Blast from the Past: From Horse-Drawn to Electric—A Century of SDG&E Fleet Innovation

This article is part of an ongoing series looking at how SDG&E has grown with the San Diego region over the past 130+ years and how we’ve made advances to better serve our communities.

Hammers, crowbars, paperclips—these tools have served us well for decades without needing any improvements for them to fit into our modern world.

Then, there are other devices that require innovation and creativity—or sometimes even a complete rethinking—to remain relevant in the 21st century. One example is the vehicles we use at SDG&E to help deliver clean, safe and reliable energy to our customers.

From Literal Horsepower to Mighty Machines

Back in 1890, less than a decade after the company was formed, customers could expect to hear hoofbeats when one of our employees made a visit on a horse-drawn buggy.

As our city’s population grew and new technologies were invented, SDG&E changed with the times. Horse-drawn buggies were phased out and replaced with specially-designed trucks to serve customers and keep on the lights . By 1932, linemen were traveling through the region in a fleet of Fords, like the ones shown below.

The Clean Revolution

Flash forward to 2018: San Diego is one of the largest cities in the United States, known for its focus on clean technologies and an unwavering commitment to the environment. At SDG&E, we’ve watched our region change through the decades—and we’ve been changing right alongside it.

The Fords that were top of the line in 1920 are relics of the past compared to the SDG&E fleet now traveling our roads. In recent years, we unveiled our latest green vehicles—55 plug-in electric hybrid bucket trucks. These hybrid trucks make it possible for crews to perform work in your neighborhood without the noise or fumes from an idling combustion engine.

Hybrid bucket trucks are one of the latest innovations in our clean transportation toolbelt, but they certainly aren’t alone. Learn more about the projects we’re working on to help San Diego achieve a cleaner, greener, healthier tomorrow at