The Idling Calculator. How much can you save?

When a utility vehicle is operating a lift, like the one on a bucket truck, it remains idling to power that equipment. SmartPTO is the first modular electric power takeoff unit of it’s kind that eliminates idling on utility trucks. For a vehicle like a bucket truck, the impact of hours and hours of idling can be more than we might think, and when the stress of idling every day is relived, the results are undeniable.

We have projected average savings of around $9,100 in just a single year of operation with SmartPTO on a bucket truck. Savings not only include the cost of approximately 1,890 gallons of fuel per year spent idling, but also the maintenance cost incurred by extra use of the engine on a daily basis. We have projected averages of 69% of the total yearly costs from idling alone.

Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne is a government multidisciplinary science and engineering research center that works with scientists to develop, among other things, clean energy technology and research. They have been at the forefront of research for the effects of idling. You can learn more by reading some of their articles on the subject, like Idle Reduction Research or Reducing Vehicle Idling

Argonne created an Idling savings Calculator so users can plug in their statistics and see just how much eliminating idling can do for them.

You can download the Idling Calculator in excel format or review the static pdf below:

Fun Fact #2

learn more about SmartPTO and the effects of idling by watching our video. Help us end idling and save.

Town of Apex, NC Installs Three SmartPTO Units

Early October of 2018, We were fortunate enough to be awarded the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC). You can learn more on our write up.

Town of Apex Awarded CFAT project winner and Takes Action!

Now the Town of Apex in North Carolina has also been awarded by the NCCETC for it’s use of electric PTO’s and is making leaps toward the future by being the first of smaller municipalities to retrofit three of their bucket trucks with SmartPTO! All made possible by their recognition in the CFAT project.

You can read more from NCCETC on the Town of Apex and other winners of the CFAT here

In terms of environmental impact three utility trucks might not sound like much, but let’s take a closer look at what Town of Apex will accomplish with three new SmartPTO units fitted on active trucks over a 1 year period…

One Year with Three active SmartPTO units:

  1. They will save around 5,670 Gallons of fuel.
  2. Remove an average of 72,900 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions from normal operation.
  3. In terms of environmental impact, this is the same as removing 10.5 cars from the road.
  4. Improve the safety of their operators.
  5. Extend vehicle life and lower overall the maintenance cost.
  6. Decrease the level of noise disturbance in their communities.

We see the Town of Apex as a progressive leader for the green initiative in the state of North Carolina. They are the first of many towns and cities in the state and nationwide that we hope to see making steps toward the electrification of utility vehicles and equipment. Together we can stop the harmful effects of idling.

Here’s what NCCETC Had to say on Linkedin

Viatec Awarded NC Clean Energy Air Quality Improvement Grant

Earlier in October of 2018 NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) announced the winners of their Air Quality Improvement Grant  through the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project. Initiated 2017-2018 for $5.6 million, the grant focuses on reducing transportation-related emissions and is supported with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT). We are honored to be a part of that group!

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina
Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina – Wikimedia Commons

Over $1,100,101 is being awarded for ten projects including Viatec’s SmartPTO. Collectively these projects remove 62,949 gallons of diesel/gas a year, and 54,042 kg of daily emissions.

We are honored to be awarded such a progressive grant, further solidifying our commitment to environmentally efficient technologies and products in the future.

Learn more here:

SmartPTO Product Launch & Testing

Here at Viatec, we are happy to announce the launch of our brand new flagship product, SmartPTO and more importantly it’s first ever field run with one of the largest utility suppliers in the nation. SmartPTO is The worlds first ever fully electric, universal, power takeoff unit that eliminates the need for idling by utility trucks. After it’s testing and approval for large aerial boom lift trucks with our new client, in the coming months we can expect to see eight units operating our truly affordable hybrid electric solutions. We encourage you to watch the video below to educate yourself on the environmental and financial effects of idling worldwide, and how SmartPTO is the worlds first viable solution.

The integration and installation of our first road worthy unit was achieved late October. Considering the magnitude of Utility trucks on the road from this new client, we expect to see a swelling of SmartPTO equipped utility trucks in the near future. We have the utmost confidence in the viability of our product and it’s ability to drastically effect the real world. We hope to see a future without idling.

If you have any questions or would like to learn how you can help us eliminate idling and reduce our carbon footprint together please call us at (833) 484 2832 or email

Fun Fact #1

learn more about SmartPTO and the effects of idling by watching our video. Help us end idling and save.

NorCal Clean Tech Forum & Expo Event

Viatec is proud to announce it’s spot as a featured speaker at NorCal Clean Technology Forum & Expo

“The Clean Cities Coalitions in Sacramento and the East Bay are joining with the U.S. EPA, CALSTART and the Green Transportation Summit and Expo to produce the NorCal Clean Technology Forum & Expo and West Coast Collaborative Partners Meeting. The conference will run from October 16th through the 18th at the McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento, and will feature the latest in low-emission and zero-emission on- and off-road technologies, community clean air action, funding opportunities, as well as insights from policy and regulatory leaders at the state and federal levels.”  –

Press Release – Viatec educates on the impact of idling, Introduces SmartPTO

In an effort to spread understanding about the environmental and financial toll of utility vehicles idling during operation, Viatec has released an explainer video and their new product, SmartPTO

A power take-off or P.T.O. is any of several methods for taking power from a vehicles running engine, and transmitting it to an auxiliary application, like the hydraulics for a bucket lift. These units most commonly transfer energy via the spinning drive shaft of the vehicle they serve, so in order to operate the bucket, a utility trucks engine will remain idle to supply power to the arm. This accounts for literally millions of hours of idling worldwide, every day.

Take the bucket truck your local power company might use. This vehicle will idle for thousands of hours a year while operating the bucket lift attached to it. Without ever moving, the truck will idle long enough to account for 69% of its total maintenance cost, 1,890 gallons of fuel, and almost 38,000 pounds of carbon dioxide due to emissions. This is enough to drastically affect the life of the truck and its overall resale value. During operation it’s loud diesel engine will make communication nearly impossible. All due to the way a P.T.O. works.

With such an obvious way to impact the cost of running modern fleets today, utility truck manufactures set out to create electric power takeoff units. An E.P.T.O. would use batteries to supply power to the bucket arm to eliminate idling during operation.

When a bucket truck was fitted, the units were installed directly into the drive train. Fully integrated, the trucks would rely on the operation of the E.P.T.O. If for some reason it failed, the truck would no longer operate. When the unit was removed the truck couldn’t be sold as it was. Replacing units was expensive and overhauling large fleets of preexisting trucks was inefficient. Trucks were better for the environment and quieter, but in turn more costly. The majority of utility trucks on the road remain idle while operating for this reason.

What if there was an E.P.T.O. that was simple to install, cost effective, and unintrusive? Could we eliminate the huge toll idling takes environmentally and financially?

SmartPTO, By Viatec has done just that! After an easy installation and simply connecting the unit to the hydraulic system our bucket truck has been transformed:

  • Saving an average of 1,890 gallons of fuel every year, maintenance cost is reduced by 69%
  • Noise during operation has dropped by 85% allowing operators to communicate.
  • Daily emissions are now a fraction of their previous footprint.
  • The first year will see real savings of nearly $9,100

The question we should ask ourselves is simple. Why run without SmartPTO?

Viatec Contact

Mark Ferri, President & CEO

(919) 368-3011


Anjali Deodhar, Vice President of Sales

(408) 464-2280

Viatec Welcomes Relationship with SCRA

“We are honored to be a part of Viatec’s growth, from prototype development to delivering the product to customers,”

Jill Sorensen, SCRA Director of Entrepreneurial Programs and Executive Director of SC Launch, Inc.

SCRA fosters the growth of South Carolina’s Innovation Economy by supporting entrepreneurs, enabling academic research and commercialization, and connecting industry to innovators.

In 2016 Viatec was honored to become a part of the SCRA’s Entrepreneurial program. It continues to be a great source of support, and on July 31, 2018 they announced our welcome into the family. You can find the article on their website here:

From Hellish to Heaven, an ePTO Legacy


ePTOs have been around a while and have changed radically. It all started by breaking some eggs . . . .

  1. Gen 1ePTO: aka Helter SkelterPTO
  1. Pre-standardization. Various architectures and battery chemistries
  1. Huge (~1500 lbs or more), expensive (up to 100K), and unreliable (like Charles Manson unreliable)
  1. Deeply integrated and when they failed, the device they were on also was also dead
  1. The situation was complicated . . .
  1. Frequently the buying decision was heavily influenced by company goals and pressure to demonstrate action on emissions reductions. A noble goal in need of a suitable solution. There weren’t any at the time
  1. Downtime related costs including repair, replacement vehicle rentals, and loss of productivity could reach the initial unit cost (60K+ to some fleets)
  1. When it went bad the buyer was still the buyer and took the hit
  1. So how did it go? Generally not great.
  1. In gen 1 everyone got burned by either the costs, hardware performance issues, actual fires, and this ended with companies closing, evolving or selling those divisions to mitigate their losses. It was a mess
  1. BUT, the crews did enjoy using those devices over an idling engine when they did work. This was the most important lesson of gen 1.
  1. Gen 2ePTO: Return of the ePTO (2013)
  1. About 5 years ago ePTO battery technology veered toward Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO). It is stable but heavy and expensive. Still, this was the right choice back then and brought some stability.

Chemistry is the best way to draw boundaries between the ePTO generations

  1. Gen2s are more reliable than their parents
  1. But remain expensive with a 7 to 10 year payback period under reasonable Total Cost of Ownership models
  1. They are still deeply integrated and can’t reasonably be removed before resale. The result is a lower 10 residual value due to buyer fear of battery issues and other novel product concerns they won’t have to deal with if they get a regular one at market price. Removing the systems before resale can add 25% – 35% to the resale value due to the low engine hours and almost new mechanical PTO.  
  1. These units still risk taking your truck out of commission if they do fail
  1. Gen 2ePTOs cost between $50,000 and $80,000 for a unit large enough to operate a bucket truck boom, bucket, winch, for a full workday
  1. Annual fuel and maintenance savings, assuming no unexpected downtime, should be $4,500 to $9,500 (engine size, idle time, bucket movement, miles driven)

You are here!

  1. Gen 3ePTO: (2018) – Parallel, Affordable, Reliable, Enjoyable
  1. Yup, enjoyable. A reliable ePTO positively transforms the working experience for users in dramatic ways. Work can be peaceful and ground crews can freely communicate with operators without the need for communications equipment or hand signals
  1. The current generation of ePTOs use Lithium Ion NMC (Li[NiCoMn]O2) air-cooled batteries at ~$500.00 per kWh. The GHen 2 LIP were substantially more at $900–$1500 per kWh.. An average day will draw 4 to 10 kWh on a large platform. Gen3s will cost $7500 less per average system in batteries alone
  1. There has never been a failure of a Gen3ePTO in the field and they do not require any regular maintenance
  1. Gen3s are truly parallel systems so if they run low or are damaged, the truck can be operated conventionally
  1. One offering is easily transferable truck to truck – if a truck needs to be replaced before a Gen3ePTO has lived its 10 year life, it takes 4 hours of truck prep and 25 minutes to transfer the unit
  1. Annual fuel and maintenance savings will be $4,500 to $9,500 (depending on the application and vehicle engine size, idle time, bucket movement, miles driven).
  1. Operational oversight is web and app based so you can look at each vehicle and compare savings, usage patterns, derive crew behavior and training opportunities. On board Telematics allow for remote management, troubleshooting, software updates and remote performance adjustments to improve the crew experience
  1. Insane savings. By adding a Gen 3ePTO to a new bucket truck, customers can expect to . . .
  1. pay $22,000 to $30,000
  1. save $60,000 to $90,000 in hard costs during the vehicle life (assume 5 hours of idling and 1.2 gallons per hour = 7 gallons a day)
  1. reduce engine wear, and required maintenance, by 69% while improving shop productivity (lifetime savings $20,000)
  1. increase resale value: at the end of a fleets usage cycle you can remove the system and sell a vehicle with 60% less engine hours and negligible mechanical PTO hours. This can add $20,000–30,000 to the sales price
  1. Per unit savings with a Gen 3ePTO – $80,000 to $120,000
  1. Gen 4ePTOs: “Happy birthday Jimmy CrewBot” (2022 or so) Artificial Intelligence (AI) will add helpful capabilities while we wait for the generation defining batteries)
  1. The next generation is likely 3–5 years out and is entirely dependent on [solid] Lithium Metal or another batteries achieving the goal of 5 times the energy density at 1/5 the price of today’s
  1. AI based on board trainer that can interact with the crew, maintain their schedules, watch the weather, remind them, of their wife’s birthday
  1. Safer than ever: Sure, a little creepy but only at first. AI support never stops paying attention and can multitask like no one’s business. Gen 4ePTOs will become part of the crew. They will actively protect operators by continuous visual and audio monitoring of the operator surroundings.
  1. Autonomously identify threats to the operator, alert them and initiate life saving movement.
  1. This is going to require some serious testing and a lot of cultural change. In time crews will find “Jimmy CrewBot” is helpful, personably, useful to them. Jimmy will never lose focus on its mission of protecting his crew. That is how he will become part of the team. Afterthought: Luke Skywalker had R2-D2 – it wasn’t weird.  

Epilogue: Gen 3ePTOs can be scaled up or down and reconfigured to optimize for several applications including tankers, pumpers and pretty much anything that idles a lot.