One of the great things about doing thatinterview on NPR last week was the amount of feedback and the number of new people I met (mostly virtually, of course) thanks to it. One of those is Matt Cutaia of Gates Automotive Center in Henrietta, New York. Matt heard me mention the Paccar-Eaton hybrid drive system in the Kenworth T270 and T370 medium-duty trucks that Coca-Cola uses and wanted me to know that they aren’t just for beverage giants.
Gates Automotive acquired two new 2010 KW T270 flatbed tow trucks in January, one a standard diesel and one a hybrid. The plan, Matt says, is to compare the two in performance and see if the $34,000 extra price premium is worth it on the hybrid. He calculates a 90% re
turn on investment (ROI) on the hybrid over five years if it performs at 25-30% fuel savings as expected.
“My business has a very large mix of Towing,” Matt says. “If [the hybrid] is kept in the local district and average speed under 35-40mph, its a very noticeable savings. If used on the highway and average speeds 55-60mph, not so much. We are figuring with the right management on use, we should see 25-30% in fuel savings. “
Good deal, Matt! He also says that if the truck can show a consistent 20% or better fuel usage savings, it will likely be worth it to buy more of them.
The hybrid truck isn’t the only thing that Gates does to keep the environment and their bottom line (via sustainability) in mind either. In fact, the shop has been honored for its green initiatives and practices. Their new service building in Henrietta is saving nearly 80% on its energy consumption after major renovations to the already-existing building were done. Their water-borne paint for auto body repair and solvent-free auto parts washer are just some of the ways the company has helped their bottom line while keeping a light tread on the environment.
It just so happens that shortly after receiving the latest email from Matt about operations at Gates Automotive, I was also talking to another auto repair shop in San Francisco for an article on hybrid repair for another website. Interestingly, that shop has done many similar things to Gates in their operations. Makes you wonder if this won’t become the standard in the near future?
Regardless, the T270 hybrid that Gates is using is not just a planet-friendly truck, but it’s awful cool to look at too. Check out the great graphics and paint work they added to their rig:
(Images all courtesy of Gates Automotive)