Pittsburgh’s green fleet bolstered by 9 electric vehicles, including bucket truck

The City of Pittsburgh is getting its first all-electric bucket truck for its Forestry Division.

It’s just one of nine new electric vehicles the city plans to buy with the help of a $160,000 state grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants program (AFIG). In addition to the electric bucket truck, the city plans to purchase eight Chevy Bolts for the Departments of Mobility and Infrastructure and Permits, Licenses and Inspections.

It’s part of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s ongoing commitment to renewable energy, said Tim McNulty, the mayor’s communications director.

“Mayor Peduto is committed to making the city’s entire fleet electric over the next few years. And as part of that, we need to start adopting new kinds of vehicles, not just little cars but bigger vehicles,” said McNulty. “As part of it we have our first all-electric bucket truck for the Forestry Division, and we’re really excited about that. It shows how electric vehicles can be adopted for new uses.”

McNulty said the city is also looking at purchasing other big electric vehicles in the future — including fire trucks and garbage trucks.

“That’s the real challenge in the future: having an all electric vehicle fleet,” he said.

The plan dovetails with work being done by the Department of Public Works to install new electric vehicle charging stations in the Second Avenue parking lot Downtown. Money for the charging stations also came from state grants: $135,000 from an AFIG grant in 2019, and close to $190,000 from a Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority Restart Grant in 2020.

The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants program funds projects that replace older gasoline or diesel-fueled vehicles with cleaner fuel vehicles to reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide, a principal greenhouse gas, according to the DEP.

The program supports electric, ethanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas, propane gas, and other cleaner fuel vehicles. It also supports installation of fueling stations for these vehicles.

Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or pguggenheimer@triblive.com.

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