A lot of ink, pixels, and synapses get spent trying to figure out how to make heavy duty electric trucks that can travel 500 to 1,000 miles in a day and get a fast enough recharge before heading back to work.
Recent studies have shown a far more effective way to reduce pollution is to supplant short-haul machines that spend most of their time in city centers, spewing black smoke every block as they stop and start for pickups and deliveries.
City buses have been particularly effective. Beyond that, the next logical step could be garbage trucks, if truckmaker Mack has a say.
At the Las Vegas Waste Expo earlier this month, Mack rolled out the Mack Electric LR, a new line of trucks made for the dump. Mack is part of the Volvo Group, and Volvo Trucks rolled out a different electric garbage truck last year.
Mack plans to begin testing the new trucks with the New York City Sanitation Department next year. The department operates more than 2,200 garbage trucks of various sorts to clear the streets of trash, debris, and snow. A typical trash route might be only 30 miles in a day, but takes all day with stops and starts—exactly when a diesel truck is less efficient.
The new electric trucks use two electric motors producing a combined 496 horsepower and 4,051 pound-feet of torque at 0 rpm. Mack says they use 600-volt lithium-manganese cobalt batteries and electric drive systems to boost power and charging speeds, though Mack did not disclose the battery capacity or range. With short, stop-and-go routes, range may not be the big issue anyway.
Using step-down converters, the trucks have two additional electrical systems, a typical 12-volt system to run the truck's lights and accessories, and a 24 volt system that takes power from the main battery to run the hydraulics for the compactor and the dump system, which may use as much juice in a day as driving the miles needed to cover the trucks' routes.
At the end of the day, the trucks can connect to 150-kilowatt DC fast chargers before starting in all over again the next morning.
The New York Sanitation Department also rolled out an electric street sweeper concept at this year's New York Auto Show.