TPU enlists ‘green machines’

Employees at Tacoma Public Utilities have added a new step to their daily routine: unplugging the pool car before driving it and plugging it back in when they’re done.
The utility recently took a step toward reducing its carbon footprint by being one of a few Pacific Northwest companies to put plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road. But the utility has taken a unique approach by retrofitting two of its pool cars with plug-in hybrid technology. Employees use pool cars for work-related trips.
TPU has converted one Toyota Prius hybrid pool car into a plug-in vehicle, and received delivery of the second vehicle last week.
Plug-in hybrids operate solely on battery power for the first 16 to 60 miles of travel. Vehicles automatically operate like a hybrid car upon battery depletion, cycling back and forth from electric to internal combustion power. Plug-in hybrid batteries have more power than hybrid batteries and can be recharged from a standard electrical outlet.
Plug-in hybrids operate solely on battery power for the first 16 to 60 miles of travel. Vehicles automatically operate like a hybrid car upon battery depletion, cycling back and forth from electric to internal combustion power. Plug-in hybrid batteries have more power than hybrid batteries and can be recharged from a standard electrical outlet.
Besides reduced emissions, using plug-in electric hybrid vehicles limits the utility’s carbon footprint because of the power source. Most of Tacoma Power’s electricity comes from emission-free hydroelectric projects.