Suwanee goes green with hybrid truck

SUWANEE - The city of Suwanee has just purchased its first eco-friendly work truck.

Suwanee's public works department has acquired a hybrid version 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 extended cab pickup truck. It looks like all the other city trucks - white with the city seal printed on both doors - but this one has a heart of green.

The gasoline/electric hybrid truck has an eight-cylinder engine and three extra 14-volt batteries.

The battery-powered electrical system takes over when the truck slows to less than 13 mph or is idling.

"It's really designed to conserve energy in city traffic," said Public Works Supervisor Rodney Beck, the city employee who has been assigned to drive the new vehicle.

The truck, which seats up to six, also features four 120-volt AC outlets mounted in the bed. The outlets will come in handy when public works staff members are working outside at night and need lights, or anytime they're using electrical tools that require a power source, Beck said.

The city paid about $25,000 for the truck, which gets about 18 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.

"The city of Suwanee wants to do what it can to conserve energy," Beck said. "I guess if we all did a little something, it could make a big difference."