|When the Unisphere at the 1964 World’s Fair was brand new, the crowds marveled at the Mercury capsule that had carried Scott Carpenter into space, a replica of a two-person Gemini capsule and, for those who remained earthbound, a Picturephone that could make videocalls. It was the latest in technology, they said.
In the shadow of the Unisphere on Thursday, city officials marveled at Dennis Sivillo’s garbage truck. It was the latest in technology, they said.
The truck is a diesel-hydraulic hybrid. It was on display at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens at what amounted to an outdoor trade show run by New York City and open to companies that sell their products to city agencies. They set up everything from impact-absorbing “crash cushions” to forklifts to lights for police cars to an electric-powered three-wheel scooter that looks something like a bulkier, more stable Segway.
The three-wheeler is made by Vectrix, a Massachusetts company that manufactures electric scooters. Gerry White, a retired police officer who is Vectrix’s director of government sales and law enforcement training, said the New York Police Department already had some Vectrix two-wheelers and had promised to test the three-wheeler.
“Top speed, 25 miles an hour,” he said after circling the Unisphere, looking for the perfect place to snap a photograph. “And it has multiple batteries. They’re swappable. It will do 30 to 35 miles on 20 cents’ worth of electricity.”
The city’s purchasing agency, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, sponsored the “vehicle and equipment show,” an expanded version of an annual program that Keith T. Kerman oversaw when he ran the parks department’s fleet. He moved to the administrative services agency two years ago as the city’s chief fleet management officer.
He said the “public-works fleets” — the ones run by the sanitation, transportation, parks and environmental protection agencies — were operating their diesel-powered vehicles on a blend containing 20 percent biofuel from April to November. The rest of the year, he said, they will use a 5 percent blend. He said emergency-service fleets would switch to the 5 percent blend by the end of the year but would not make the warm-weather transition to the 20 percent mixture.
Officials said the city now had 5,562 hybrid or all-electric vehicles, of which 2,570 were Toyota Priuses and 1,806 were Ford Fusions or Escapes. The city also has 612 plug-in electric vehicles, including 103 Chevrolet Volts, and has 117 charging stations. Empire Clean Cities, a nonprofit group that is part of a national coalition committed to reducing petroleum consumption, gave the parks department fleet its certification for lower-than-expected emissions. It said the department had reduced petroleum consumption by 54 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent.
Perhaps the most colorful truck near the Unisphere was a parks department log loader. It is orange and recently joined 20 to 30 similar machines that can be used for lifting fallen trees after major storms. This one can lift 3,100 pounds, almost three times as much as some earlier models.
As for Mr. Sivillo’s garbage truck, it is one of 15 diesel-hydraulic hybrid trucks in the Sanitation Department fleet, according to Rocco DiRico, a deputy sanitation commissioner. He said that oil from a closed-loop system is captured in a hydraulic pump when the driver depresses the brakes. Hybrid electric cars like the Prius use the same principle to charge batteries than can power the car.
Mr. DiRico also said the trucks can continue to operate on diesel power alone if the hybrid equipment fails.
At about $276,000, the diesel-hydraulic hybrid trucks cost about $47,000 more than conventional rear-loading garbage trucks, he said. A truck that runs on compressed natural gas, another alternative to conventional fuel, costs about $265,000, he said.
Some of the vendors who attended the show said they were not trying to land customers and write orders on the spot.
“You want to get a couple of good quality leads you can follow up on,” said Derrick Thomason, a territory manager for Cummins Power Systems, who was talking about a $12,500-to-$14,000 emergency generator for homes.
The homes he had in mind did not include Gracie Mansion (and not just because Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg does not live there). He said he was hoping to connect with “some of the workers that might stop by, or some of the guys who are working the booths.”