The Need for Solutions That Work Now


In today’s push for sustainability, fleet managers face the challenge of upgrading their fleets to comply with emissions standards without breaking the bank or waiting years for new technologies to become viable. All-electric vocational fleets remain in the distance while we await the promise of widespread availability of both vehicles and charging infrastructure. 

Electric power takeoff units (ePTOs), like Viatec’s SmartPTO, provide a solution by retrofitting existing internal combustion engine (ICE) work trucks. These systems hybridize work hours by first addressing idling, offering immediate emissions offset without overhauling entire fleets. This allows fleets to maintain operational resilience, even in emergencies.

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Almost every organization is setting goals to reduce their carbon footprint, a challenge that often extends to fleet operations due to evolving legal regulations. While the goal is a full transition to electric vehicles (EVs), the reality is that the necessary infrastructure and technology to support this change at scale is still scaling up to meet demand. 

Additionally, while we continue to see major strides being made by EV manufacturers in making their chassis available, the supply chain is still strained, which impacts the availability and price of the models offered, leaving fleet managers in need of immediate, feasible solutions to stay compliant and competitive.


Work trucks generate most of their emissions on job sites rather than in transit, making “electrifying operations” a far better and efficient focus for vocational fleets. SmartPTO is offered as an upfit or retrofit solution that hybridizes existing ICE work trucks. The system powers hydraulic upfits electrically, without idling, even on vehicles as large as an 80 feet bucket truck. This reduces fuel use and emissions with minimal effort and downtime. 

It is a parallel system, which means the trucks with SmartPTO installed also continue to have their conventional mechanical PTO system intact and available, a redundancy that is invaluable during power outages, extended shifts or any other kind of emergency where the trucks have unusually long duty cycles.


Reduced operational costs: Immediate fuel consumption reduction can quickly offset costs. Over time, maintenance costs decrease due to fewer engine hours, extending service life and retaining resale value. 

Compliance with emissions standards and meeting emissions reductions goals: Telematics reporting provides metrics to measure emission elimination, fuel savings, and more.

Crew acceptance: Modern ePTOs match the performance of legacy PTOs while eliminating noise and fumes, making job sites safer and communication easier. Crews can switch back to legacy PTO operation at any time.

Better from community to crew: Quieter, cleaner worksites improve public image for organizations and working conditions for crews and the communities they serve with quieter, emissions-free worksites.

A reliable, practical solution: ePTOs are a realistic option today, offering immediate impacts on decarbonization goals for fleets.

Recent years have seen strides made in the field of ZEVs (zero emission vehicles). All major chassis manufacturers today have a variety of all-EV solutions that fleets can take advantage of. The proliferation of all-EV options in the light-duty space has been especially rapid and in the last three years alone, many chassis manufacturers have been providing all-EV options in the Class 4 to 8 trucks – including many now in the vocational truck space.

On the backdrop of this emerging expansion of the industry, it is natural that fleets managers and operators would want to understand the role that retrofit solutions would play in their fleet decisions. While it is predicted that over time, the percentage of all-electric options within a fleet will grow substantially in the future, it is just as clear that we are still some ways away from that future. Especially so in the medium-to-heavy duty trucking space, and more so within the vocational truck segment. 

Solutions that can be readily deployed and maintained are still not widely available and are often priced high. So, fleets can and should consider a strategy that allows for necessary investments in all-EV options, while also taking advantage of readily available, easily installable, and eminently cost-effective solutions that protect their current investments in their fleets while also providing the outsized benefits of electrification. 

Over 90 percent of emissions from a vocational vehicle, like an aerial bucket truck – are from their work operations, for example, the ‘non-driven’ portion of their workday. Solutions like ePTOs eliminate those emissions. Expanding the adoption of such solutions fleetwide results in an exponential growth in the savings and emissions reductions providing high returns on the investment.

One additional factor to consider while planning for all-EV fleets is the availability of charging infrastructure and the overall availability of power. It is projected that with the push for fleet electrification solutions, the impact of transportation electrification on the available power systems will be at a scale that is unprecedented. In the U.S. alone, it is projected that available electrical grid capacity must grow 60 percent by 2030 and 300 percent by 2050 to meet electrification goals. Allowing for hybrid or partial-EV solutions like ePTOs lets fleets match their ambitious savings goals with growing infrastructure without putting undue pressure on either.

The availability of hybrid trucks – specially in fleets that are routinely involved in disaster recovery or emergency management – is a much-needed redundancy mechanism. When trucks must work multiple-day shifts during power outages or disaster recovery operations, hybrid solutions providing redundancy are the wise choice.

Another area of concern oft cited is adoption of battery-based technologies by the field crews. It has, however, been observed that fleets have taken several approaches to address and mitigate these concerns. Approaching their fleet electrification as a collective partnership, providing timely information and education around it and working with their crews to highlight the benefits of a cleaner, quieter working environment for the crews themselves. Such successful strategies can be adopted by fleets everywhere.


As technology advances and the shift toward fully electric fleets gains momentum, retrofit solutions are essential steppingstones. They allow fleet operators to benefit from green technology immediately while preparing for a future where electric vehicles are the norm.


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