recognized by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) as the largest municipal fleet of hybrid vehicles in the state, will add a hybrid bucket truck to its fleet, according to MPNnow.com. The new hybrid bucket truck, expected to be delivered sometime this month, will replace a 1999 model.

Village Administrator Kenneth Moore said Fairport Electric recognized the importance of fuel economy about four years ago when it bought its first hybrid vehicle, a Toyota Prius, through its planned replacement program. Since then, it has added three more Prius models and two Ford Escape sport utility vehicles, assigned to Moore and Mitchell Wilke, superintendent of electric and water. Two of the cars replaced vans.

Moore said the village has also downsized the fleet for additional savings. The village has been replacing bucket trucks on a 10-year rotation schedule; pickups, six years; and passenger cars, four years.

"As a vehicle reaches the end of its useful life, we look at options for replacing it," Moore said.

"The hybrid vehicles end up getting much higher mileage per gallon because they are equipped with systems that drive the vehicles with electric motors, which allows a much smaller gasoline engine to charge the batteries, which then again drive the vehicle. The gasoline engine is basically an auxiliary."

Moore doesn't have a cost-savings estimate yet, but called the fuel savings over the life of the truck "substantial."

Richard Kessel, NYPA president and CEO, said the new truck is among the first aerial hybrids in New York, capable of gaining 32 percent in fuel economy in local hauling.

The bucket may be lifted 60 feet and is powered primarily by a battery pack and electric motor. It can remain silent and emissions-free with the engine off for about 90 minutes, needing only five minutes to recharge and return to full electric mode. By reducing idle time, Kessel said, the truck can achieve up to 80 percent in total fuel savings, depending on the number of hours the lift is operated.

Fairport Electric is one of 47 municipally-owned power companies in New York, with more than 14,000 customers in the Village and the Town of Perinton.