Contract Announcement Cites ‘Scalability and Flexibility’
San Francisco Bay Area startup Motiv Power Systems has disclosed a five-year pact with the City of Chicago to supply its ePCS – electric Powertrain Control System – for full-size, Class 8 battery electric garbage trucks. The collaboration could lead to deployment of as many as 20 pure-battery trucks for $13.4 million.
Motiv’s strength is control software that allows off-the-shelf components to be mixed and matched – and replaced as better ones become available – to best meet the needs and duty cycles of vehicle operators (F&F, March 9).
“The scalability and flexibility of the Motiv electric Powertrain Control System,” the firm says, made it “the most cost-effective choice” for the Chicago requirement.
Motiv says that its ePCS can handle battery trucks weighing from 15,000 to 52,000 pounds, and that experience with a battery shuttle bus has shown that operating costs can be reduced from 80 cents per mile to 10 cents per mile.
“We are thrilled that Chicago is driving the push for electric refuse trucks, and that our ePCS can be employed to create these revolutionary vehicles,” Motiv business development and marketing VP Shyam Nagrani said in a release. “Our ePCS can do what no other EV truck system can do, scale up and down to meet the exact needs of any fleet using a conventional chassis.
‘Who Wants to Be Woken Up?’
“These EV refuse trucks will provide the streets of Chicago with quiet, emissions-free garbage pick-up, without submitting residents to excessive diesel pollution or loud noise. Who wants to be woken up at 5 AM by an idling garbage truck?” Nagrani asks.
Chicago has 600 garbage trucks, Motiv says.
With California Energy Commission support, Motiv has been validating its ePCS since March 2012 with an all-electric pilot bus. The 20-passenger vehicle has five battery packs for 125 kilowatt-hours, yielding a single-charge range of better than 120 miles.
The battery trucks for Chicago will use the same ePCS, but include a larger motor and ten battery packs, Motive says. They will also have an electric motor to drive the hydraulics system. The EV refuse trucks will weigh 52,000 pounds and have a range of more than 60 miles, with a total energy storage of 200 kilowatt-hours.
“Scaling up from the medium-duty pilot bus to the Class 8 garbage truck is really just a matter of switching out components and re-packaging it onto the new chassis,” said Motiv CEO Jim Castelaz. Which is, of course, the whole point of the ePCS. “We’ve designed the whole system to be compatible with any off-the-shelf motors and batteries, which are brought to a uniform operating standard by our software,” Castelaz said. “If Chicago ever wants newer batteries, the old ones can be easily swapped out.”
Motiv says it will work with Detroit Chassis to install the ePCS on to a standard refuse chassis. Loadmaster will provide the truck bodies.
According to the agreement, the first battery truck will cost something on the order of $1.3 million, with prices dropping to about $500,000 for the 11th unit, should the work play out as envisioned.
Chicago’s goal is not so much to develop an $500,000 pure battery trash truck, but for the program to push development of ancillary components and controls that might be applied to hybrid vehicles, and perhaps battery electrics for some applications, that will be more fuel efficient, require less maintenance, and be quieter.
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Source: Motiv release with Fleets & Fuels follow-up