Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts

Eaton Hybrid Systems Provide a Green Alternative at Yosemite National Park

“We only want to deal with suppliers who are going to give us the support we need after the sale. Anyone can take an order. So we look for suppliers who are willing to provide the necessary support once the vehicles are in service.”

Dan Anthonijsz
Village Garage manager at Yosemite for DNC

Background

With its majestic waterfalls, scenic rivers and streams, spectacular granite cliffs, Giant Sequoia groves, and an abundance of plant and animal species, Yosemite National Park covers an area of 761,268 acres in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central California. It is without question one of the most beautiful spots on earth.

So much so, in fact, that more than 4 million visitors a year stop by to take a look.

Since 1993, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Yosemite (DNC) has been a big part of making sure visitors have an enjoyable experience. During the park’s peak season – Memorial Day to Labor Day – some 1,800 DNC employees are responsible for nearly all of the concessions in Yosemite, including food and beverage operations, guest recreation, retail and lodging.

The company also manages the park’s transportation needs, including free shuttle buses for visitors, park tours and emergency towing services as an official AAA station.

Challenge

DNC operates the largest concession contract in the National Park System in one of the largest and most-visited parks in the country. DNC recognizes the unique privilege of operating in one of the country’s national treasures and embraces this opportunity to promote environmental initiatives that educate millions of people each year on ways to protect natural resources.

The company’s successful proposal to manage concessions in Yosemite National Park included environmental concerns, most noteworthy of which was its willingness to take unlimited financial responsibility for remediation
of many contaminated sites identified in the prospectus for the contract.

DNC’s extensive environmental successes are encompassed in a sophisticated environmental management system,
GreenPath®, which has met an internationally recognized standard for environmental leadership, ISO 14001. The company is one of the first hospitality companies in the United States – and the first operating in a national park – to be registered to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.

“Everything we do, we try to find the most environmentally friendly means of doing it,” explains Dan Anthonijsz, Village
Garage manager at Yosemite for DNC. “That covers everything from serving and preparing food in the kitchens, to all the services that we offer and the souvenirs that we sell.”

GreenPath also provided the guiding light when DNC needed to replace an aging fleet of tram tractors in 2009.

“Back in 2008, we received a directive from our President to always look into the viability of hybrids when replacing
vehicles,” says Anthonijsz. “So whenever it is viable, we buy hybrids.”

Solution

Tractors with Eaton hybrid electric systems, DNC concluded were the most viable hybrid option of all.

“When we were looking for new vehicles, we invited representatives from Eaton and International to come show us their hybrid equipment and explain how it would handle the type of maneuvering and driving that we were going to be doing,” adds Anthonijsz. “They ended up building, what we believe, are the optimal vehicles for our Valley Floor Tours.”

Anthonijsz has taken delivery of four new tractors with Eaton hybrid systems. The vehicles are now being used with open-air trams for the tours.

Three more Eaton hybrid vehicles also recently arrived. This purchase came from a collaboration of DNC and the U.S. Government Services Administration (GSA) because the buses are being purchased by the National Park Service for
DNC’s use in providing shuttle services in Yosemite.

Continuing its march down that GreenPath, DNC once again turned to Eaton hybrid technology with the purchase of a used hybrid tow truck, which Anthonijsz notes made its debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Result

“We are definitely realizing fuel consumption reductions, currently averaging about 6.7 miles per gallon with the tram tractors,” says Anthonijsz. “That’s a huge improvement over the one mile to the gallon that we were getting with the propane trucks the Eaton vehicles replaced.”

Anthonijsz also believes the emission reductions are significant.

”With the hybrid vehicles and the newer clean diesel engines, you do not even see anything coming out of the exhaust pipes,” adds Anthonijsz. “It’s a huge improvement for the environment.”

As for the hybrid tow truck, it is also performing to Anthonijsz’s satisfaction, thanks to the assistance he received with the installation of a new engine brake.

“The vehicle originally had an engine brake specified to be on it, but came out here without it,” says Anthonijsz. “In working with International, Eaton and the engineers back east, they came up with a solution. Eaton had to install an engine brake and change the hybrid software so the hybrid drive could recognize that the engine brake was there. We did not want to have an issue with engine braking and regenerative braking occurring at the same time.”

Delaware North Companies is a global leader in hospitality and food service that is grounded in a foundation of family ownership. Under the leadership of Jeremy Jacobs and his three sons, Jerry, Lou and Charlie, the company is one of the most admired family-owned hospitality management and food service companies in the world with more than $2 billion in annual revenue and 55,000 talented and creative associates worldwide.

It is also a family that is certainly admired by Eaton.