New York City Begins Electrifying Its Garbage Truck Fleet

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Operating at the fuel-guzzling range of 0-35 miles per hour, making continuous stops, and weighing many tons, diesel garbage trucks are prime candidates for an electrified makeover.

New York City Department of Sanitation have retrofitted 12 of their garbage trucks with hybrid-electric motors and batteries from a Canadian company called Effenco, whose technology can also be found in the cities of Paris and Los Angeles, in vehicles such as dumper trucks, port terminal tractors, and more.

Instead of lithium-ion batteries like those found in most EVs and hybrids, Effenco uses ultracapacitors. These propulsion systems operate not only the engines but the onboard equipment such as the garbage compressor.

Their immense electrical delivery reduces their capacity to store energy, meaning the trucks will have shorter range, but ultracapacitors have much longer lifespans than lithium-ion batteries and can discharge millions of times without wearing down.

The hybrid-electric technology actually shows reduced energy consumption by 30% compared to if the vehicles were fully electric and had to sit on the mains all night.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order that mandated the creation of a fully electric municipal fleet by 2040, and deputy commissioner of the sanitation department, Rocco DiRicco, has already ordered 14 brand-new trucks outfitted with Effenco’s ultracapacitors to join the 12 already retrofitted ones.

There are over 2,000 general collection trucks in the sanitation fleet, and Arsenault feels his technology can help with another few problems the department has.

The noise of the diesel engine makes trucks dangerous creatures to passing motorists, as the driver can’t hear if a car is approaching from behind. Furthermore, the constant stops and starts inherent in the job means that the truck is constantly belching out noxious fumes which are hazardous to pedestrians and to the workers themselves.

The company recently raised $10 million CAD in financing for expansion of operations across Europe and North America, which follows on an exceptional fiscal year that saw sales soar in four different countries as more and more governments work towards making their targets for emissions reductions.