Toronto Hydro has announced the latest environmental initiative for their fleet: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and trim costs by introducing anti-idling technology to their service trucks.

Donald Eta, Supervisor of Fleet and Equipment Services, and his team have accomplished this by equipping 18 Isuzu service trucks with the GRIP Idle Management System, with plans to push forward with more systems, according to Toronto Hydro.

Toronto Hydro said it has seen as high as an 83 percent reduction in per vehicle idle time and total fuel savings of over CAN $7,000 in less than five months. The system costs approximately $3,000/unit and the potential for payback can be as quick as nine months for vehicles with high usage levels and idle time. Toronto Hydro has also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 15,500 kg, which is projected to grow to over 40,000 kg by the end of the year, based on the 18 vehicles equipped with the GRIP system.

The idle management system is effective for Toronto Hydro’s service trucks because it keeps all auxiliary
components live as if the vehicle were running. A truck can be at a service call and will have functional hazard lights and climate control for the operator – all while the engine is off. The system is set at a one minute idle time, to coincide with the City of Toronto’s updated one-minute idling bylaw, warning the operator the truck will automatically turn off after 45 seconds. All auxiliary equipment is running off of auxiliary batteries added to the trucks, while voltage is carefully monitored by the GRIP to ensure there is never a dead battery. The system will automatically turn the vehicle on to charge the batteries should the voltage drop to a level that is preset in the GRIP settings, according to Toronto Hydro.

In the winter months the vehicle interior and engine is kept warm by an auxiliary fuel fired heater. In the summer months the system has a temperature offset of 10 degrees C to ensure the vehicle is not continuously running its air conditioning, utilizing the existing OEM A/C. Idle, greenhouse gas emissions, and fuel costs are expected to be even better improved through cooler fall and winter months as stationary A/C use decreases, and a more efficient onboard auxiliary fuel fired heater is used to maintain a comfortable working temperature in the vehicle cab as opposed to the idling engine, according to Toronto Hydro.