NYC Buying 7 Electric Garbage Trucks

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It’s one of those vehicle sectors that seems tailor made for a quick electric transformation. Garbage trucks run regular, predictable routes, meaning required range is straightforward and clear. The stop-start nature of garbage trucks is almost custom-made for EVs — no burning fuel as garbage trucks sit in front of one house after another lifting up garbage cans. Some of the electricity is recovered via regen braking in the middle of the short trips from neighbor to neighbor. The noise and pollution of the trucks don’t wake people up 30 minutes before their alarms. There isn’t the problem of drag quickly draining the battery on the highway because, for the most part, garbage trucks don’t hit the highway (even if many highways are littered with trash due to the “polite and respectful” nature of many humans).

NYC Dips Toes In The Electric Revolution

Unfortunately, you don’t see many orders for electric garbage trucks yet, and certainly not big orders. The good news this month is that the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is going to order 7 electric garbage trucks from Mack Trucks, a subsidiary of Volvo Group. In particular, they are the LR Electric model.

electric garbage truck Mack Trucks DSNY NYC

Photo courtesy of Mack Trucks

Which lucky boroughs of NYC will benefit from these quiet, zero-emission, electric refuse trucks? All of them. The trucks will be collecting refuse in the Bronx, Brooklyn North, Brooklyn South, Manhattan, Queens East, Queens West, and Staten Island. Of course, more than 7 refuse trucks cover the streets of New York every day, so I hope the city will buy 70 more before too long, or 700 more, or 6,000 (which is its total fleet size), but at least it’s getting its foot in the door.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with Mack Trucks in striving toward our environmental efforts to benefit the citizens of New York City,” said DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson. “The Mack LR Electric demonstrator is performing well, and we look forward to when we have one in each of our city’s zones.”

“DSNY took delivery of its first fully electric refuse vehicle, a Mack LR Electric demonstration model, in September 2020, when it began rigorous real-world testing in Brooklyn,” Volvo group tells us. “Since then, DSNY has been evaluating payload capacity, regenerative braking, overall vehicle performance in their demanding operations, operating range and charging requirements.”

The Mack LR Electric

electric garbage truck Mack Trucks on street

Photo courtesy of Mack Trucks

“The DSNY order for an additional seven Mack LR Electric trucks speaks to the fact that the performance of the current LR Electric demonstrator model collecting in Brooklyn is meeting and even exceeding their expectations,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president of sales and commercial operations. “Mack has long been the number one choice of refuse customers, and we are now well-positioned to be the industry leader in e-mobility as well. The Mack LR Electric is equipped with Mack’s integrated electric powertrain and will help New York City and DSNY achieve its zero-emissions goals.”

Here are some specs on the Mack LR Electric:

  • Twin 167-kW electric motors.
  • 448 continuous horsepower.
  • 4,051 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 46,000-pound rear axles.
  • 150-kW charging capacity.

The truck uses NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide) lithium-ion batteries.

electric garbage truck Mack Trucks

Photo courtesy of Mack Trucks

Electric Garbage Truck News Of Yesteryear

While we haven’t had a ton of electric garbage truck stories to celebrate over the years, there have been a few. BYD and Beijing Environmental Sanitation Engineering Group launched an electric garbage truck in China back in 2016 and BYD sold one to Palo Alto and GreenWaste in 2017. Motiv Power sold a couple of electric garbage trucks of its own to Los Angeles in 2017, after launching its first electric garbage truck way back in 2013. Lion Electric and Boivin Evolution started selling electric garbage trucks in 2020.

Jumping to 2021, BYD sold two electric refuse trucks to J&M Sanitation in Idaho earlier this year. BYD said at the time that these were just the 9th and 10th electric garbage trucks in the USA. (It’s not clear if that meant overall, or just meant the 9th and 10th electric refuse trucks from BYD, but I presume it means the latter.)

Needless to say, we’ve got a long ways to go to make the garbage truck market 100% zero emissions, but there are a few key players that have been popping up — Motiv Power and BYD more frequently in years past, and Lion Electric and Mack Trucks more recently.

Image courtesy of Mack Trucks

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