- Wrightspeed debuted its first electric powertrain system in a collection vehicle owned by the California-based Ratto Group and will retrofit at least 14 more vehicles over the next year, as reported by Trucks.com.
- Terms weren't disclosed, but the contract's estimated worth is $3 million to $5 million. A new truck that can meet California's strict air emission standards could go for at least $500,000 and Ratto Group's COO Lou Ratto said he expected fuel savings of at least 50%.
- The system was designed specifically for the waste industry and generates power as the vehicle brakes during frequent stops. A 66,000-pound truck will travel for 24 miles on battery power and can then run on standard fuel through a range extender.
This new technology — developed by Tesla co-founder Ian Wright — was a big hit when used in a Mack Trucks display at WasteExpo in June and has a lot of potential for the waste industry. The company has raised about $40 million in funding and has also been working with FedEx. California-based Motiv credits itself with releasing North America's first electric collection truck in 2014, and China's BYD recently debuted a full line of electric sanitation vehicles in Beijing, but the concept still hasn't fully taken off in the U.S.
New federal emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which cover new models as of 2019, will make this type of technology even more appealing in coming years. Many waste companies have been switching to vehicles that run on natural gas, especially as reducing diesel emissions in environmental justice communities has become a higher priority. Los Angeles is mandating the use of these vehicles in the contract terms of its pending franchise system.
As other cities such as New York consider this model some haulers have said the cost of new trucks is hard to manage. Though as Ratto Group subsidiary North Bay Corp. is currently experiencing in Santa Rosa, the cost of fines for not meeting vehicle standards can sometimes be even more expensive.