- Mack Trucks recently debuted a new LR model with an electric Wrightspeed Route 1000 powertrain at WasteExpo which is still in the prototype stage and not for sale yet.
- The vehicle has a range of 24 miles on its battery. Once depleted the truck can operate on a turbine generator - using natural gas or diesel fuel - which recharges the battery. The battery also powers four electric motors, which allows the powertrain to propel vehicles up to 66,000 pounds on grades as steep as 40%.
- Another feature is the powertrain's regenerative braking system, which recharges the battery as the vehicle stops. This is especially important for vehicles that stop frequently, such as collection trucks.
While Wrightspeed's technology - developed by a Tesla co-founder - is intended for use in a wide range of large vehicles, it is uniquely suited to waste collection. Many fleets have been looking for ways to reduce emissions, noise and fuel costs. Stopping hundreds of times per shift also puts a lot of wear on a truck and this model takes that into account.
As reported by Trucks.com, this is one of many interesting new models entering the market. Motiv Power Systems is currently testing electric collection trucks in Chicago and is planning a demonstration project in Sacramento. Parker Hannifin Corp. has a hybrid drive system for collection vehicles that it says reduces fuel consumption by 48% and has sold units to Orlando. Volvo Trucks has also introduced new technology aimed at the waste industry, including automated manual transmission features.
Upgrading collection fleets is a priority for waste companies across the country and many have made the switch to vehicles that can run on compressed natural gas. In addition to improving performance, these new advances will also be good for drivers. International Trucks recently announced its new DriverFirst initiative aimed at retaining and attracting more drivers with better technology.