Fresno Becomes a Global Green Leader With Hybrid Trash Truck

The City of Fresno debuted and demonstrated the world’s first operational compressed natural gas (CNG) powered plug-in hybrid refuse truck Thursday, May 15th at a news conference held at Woodward Park. This trash truck is unique in that it is the first in the world to combine a natural gas engine with a rechargeable electric hybrid drive system.

The truck boasts several economic and environmental benefits: an estimated 40% improvement in fuel economy with the use of a hybrid electric drive system; the capability of operating in all-electric mode for over 10 miles; and a 90% reduction in smog-forming emissions.

“This unique truck only furthers the growing acknowledgment that the City of Fresno is becoming a leader for utilizing cutting edge technology for green initiatives,” says Joseph Oldham, Fleet Acquisition Supervisor for the City of Fresno. “It is one more step toward improving air quality in the Valley while continuing to provide for the growing needs of our customers.”

The trash truck is driven by an electric motor, and the natural gas engine is only required to power the hydraulic system for collection. The rechargeable electric hybrid drive system was designed and produced by Odyne Corporation of Hauppauge, NY. Each night it is plugged into the power grid at the Fresno Municipal Services Center to fully charge the batteries that will propel the vehicle for the next day’s work.

By plugging the vehicle in to recharge, clean and economical electricity is substituted for more expensive vehicle fuel; reducing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency. The current estimated $1,400 per year in fuel savings is part of a citywide energy conservation strategy, which will also serve to improve Fresno’s air quality.

A handful of partners made this project possible, including the City of Fresno; Fresno Council of Governments; Odyne Corp.; Central Valley Truck Center of Fresno; and Ruskstell Sales of Fresno.