“I’d like to remind you at four in the morning
My world is very still
The air is fresh under diamond skies
Makes me glad to be alive…”
The 1973 song, Blue Collar, by Bachman Turner Overdrive, extols the advantages of being a third shift (midnight to 8:00 am) worker. Everything is nice and quiet. This blogger has worked the graveyard shift as a youth and indeed there is something magical in going about your business while your neighbors slumber. However, as alluring as the diamond skies might be, most of us do not have the luxury of breaking away from the 9:00 to 5:00 schedule. We need our sleep… aaaaand along comes the garbage truck! How can industrial grade battery chargers from PCTI help? How can our power conversion technologies help maintain a neighborhood’s four-in-the-morning stillness?
I Love My Garbage Man
One service provider who “…needs the quiet hours to create this world of mine” are the good folks who collect our rubbish and recyclables. Like dental hygienists, sewage workers, and political fact-checkers, the “garbage man” is someone we love for doing a job most of us can’t fathom doing. But wouldn’t it be nice if they could do their job without disturbing that early morning stillness? As a friend recently remarked, “I love my garbage man! But I live on a corner so I get the noise of the truck multiple times as he goes up and down each street.”
A diesel engine is at its least efficient when the vehicle it’s powering must start and stop often. Most of us can hear in our heads the sound of a diesel truck getting moving. With a garbage truck, just as it gets going again, it needs to stop at the next house. And while the bins are being emptied into the truck, the engine is running only to power the compactor, needlessly adding extra noise and exhaust to an otherwise peaceful neighborhood. In Sacramento, CA, its existing diesel garbage trucks get as little as 2.8 miles per gallon. A garbage truck that drives 200 miles a day would use over 70 gallons of fuel!
The Electric Garbage Truck to the Rescue
Electric trucks are perfectly suited to the role of waste disposal. Customers are generally close together, so range is much less of an issue. Electric powertrains have more torque from a standstill, meaning they take less time to get the truck moving, and they don’t consume power while sitting still.
In the spring of this year, New York City began running all electric garbage trucks on five routes in Brooklyn. With the world’s largest sanitation department, NYC has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2035 and to become carbon neutral by 2050. The Department of Sanitation, which collects 10,500 tons of refuse and 1,700 tons of recyclables a day, has partnered with Mack Trucks to begin replacing their fleet with the LR Electric Garbage Truck. This truck’s batteries recharge in 90 minutes using a 50kw battery charger. It has a regenerative braking system which captures the braking energy generated by stopping, increasing the truck’s range on each recharge.
An Emerging Market
The country’s second largest city, Los Angeles, has recently committed to transitioning its fleet to zero emissions by 2035. Within the next two years, all garbage truck purchases will be of the fully electric variety. The city’s website indicates it currently has more than 750 refuse vehicles in total.
Seattle, with its quirky electric trolley busses powered by overhead wires, recently purchased two electric garbage trucks.
And Rotterdam officially launched its first electric garbage truck on May 29th of this year.
Besides Mack, mentioned above, many heavy truck manufacturers have taken notice and are responding to the emerging demand for electric garbage trucks. Volvo Trucks has taken orders for its FE Electric garbage trucks for deployment in Hamburg, Germany’s second biggest city. Their 300 conventional refuse vehicles emit approximately 35 tons of carbon dioxide every year. Hamburg already draws all its electricity from renewable sources so their electric garbage trucks will be very low in emissions indeed!
Dutch truck manufacturer DAF just released an electric garbage truck for testing in its home country. The DAF CF Electric will be operated by waste disposal firm ROVA in the Dutch city of Zwolle.
Daimler AG, is the world’s sales leader in conventional heavy trucks. This year it plans to roll out an electric version of its popular Mercedes-Benz Econic truck. The new electric model is adaptable to a variety of jobs, including quieter and cleaner garbage collection. The company will begin testing the truck next year and expects to begin full scale production in 2022.
Less Maintenance Means Less Downtime
Although electric trucks have a higher initial cost, their maintenance costs are substantially lower. A study conducted to review the experiences of Norway’s blossoming e-truck industry found that maintenance costs were up to 50% lower. There’s no engine oil to change, no oil or fuel filters to replace, fewer moving parts to wear down or worse, fail. An electric powertrain also vibrates a lot less than a diesel one, so wear and tear over its service life ought to be better than a fossil-fuel-powered equivalent. Less downtime and longer life means needing fewer trucks. Less noise, exhaust, and vibrations means happier and healthier garbage collectors, meaning they too have less downtime.
PCTI Can Help
PCTI has the battery chargers needed to outfit recharging stations. Our industrial grade power conversion equipment will convert AC into DC to charge virtually any size e-truck fleet. Check out our High Current Battery Chargers, available from 5KW..2MW, contact us at any time with further questions, or request a quote from the comfort of your home or office.
Give 'em Some Love!
And just in case you want to show your appreciation to your local refuse collector, Amazon has a line of “I love my garbage man” items ranging from hats to t-shirts to mugs. Let him or her know how much you value their service, even if you’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where you can barely hear them slip past in an e-garbage truck!