By Lloyd Alter | Tree Hugger
As a poll on TreeHugger demonstrated, I am in a minority of people who have trouble with food trucks. One of the biggest problems I have is the pollution that comes from their diesel engines and generators that run all day, like these ones at the University of Toronto.
On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia, where there is a different kind of food truck: Greg Alden Steele’s Philly Greens is electric, built on the chassis of a Polaris Gem electric utility vehicle. On his site, Greg writes:
The future is all about sustainable eating, working and living, and I am committed to walking the walk when it comes to sustainability. This is why a solar-powered GEM El-XD fully electric vehicle serves as the base chassis for the Philly Greens food truck. This is the food truck of a post-oil future…The truck is a 7-horsepower vehicle with a max speed of 25 mph that can go up to 30 miles on a single charge, which is more than enough to get around the city and nearby suburbs.
The truck is not entirely fossil fuel free- according to Philly.com he has a small gas generator to run his crock pots and a small heater. This is a problem everyone has; it is really hard to get enough energy to heat food without propane or serious electricity. I wonder if he could get away with something like the Thermos Thermal Cooker or a modern version of the Toledo cooker; the generator really compromises the sustainable story just a bit.
There are a few limitations to an electric vehicle like this; on his Facebook site, Greg had to miss a day or two, writing that “I don’t know how the truck will handle in snow and ice, and while I WILL be out this winter, I am going to play it safe and test in a more moderate (4 -6 inch) snow storm. I was out looking around and everything is slushy.” But then those are probably the days that his customers don’t want to stand around in the slush either.
However the food lives up to the sustainability pledge: “The menu changes daily and is constantly refined based on location, ingredient availability and season. Philly Greens uses only the highest-quality, non-GMO ingredients.” According to Julie on Inhabitat, his specialty is the “jawn,” a salad with a base of leafy greens, topped with quinoa, lentils, spices, chia and flax seeds, along with a choice of fruit.
Just like there is now often special parking spots for electric cars, perhaps there should be a special bonus, a special spot for electric food trucks that don’t spill out particulates and diesel fumes. There is certainly a special spot in my heart for it.