One of the biggest, nastiest, and loudest vehicles on the road is being transformed. Meet the electric garbage trucks.
How would you like an undisturbed lie-in on garbage collection day? No more large noisy truck engines idling outside your bedroom window at an ungodly hour.
Well, that’s the reality for some residents of Chicago who can now enjoy their refuse collection mornings in peace thanks to America’s first all electricity powered garbage truck.
Designed by Californian based Motiv Power Systems, the Electric Refuse Vehicle (or ERV) is the first viable electric alternative to the traditional diesel equivalent refuse truck. Just another remarkable example of the developments in electric vehicles around the world.
What powers the ERV?
At first glance, the ERV looks no different to the standard truck that lumbers through our streets. But there’s one big difference. Whilst it retains a standard Crane Carrier chassis and loadmaster refuse truck body, it incorporates the Motiv Power Systems plug and play electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS).
The system sources a phenomenal 200 kilowatt-hours of electricity from 10 battery packs. That’s more than enough power to drive the refuse truck for a 96 kilometre round-city journey. And just like the diesel versions, it’s just as tough and capable of collecting a nine-ton payload and compacting 593 kilograms per cubic metre of refuse.
Why is the ERV more efficient?
In addition to the lower fuel costs and servicing costs, each truck offsets over 55 barrels of petroleum and 23 tons of carbon dioxide each year. So residents in Chicago know their city is doing its part in the refuse recycling chain to be more environmentally friendly.
Being able to keep the refuse fleet continuously on the road is a major consideration for all local service suppliers. So the City of Chicago’s fleet operations were keen to have Motiv Power Systems work with existing truck manufacturers in designing the electric alternative. Potentially, this means that current truck suppliers can offer an electric option to existing trucks and existing customers. And these suppliers can undertake the subsequent truck servicing without needing to build a whole new infrastructure.
The Windy City benefited from a grant from the US Department of Energy, which is keen to see initiatives to develop environmentally conscious alternatives to diesel power. Once the Electric Refuse Vehicle has successfully completed the test period, the city will purchase a further 20 vehicles within an exclusive five-year purchase order.
Importantly, the City of Chicago’s first ERV brings a unique business model to life, which can work in other cities and for other truck segments around the world.
So maybe you too will soon sleep soundly through your regular morning refuse and recycling collection, thanks to an electric powered refuse vehicle. We can dream, right?