New York Shows Off Green Fleet Technology

NEW YORK. With a legitimate claim to the title “Greenest Fleet in America,” the New York City Dept. of Parks and Recreation featured hybrid and alternative fuel trucks of all sizes, biodiesel providers, electric cars and even solar-powered carts among the 130 vendors at its annual truck show yesterday.

Held on Randall’s Island in the middle of New York’s East River, the 19-year-old event has become a showcase for clean and alternative fuel technologies, with light, medium and heavy-duty manufacturers turning out to display their latest “green” products for all of the city’s various fleets, as well as other area municipalities and nonprofit organizations. The show reaches one of the largest municipal fleet markets in the country, with NYC alone operating over 26,000 vehicles among its sanitation, emergency, transportation and other departments.

As the New York agency responsible for 29,000 acres of parkland that includes such high-visibility venues as Yankee Stadium and Central Park, “We’re dedicated to greening our city and you can’t get any greener than having a green fleet,” Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told FleetOwner during the show.

Alternative truck highlights at this year’s show included the first East Coast appearance of Kenworth’s T270 hybrid truck project and a working hybrid International 4300 utility truck put together by International and Eaton.

Other advanced technologies on display included General Motor’s E85-powered pickups, plug-in electric cars from a variety of manufacturers and full lineup of light and medium-duty trucks running on natural gas.

“Biodiesel vendors at this show a few years ago sold us on the value [of that technology], and now all 650 of our diesel trucks run on biodiesel 20,” said Keith T. Kerman, chief of operations for the city parks department.

The department is also committed to clean diesel with plans to retrofit a large percentage of the current fleet with diesel oxidation catalysts and the purchase of 48 new trucks with 2007 emissions technology. On the light-duty side, it operates 480 alternative-powered pickups, SUVs, sedans and carts with hybrid, natural gas, electric and hybrid power.

Currently it is building two CNG fueling sites, one in Central Park and the other in a park adjacent to Shea Stadium, according to Kerman. The parks department will also pilot a biodiesel 50 program at one of its beaches this summer and is moving ahead with plans to convert some 800 pickups and vans to E85 ethanol fuel. “We’ll convert one of our 11 fuel sites to E85 to support them,” Kerman told FleetOwner.

The department is even running two solar-powered electric carts donated by BP. “They look pretty rugged and can trailer up to 800 lbs.,” Kerman said. “We use a lot of carts on our trails, and if they work out, they could be a great ‘zero carbon’ solution.”

The department also finds medium-duty hybrid trucks an interesting possibility for its green fleet, “but the issue is cost,” Kerman adds. “Right now, the cost is prohibitive for a city agency.”

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